The Internet of Everyone

Technology will rapidly change, consolidate, and probably change again. – John Chambers

Stop chasing the latest technology wave. It’s much better to make sense of it while also watching for the next wave. These waves of technology will most likely come faster and faster with the Internet of Everything (IoE). Faster feedback loops will be built into all product development cycles. Cloud-based technologies will mean constant change, much of it not even seen by end-users. As a result, better ways to negotiate a connected world will have to be developed. These will have to be human-centric if we expect them to last. Processes, data, and things may be able to change quickly, but people do not. While they may be agile, adaptable, and flexible, people cannot get a new operating system and start working in a different way overnight.

Simple guidelines will serve people better in the long run. As processes, data and things keep spinning, people have to remain grounded but prepared for change. Mastering fields of knowledge will not be as important as self-mastery, and mastering our understanding of complexity. It is not as important to understand all the details of the latest technology wave rather than understanding what we can change and what we cannot.

More of what people will have to deal with will be complex.  As processes, data, and things get connected there are also enormous opportunities for creativity. But there are no standard formulas for dealing with this.

“… you should be thinking about the complex system of interaction between humans and things, and asking yourself how sensors, cloud intelligence, and actuators (which may be other humans for now) make it possible to do things differently. It is that creativity in finding the difference that will lead to the breakthrough applications …” – Tim O’Reilly

Creativity will be needed on a large scale. The key to creativity is diversity – of opinion and options. Human systems thrive on variety and an Internet of Everything will give us more potential connections. It will bridge global and local. Connected people can socially create knowledge and most importantly, coordinate action together. This is the incredible potential of the ‘people’ aspect of the Internet of Everything – human connections that scale. To realize this potential, everyone has to be connected. Not just processes. Not just data. Not just things.

The Internet of Everything will be empty if it is not the Internet of Everyone.

On the Internet of Everyone, cooperation will trump collaboration. Collaboration happens around some kind of plan or structure, while cooperation presumes the freedom of individuals to join and participate. Cooperation is a driver of creativity. Shifting emphasis from collaboration to cooperation, in order to thrive in an IoE world, means reassessing some of our assumptions about work. For instance:

The decreasing importance of teamwork.

Jobs are inadequate for work at the edge.

You cannot train people to be social.

On the Internet of Everyone people will be not just connected but dependent on each other.  Knowledge will be about connecting experiences with people. The better the connections, the better the knowledge and the ability to act. Perhaps connecting processes, data, and things will finally force people to work together.

There is even a business case for focusing on people. The value of Person-to-Person transactions is a significant portion of Cisco’s Internet of Everything Value Index.

cisco value index

This post is brought to you by InnovateThink and Cisco.

I retained all editorial control.

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