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The tech world in 2017 according to Cisco

The tech world in 2017 according to Cisco

Cisco A/NZ CTO, Kevin Bloch outlines the top trends for the year ahead

Kevin Bloch - CTO, Cisco A/NZ

Kevin Bloch - CTO, Cisco A/NZ

The world is moving from a world of data, to a data-driven world.

That's according to Cisco Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Kevin Bloch, who believes such a shift is causing new trends to emerge across the market as a consequence.

"Cisco did very well in building the first generation of the internet, but it’s not good enough," said Bloch, speaking at Cisco Live in Melbourne. "It’s not going to support the next generation of internet that’s required as we start digitising the world and as we move from human to machine scale."

According to Bloch, the industry is approaching the end of cloud, moving beyond its phases - from virtualisation, to confusion and to clarity.

"Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google have all made a name in this space," he said. "Things are settling down now and we are entering phase four – this involves moving intelligence to the edge. We call this fog."

The essence of fog is taking intelligence to the edge, where businesses now take the query to the data.

“What’s so important about this wave is that it’s critical in business because you want developers developing apps for the business, not optimising the back end, which is what has been done the last 10 years," he explained.

“When you write an application that is cloud native, cloud becomes a procurement exercise. Enter phase four – hyperscale and hyperconverged is becoming really big and there’s massive investment going on in those spaces."

In looking ahead to 2017, Bloch cited business transformation as a key disrupter within the market.

Specifically, Bloch said the industry is transitioning from one that was driven by fixed computing, to mobile/BYOD, to the Internet of Things, to one that is now of ubiquitous compute.

“We are now moving beyond the hype of big data," he added. "We’re moving to a point where we need to understand what we’re going to do to compete better. But of course, with these opportunities come a lot of risk."

But Bloch claimed that this move from a human scale to machine scale can result in a double-edged sword.

“A Mackenzie study found that 83 per cent of people who are earning less than $20 an hour are going to have their jobs automated," he observed.

"The second risk is cyber – it’s a very significant issue. The third, is trust – as we move into AI, we start going into self service, giving to the rise of algorithmic accountability as mistakes will fall on machines not people."

The next trend he picked up on is the changes in software and artificial intelligence (AI).

For Bloch, businesses should now be questioning themselves around leveraging machine-to-machine learning or AI to compete.

“It’s already happening today in other sectors," he added. "Mackenzie found that most businesses today are not digitally transformed. But if they were, they could improve some 45 per cent of their processes.

"But if they move into AI, you take that number to 80 per cent. That’s the opportunity."

Kevin Bloch - CTO, Cisco A/NZ
Kevin Bloch - CTO, Cisco A/NZ

Another trend Bloch predicted for 2017 was around the rise of smarter infrastructure.

"It’s about taking a thing that provides little value, making it smart, and doing something with it," he said. "That opens up a world of providing services, because then, everything becomes a service,” he said.

The fifth trend set to impact the industry, according to Bloch, is around networking moving into the cloud space.

“It has transformed our investment in cloud and how we deploy networks, and network connectivity is only getting more and more important," he said. "Today, we’re getting three times the performance in compute than five years ago.

"You put those three things together and you can see why it’s pushing digital transformation,” he mentioned. He added that moving into this software-defined world gives prominence to cloud service management, analytics, virtualisation, and automation.

The sixth trend is mobility. Bloch said the future of video is mobile, and the future of mobile is video. With the rise of augmented reality, Bloch stressed the importance of the how the next wave of mobile is going to look like.

“What you’re getting with AI and virtual reality is a new experience; a fully immersed experience, and it’s much more than just for games. This is going to grow, compound 127 per cent, into a multi-million dollar investment and it will impact the mobile and networking world,” he said.

Bloch also spoke about the key trend of security, as 2016 was a record year for security breaches globally - this includes the ABS DDoS attacks and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s massive data breach.

“Security has been important to us for a while, but this has become very serious. We had some of the biggest economic crimes that year," he said. "But if we’re spending more and more money on cyber, which we are, why are we moving backwards?

“It’s because customers are struggling to keep pace with the complexity."

To improve this situation, Bloch suggested companies take a two-pronged approach to the metrics of cyber – improve the time to detect, and time to remediate – and take this conversation to the board level.

Bloch also spoke about the trend of connected technology in transportation, as it would reduce the cost of congestion in Australia, from $2 billion per annum, per city.

He also picked out drones as the new technology to shape businesses.

“We’re at the cusp of the drone industry in Australia, and timing is so important when it comes to new technologies," he explained. "Drones are important because, if we’re trying to digitise the world, drones offer us that opportunity faster than anything that I know of."

Bloch also stressed the importance of innovation – moving from IT to OT as the last trend for 2017.

“Innovation affects any sector that you can imagine," he added. "The problem is speed, skills, and access to technology. So what needs to happen is this whole move from IT to operations. And we’re seeing that with more executives moving from IT to OT.

“But going into all these things is all about timing.”

Hafizah Osman is attending Cisco Live ’17 in Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.

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