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A Connected Life Means More Than Just Smart Appliances


Cisco is another company thinking about the Internet of things in a big way.


UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: Cars will talk to road sensors, will talk to stoplights about traffic efficiency. The ambulance will talk to patient records, will talk to doctors about saving lives.

SIEGEL: That's a broadcast ad for Cisco. Earlier we talked to Wim Elfrink, he's and an executive vice president and chief globalization officer for Cisco and he told us his company is thinking of more than just lights, locks and air conditioned control.

WIM ELFRINK: We specifically look beyond just the appliances. (Inaudible) moment - it's our killer application in cities. It's parking services. And they use parking services. It's the second source of income for mayors. It's 30 percent of the congestion and people are willing to pay for the services. It's parking in your apartment to get to your house, going to a restaurant - that is all part of the connected life. If you think in an aging population like we are here in the U.S., why should you go to the doctor to take your blood pressure? Why would we queue up at the DMV to renew our driving license? If you could take your eye test from home, if you just fill in a form on the web and you get it shipped home or perhaps you even can print it at home.

SIEGEL: I think part of the problem there is that you could have somebody with better eyesight than yourself perhaps take the eye test for you from home. And some things you just have to do in person, we just have to show up and go someplace.

ELFRINK: Yes, but, you know, a lot of these things will be solvable with high definition video technology that will become pervasive in the house. Seventy percent of doctors calls to continue in healthcare don't need physical interaction. We think, Robert, that from an economic value point of view on the global basis, that the Internet of things - providing data, connecting people, having an opportunity to reengineer a lot of business processes, is a valued proposition of $19 trillion in the next 10 years.

SIEGEL: Should I reasonably be concerned right now about privacy and that everything from my blood sugar and blood pressure to where my car is parked is all available to the enterprising hacker in pretty much the same place?

ELFRINK: Robert, you should. So security and privacy are areas of concern and areas as a tension that as an industry we have to solve. So let me give you an example - transparency, who is owning your data, who is getting your data, who is managing your data is going to be essential. And we will come to a proposition that people can opt in or can opt out. If you don't get transparency from a privacy point of view, this is not going to take off.

SIEGEL: Well, Mr. Elfrink, thank you very much for sharing your and Cisco's vision with us.

ELFRINK: Thank you, Robert.

SIEGEL: That's Wim Elfink. He's executive vice president for industry solutions and chief globalization officer for Cisco. He spoke to us from San Jose, California.


You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.