Cisco Canada Blog

From Old to New: The Internet of Everything Transforms Utilities, Telecom and Transportation

October 2, 2013

If you are like me, I often think of the past and where my journey has taken me. I believe that historical events shape decisions and directions that in turn, drive new opportunities and possibilities. In my experience, history has a way of repeating itself in a transformational way.

The other day I was flipping through old family albums and came across two photos taken last year when I had the surprise opportunity to visit my great-granddad’s old home in Ottawa.

Lovingly called “Lornado,” the house has been home to U.S. Ambassadors since 1935.

Lovingly called “Lornado,” the house has been home to U.S. Ambassadors since 1935.

I am sure my great-granddad hated cutting the grass.

Even though I never met great-granddad, Warren Y Soper, I’ve learned that he was known as a terrific magician, an excellent Morse code operator, an industrialist and storyteller. I’ve read that when he first settled in Ottawa, trolley cars where pulled by horses, homes where heated by coal and streets were lit by gas lanterns. I also learned that Warren had a great vision in the power of electricity. This may explain why I am an Electrical Engineer.

And it is through his vision that he connected with Thomas Edison and transformed the City of Ottawa.

Former Ambassador David Jacobson and Cisco’s William MacGowan at Lornado, 2012

Former Ambassador David Jacobson and Cisco’s William MacGowan at Lornado, 2012

Transformation came in the forms of the Ottawa Electric Railway, the Ottawa Power Company and the Ottawa Telephone Company.

When I think about this transformation, I feel connected. Not only to my granddad, but to the passion for electricity’s transformational power. I am interested in much more than simply the study of electrons running down the wires. I am focused on the fact that electricity drives the connectivity of our global Internet.

Connectivity is the enabler and igniter of inspiration, which we refer to at Cisco as the Internet of Everything.

The Internet of Everything is a phenomenal driver that is unearthing tremendous differentiating business value and driving next generation performance in education, healthcare, finance, retail, residential, utilities, manufacturing and transportation.

Performance metrics including Capex, Opex, TCO, Productivity and Sustainability are front and center with business leaders and stakeholder teams. These very same metrics are also being applied to the collaborative design, construction and operation of our buildings, campuses, communities, cities, provinces and country.

So as Warren envisioned electrical transformation back in the late 1800’s, I look at the transformational power of electricity and the Internet of Everything in the forms of:

Cisco Smart City

Cisco Smart Grid

Cisco Smart Transportation

As I look ahead like many of you, I ask you to embrace your journey and enjoy the world of transformation. A world transformed by the Internet of Everything.

On your next quiet autumn day, flip through your photo albums and let me know how your past has shaped your passion and vision. How is the Internet of Everything driving your future? Let me know in the comment section below.

Leave a comment


  1. Hello Bill
    I was very interested to read about your visit to Lornado and that you are related to Warren Soper. I was also fortunate to visit it as well last year when my family was in Ottawa, as I too am related to him.
    If you could contact me, perhaps we could share some family history.

  2. bimacgow

    Lynn thanks so much for the feedback. With the IoE I am sure Warren would have taken his vision globally.

  3. Warren was an innovator. I can only imagine what your great granddad would have done with the Internet of Everything.