Cisco CEO Plugs the ‘Internet Of Everything’

Las Vegas – International CES – Cisco Systems chairman and CEO John Chambers’s keynote here on Tuesday was light on news, but heavy on vision.

Chambers used his platform at the annual gadgetfest to extoll the virtues – and the potentially massive business opportunities – of the so called “Internet of Everything,” a term that loosely means adding Internet intelligence to just about every touch point in a person’s everyday life.

Chambers then slapped a big, round figure on that opportunity -- $19 trillion, a number that includes a focus on the private and public sectors, the involvement of entire cities, and, he hopes, entire countries. And, of course, Cisco thinks it has the networking technology that can help drive IOE forward at a rapid rate.

IOE “will be bigger than anything done in high tech in a decade,” Chambers boldly predicted, claiming that 2014 will represent the “transformational pivotal point for the Internet of Everything,” and when the concept will go “mainstream.”

Among examples, he said money and energy can be saved by adding smarts to everything from cars, garbage cans, street lights, and healthcare systems.

“This is not about technology at all,” Chambers said. “It’s about how it changes peoples’ lives forever.”

The keynote included a video demo of the IOE of the future with comedian and actress Sarah Silverman, who later joined Chambers in person. And during her time on stage, she said she was being careful to stay on-script and not “Michael Bay this thing," a joking reference to the director’s awkward on-stage meltdown here the day before when the teleprompter went awry during the Samsung press conference.

Cisco went on to present some real-world examples of IOE in action.

Antoni Vives, deputy mayor of Barcelona, joined Chambers on-stage to talk about the smart city project underway with help from Cisco, claiming that the effort has helped to create 47,000 jobs.

Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, followed to talk up Digital Life, a home security and automation system with IOE aspects. Working with Cisco as a partner, AT&T has it rolled out in 59 markets, and international carriers are starting to ask AT&T if it would be willing to license its platform, de la Vega said. He also talked up AT&T’s connected car platform, which has scored deals with Chevrolet, Tesla and Audi.

Jim Grubb, Cisco’s chief demonstration officer, later  joined Chambers to (naturally) demonstrate a next-gen, version of the Cisco Snowflake user interface for interconnected TVs and mobile devices. The UI for the TV showed a new version that’s optimized for 4K, which has been a hot topic here all week.