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Digital Disruptors and the Future of Consulting

In my role as leader of the Analytics Practice for Cisco® Consulting Services, I often meet with clients who remind me of how the nature of consulting is changing. Traditionally, a consultant’s value and relevance to the customer has been derived from his or her business background and knowledge of specific industries or areas of expertise. The consultant comes in and takes a look at the client’s critical business issues, then makes top-down recommendations based on his or her specialized business experience.

This traditional model is being challenged by what I call “digital disruptors”—consultants whose credibility comes not just from their past experience, but from their ability to extract value and insight based on data that is gathered at the operational base of the organization: the network. This bottom-up approach is turning the consulting industry on its head—driven by data gathered on the network and turned into business insights by analytics.

Consider, for example, a major enterprise that has made a large investment in infrastructure for video collaboration. The company’s leaders want to see what kind of value they are getting back from their investment in order to evaluate further investment in collaboration. Cisco Consulting can help this customer not only because of our industry expertise, or even because of our knowledge of video collaboration technology—but because we can take an analytics-based, digital-disruption approach to the customer’s challenges. The key is our ability to tap into the video infrastructure itself, combine network and other types of data, and give the client a view of how the infrastructure is being utilized.

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Predictions 2014: Wager on the Internet of Everything

You heard it first here: “In 2014, the Internet of Everything (IoE) will accelerate the growth of manufacturing industries to outpace overall U.S. GDP growth by >3x.”

As my colleague Jim Grubb points out, the IoE itself is no longer a prediction in-and-of-itself.  The joining of people, process, data and things to transform information into actions and create new capabilities, richer experiences and unprecedented opportunities is already a global reality.  Just how IoE impacts our economies and industries —including what many believe to be an American Manufacturing Renaissance— is what remains for our collective imaginations, innovations and entrepreneurial ingenuity.

To gain some insights and guidance on manufacturing movements, I turn to industry analyst expertise.  Bob Parker, IDC Group Vice President, last week hosted the IDC Manufacturing Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Manufacturing, one in a series of annual web conferences where IDC analysts share their industry outlook for the upcoming year in the form of a Top 10 Predictions.  Below, I provide a recap of what Bob and his team had to say about global IT investment trends and business initiatives relating to key process areas within manufacturing, along with my contentions around the impact of IoE on the manufacturing economy and why I believe we will see a growth inflection in the industry next year.
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Announcing Cisco Champions for Internet of Things Open Nominations

CCIoT 6One thing the IoT World Forum reinforced was the need for collaboration across the industry.  No one company will represent the Internet of Things.  I also saw a lot of passion.  Everyone there was excited and ready to help create a more connected world.  This is why I’m excited to announce open nominations for a new program here at Cisco:  Cisco Champions for Internet of Things!

Are you passionate about the Internet of Things and Cisco technology? Do you love sharing your knowledge? Do you want unique access to Cisco experts? Today is your lucky day. From now through January 10, 2014, nominate yourself, a friend, a mentor, or a luminary in the community for inclusion in this program.

Here’s what’s in it for you: http://www.cisco.com/go/ciscochampions

Submit your nomination today to cisco_champions@external.cisco.com! Be sure to include “IoT” or “Internet of Things” in your nomination, so it will be routed correctly. All Cisco Champions for Internet of Things will be selected and alerted no later than January 17, 2014.

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A Few of my Favorite Things: Video and the Internet of Everything

Once again, the holiday season is upon us. It’s a time to reconnect with friends and family, share memories and relax.

Unfortunately, today’s busy world prevents many of us from physically being together during this special time of year. But these days, the Internet of Everything is starting to be able to bring more people, things and traditions together through immersive mobile video and telepresence experiences.

Video Drives Experiences

Gone are the days of trying to capture memories with old-school video cameras. New waves of cloud-based, mobile, and video applications and machine-to-machine connections are documenting our lives in cool new ways. These are much more useable and sharable, and fun. These applications and connections are also contributing to the explosion of mobile data traffic. In fact, because mobile video content has much higher bit rates than other mobile content types, mobile video will generate much of the mobile traffic growth through 2017, according to Cisco VNI.

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IPv6-Centric Networking: Innovation Without Constraints

Over the last several months, I’ve been pleased to invite Mark Townsley, Cisco Fellow and recognized expert on Internet Protocol (IP), to discuss IPv6 as a key enabler of the Internet of Everything (IoE). In his series of guest blogs, Mark has explained the basics of IPv6 and why it is important (“Demystifying IPv6”), and discussed some of the technical challenges of moving to this latest version of IP (“Moving to IPv6: Rebuilding the Heart of the Internet Without Missing a Beat”). In this installment, Mark takes a look into the future at some of the things IPv6 will make possible. I’m particularly excited about this, because the unlimited addressing scheme of IPv6 is what will enable the exponential growth of connections among people, process, data, and things that will drive $14.4 trillion in IoE private-sector value over the next decade, and dramatically impact our daily lives. This is Mark’s third and final blog on IPv6.

 

townsleyIn my last blog, I explored various ways that IPv4 and IPv6 can coexist on the same network —each vital during the global IPv6 transition period, which began in earnest after the World IPv6 Launch last year. Today, I want to highlight new network deployments and designs that I like to call “IPv6-centric.” These architectures go beyond the more conservative approach of a congruent dual-stack IP network. Instead, they are designed and operated from the ground up with IPv6 at the base. While these networks can accommodate IPv4, IPv6 takes center stage.

 

IPv6-Centric Mobile Networks: Beginning last month, T-Mobile and Metro PCS users in the United States running the latest version of Android software are now provisioned with IPv6 by default, with no IPv4 address from the ISP network. Traffic to IPv6-enabled destinations such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Wikipedia will simply use IPv6. Traffic to non-IPv6-enabled sites will be translated to IPv4 after traversing the ISP network. If there are any remaining applications on the device that simply do not know how to handle IPv6, the Android device itself performs and IPv4-to-IPv6 translation internally, so the access network doesn’t see IPv4 at all.

“4G speeds and IoE are driving ‘scale-up’ and ‘scale-out’ in mobile networks. The scarcity of globally routable IPv4 addresses forces a series of compromises that an IPv6-only infrastructure alleviates, providing a solid bedrock to build upon.”

—    Cameron Byrne, T-Mobile Wireless, USA

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