Businesses need to be technology companies first before anything else

| 28 May 2014

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Last week I had the opportunity to attend the international Cisco Live conference in San Francisco. Interestingly Cisco, which derives its name from the city, is celebrating 30 years of existence. The company that is responsible for a large portion of the “global digital plumbing” has seen many changes since they started in the business of connecting networks together.

They have certainly seen the boom since the birth of the Internet more than 25 years ago. But at the Cisco Live conference this year they were talking about the next evolution of the Internet and the enormous impact that it will have in business over the next 6 years.

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They are talking about the next evolution of the Internet, and it will be bigger than anything we have ever seen before. It will have a massive impact not only in business but also in every human being’s life. The term coined is the Internet of Everything. Today we have computers and sensors so small that we are literally able to put them everywhere and this is the where the notion of connecting everything comes from.

Cisco is talking about 50 billion devices connected to the Internet and a value of $19 trillion dollars being generated for businesses moving towards the end of this decade.

There are massive complexities when trying to put these types of future networks in place. What is even more complicated is how do you sift the data and try and make sense of it in a business environment.

“The simple concept as you move forward with the Internet of Everything is that you have to get the right information, at the right time, to the right device or the right person, to make the right decision. Sounds simple, it is very difficult to do and almost impossible to do without the right architecture and technology in place,” said Cisco CEO John Chambers during his opening keynote address.

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“You can take a complex organisation like a retail store and think of all the complex architectures that have to come together between monitoring traffic in the parking lot, to the video surveillance systems, the ability to have a smart trolley that goes around the store tracking consumers movements, gesture recognition and even tying all that information back to social media – this is what the Internet of Everything is all about. It is about being able to connect an entire environment and shop floor, and if done right, the efficiencies are enormous and profitability is enhanced,” added Chambers.

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There are tremendous changes happening in every sector of business today, all being driven by incredible innovation taking place in technology. It is moving so fast that the pace of change is twice as fast today, than it was three years ago, and this is what will drive a brutal consolidation of the IT industry according to Cisco.

The dangers are obviously security. If hackers get into these systems they can literally bring an organisation or a city to a standstill and that was one if the big focuses at the Cisco Live Conference 2014.

The key message that came through over and over throughout this conference is that today, businesses need to be technology companies first before anything else. If you don’t have the right technology in place to do the right job, your competitors will simply be more agile, work more efficiently and have the ability to be considerably, more productive and achieve better results in a shorter time frame. Companies that do not understand the rapid digitization of business today will simply be left behind and cease to exist in the future.

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