CES 2014 Las Vegas – Cisco CEO John Chambers’ Tuesday afternoon International CES keynote bore a greater resemblance to a religious revival meeting than a tech conference as he forcefully argued for the world to embrace the “Internet of Things” (IoT).
At the start of the address, Chambers immediately walked off the stage and conducted his impassioned pitch while walking among the crowd.
“2014 will be the transformational pivot point for the Internet of Things,” he said.
Helping Chambers convince the crowd of the importance of IoT was comedian Sarah Silverman. She appeared in video where she explained her take and worry over the IoT: that it would be able to keep tabs on her during all her daily activities. Silverman also busted on director Michael Bay’s now-infamous behavior when he bailed out of a Samsung event when the teleprompters went down, by intentionally botching a few of her first words while on stage.
Chambers pegged the overall cost benefit of adopting the IoT to $19 trillion, which would be made via cost savings and additional revenue generated by using the web to streamline processes and adding computer intelligence to items ranging from lighting systems to garbage cans.
For retail alone Chambers would expect a $1.5 trillion impact through the use of devices like smart shopping carts that can track customers through a store. He cited a recent program by Applebee’s that saw it replace the menus with tablets so people could directly order their food. Chambers said this not only increased efficiency, but the wait staff increased their tips because the customers were happy.
On a grander scale, Chambers said the savings that could be generated when cities adopt IoT will be massive.
“It will be bigger than anything that’s ever been done in high-tech,” Chambers said.
To make his point, Chambers welcomed Tony Vivez, the vice mayor of Barcelona, Spain, to explain how well the IoT has helped his city. Vivez said Barcelono has saved tens of millions of dollars using smart water, lighting and parking systems.
Chambers stressed the importance of cities adopting IoT because people are moving into cities in growing numbers.
He even noted the potential of making something as pedestrian as a garbage can smart. Such a can could note how full it was and what it contained, and could then notify waste-removal teams to only come when necessary, saving time and money.