SAN FRANCISCO -- “The success of the Internet of Things will be measured by how it changed every aspect of humanity for everyone in the world.” So said John Chambers in an opening video before he addressed a crowd of thousands at his company’s 25th annual event on Monday, May 19 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
The address was peppered with stats befitting just that kind of transformative scale: By 2015, there will be 10 million connected cars from BMW; By 2017, 25 percent of companies will have their own app store; By 2018, there will be 190 exabytes of annual global mobile traffic; 99 percent of the world is not yet connected, yet by 2020, 20 billion devices will be connected to the Internet.
Chambers updated attendees on how Cisco is poised to help bridge the gap between the unconnected and hyper-connected world now emerging. One key focus for the company is security. At last year’s conference, Chambers predicted that Cisco would be No. 1 in security, and further that the company never pursues a market segment where it can’t achieve 40 percent dominance.
Chambers said the company is closing in on that goal, with 31 percent of the market today. “We are very close to becoming the No. 1 player in security,” he said. He laid out the same goal for what he called the collaboration market.
The theme of Fast IT ran through the CEO’s presentation, as he underscored the need to develop and bring products to market more quickly than ever before. Citing many examples of the company’s progress, where change occurs twice as fast as it did just three years ago, Chambers insisted they have more work to do.
“We’re not moving fast enough,” he said. “We are pulling away from our peers, but we have to move faster.”
One key to increasing Cisco’s agility, according to Chambers, is Application-Centered Infrastructure (ACI), a major focus area for the company as it pushes forward in its support of the Internet of Everything. ACI, according to the company, allows IT deployments to take place simply and securely, in the data center or the cloud.
"It's clear that our customers want to consume in a software-centric way," one executive said, adding that ACI responds to customers' desire for flexibility and speed.
One term gaining traction in Cisco circles is fog computing, related to cloud computing, yet located closer to the edge of the network, allowing real-time local analytics. The company describes fog computing as an intermediate step between cloud and on-premises computing that extends data, computing, storage and applications closer to users, providing higher quality service.
“Typically, the Fog platform supports real-time, actionable analytics, processes, and filters the data, and pushes to the Cloud data that is global in geographical scope and time,” according to the company website. In addition, Cisco says fog computing could improve application performance in environments where it's tough to connect to the cloud, like in transit tunnels, underwater or at remote locations.
Among the government uses highlighted were the smart city deployments in Barcelona and San Antonio, Texas. In Barcelona, officials touted the use of smart parking sensor technologies credited with turning the program from a major drain on the budget into one that generates $67 million per year. Chambers also talked about San Antonio’s sensor LED streetlights using fiber-optic cabling and a wireless network, resulting in $2 billion in cost avoidance.
Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.