The Internet of Everything, for Everyone

Two significant events took place in Toronto in the last week of October: SmartWeek 2014 and the Toronto Global Forum.

SmartWeek 2014 was the inaugural Canadian version of what is becoming a global phenomenon. With the theme of “Innovating the Future of the Internet of Things” the conference, hosted by the University of Toronto, acted as a gathering spot for industry, government, academia, entrepreneurs and exciting startups that want to build on the great opportunities of the digital age.

Rick IoE for Everyone - Nov 25

The Toronto Global Forum is the Toronto event for the International Economic Forum of the Americas. For the 8th time, the Forum has brought together thousands of government leaders and captains of industry to promote the role of the Americas in major global economic decisions and reforms. This year, the Toronto Forum was focused on “Rethinking Growth.”

So what do SmartWeek 2014 and the Toronto Global Forum have in common, despite significant differences in audience, and purpose? For starters, Cisco Canada was an active supporter and participant at both events, but just as important, was a common theme of the Internet of Everything (IoE).

It’s official: if you’re a start-up entrepreneur and in pursuit of new business opportunities, or if you’re a government official, or a global participant in any economic activity – the Internet of Everything is proving to be the foundation for addressing economic, environmental, and social opportunities that allow for the sustainable growth for communities, regions, countries, and businesses alike.

By connecting people, processs, data, and things, the IoE is a profound opportunity for businesses in all industries, not just technology.

At SmartWeek2014, discussions centred around how IoE is changing industries like mining (like how Dundee Prescious Metals transformed its business with the Internet of Everything) and how it is changing the way we design, build, and operate our built environment (in a real estate break-out session).

The Toronto Global Forum saw talks about IoE as the catalyst for the transformation of our communities and how the Internet of Things is unleashing the power of data, intelligence, analytics and insight to benefit all participants in global economies (yes, that means you too!) In the Internet of Everything break-out session we heard from PARC Inc. (a Xerox research company), General Electric, Cisco Canada, and Oxford Properties specifically on the impact of the new digital world on their tenants and operations.

SmartWeek will be back in 2015 and I expect the platform to grow globally. By then, more than 15 billion smart objects will be connected to the Internet and provide the opportunity to build new businesses, improve productivity, reduce environmental pressures, deliver new experiences, and be the world’s sandbox for innovation.

The Toronto Global Forum is back in July 2015 — just before the 2015 TORONTO PanAm and Parapan Games — and it even coined the title of its upcoming event: “Creating Opportunities in a Connected World.”

The Internet of Everything train has left the station. Although it’d be better if you are on board already, there’s still plenty of time to join the ride. It’s going to be bigger than electrification, the introduction of telephony, personal computers and laptops, and any other innovation that we’ve witnessed before. The Internet of Everything is here to stay, so brace yourself. It’s about to transform life as we know it.

About Rick Huijbregts

Rick Huijbregts is Vice President of Industry Transformation where he is responsible for Cisco Canada’s IoE strategy and industry business development. The members of his team are industry subject matter experts and each engage in the transformation of their respective industries (healthcare, oil and gas, financial services, education, real estate, and industrial sector). Huijbregts is also General Manager for Cisco Canada’s Smart + Connected Communities practice, including Smart + Connected Real Estate. Huijbregts holds construction and architecture degrees from Tilburg Polytechnic University and Delft University in the Netherlands, and a doctorate from Harvard University. Huijbregts is currently a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education where he teaches classes on Smart Buildings and Smart Cities. He also serves on several boards of Canadian academic institutions and not-for-profits. Rick Huijbregts est vice-président de la transformation sectorielle dont les responsabilités comptent la stratégie de l’internet multidimensionnel et le développement commercial du secteur industriel de Cisco Canada. Les membres de son équipe sont tous des experts dans différents domaines et œuvrent à la transformation de leurs secteurs d’activité respectifs (santé, énergie, services financiers, enseignement, immobilier et industrie). Huijbregts est également directeur général du segment des communautés intelligentes et connectées, dont le volet immotique des immeubles intelligents et connectés de Cisco Canada. M. Huijbregts est titulaire de diplômes en construction et architecture de l’université Tilburg Polytechnic et de l’université Delft aux Pays-Bas ainsi que d’un doctorat de l’université Harvard. Il est actuellement professeur de Harvard à la faculté d’études supérieures pour les cadres en aménagement urbain où il donne des cours sur la gestion intelligente des immeubles et des villes. Il siège également à plusieurs conseils d’administration d’universités et d’organismes à but non lucratif.
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