Mastering the Internet of Everything

In a recent interview, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, stated that the major hurdle for the Internet of Everything is the underlying architecture or it will not happen, as too much effort will have to be spent on systems integration. As with most technical hurdles, this will likely be addressed, sooner or later.

Many people are just figuring out Web 1.0, mastering their web browsers, email and the like. Others are getting into Web 2.0, using social media to connect to people and join communities of practice. And now along comes the internet of everything (IoE). How will we be able to master this new network paradigm, or will it master us?

According to Cisco, IoE brings together people (humans), process (manages the way people, data, and things work together), data (rich information), and things (inanimate objects and devices) to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before—turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries.

The IoE is about the intersection of people, processes, data, and things. Personal knowledge mastery (PKM) is a framework for making sense of data, information, and knowledge flows. Processes, data, and things are relatively easy to control, but people are complex adaptive systems in their own right. How can people be part of the IoE but not be overly controlled by the other three dimensions? What new skills will be needed to master the internet of everything?

Fritz Ahlefeldt @
Frits Ahlefeldt @

Much of PKM is about finding balance. This will be even more important with the IoE. In seeking knowledge sources, we have to balance aggregation, or getting as much information as possible, with filtering, or ensuring that we have more signal than noise. What happens when we add processes and things to all these data sources? Will it make things easier, or perhaps less visible? Our networks of people may help, as long as they are diverse enough, as we will be ever decreasingly able to keep track of [the internet of] everything.

We will have to get skilled at constantly lumping data and things together, then filtering and categorizing the changing landscape. We will have to become adept at breathing information in and out, able to only make sense of a small portion at a time. Our reliance on other people for sense-making will increase.

There are no right answers in PKM, only better questions. The test of PKM is whether it works for you.  PKM practices tend to change over time, the most important aspect is being aware of how and where we seek sources of information, make sense of our own knowledge, and then share it at work, in communities or through networks. Our cooperative sense-making processes will likely evolve even more as the IoE becomes prevalent.

PKM practices can help make sense of the current environment, whether it be your profession, your job, or your areas of interest. A resilient learning network, that can develop from practicing PKM, creates a better framework from which to prepare for the future. The more you give to your networks now, the more you will receive from them later, when it may become even more important to make sense of your world. One result of personal knowledge mastery is enhanced serendipity, always an advantage in a changing world and for the Internet of Everything.

This post is brought to you by InnovateThink and Cisco.
I retained all editorial control.

3 thoughts on “Mastering the Internet of Everything”

  1. I just got back from a convening of data for good people. One presenter was from the UK from the Open Data Institute. It was founded by Tim Berners Lee. He made a point about the first phase of the web was about documents and conversations. We are entering into the next phase which data and the connective tissue between those things. Data literacy skills important!


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