If this is the post-PC era, I first encountered computers in the pre-PC era. I remember a field trip to a room of giant kitchen appliances that turned out to be full of information instead of groceries. Despite the lack of snacks, I was enamored with the punch cards they gave us as souvenirs. My dad was amused enough to bring home a whole stack of punch cards from his work — Hewlett-Packard’s Santa Clara manufacturing facility. (Another day he brought home a cat.)
Not long after, I met my first desktop computer when I started learning very basic BASIC programming on a Commodore PET with an external cassette tape drive. Ah, the nostalgia of summer school and CRT displays.
Apple managed to maintain a Macintosh beachhead, but it was definitely a sea of PC.
For the most part, it was much like Henry Ford’s infamous “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.” At most companies it was the same story, you can select any of 14 options, but they’re all PCs. Want a Macintosh? Provide business justification and get VP approval. Today at Cisco, the PC vs. Mac choice comes down to personal preference.
In 1998, Oracle introduced “the concept of hosted applications to the Oracle market, allowing customers to rent access to software hosted on Oracle computers and access those systems via a Web browser.” As eager as Larry Ellison might have been to displace the dreaded Microsoft and PCs with lightweight terminals, the rest of the planet wasn’t quite there yet. Hosted software? Internet storage? Thin clients? Web access? Huh, sounds a lot like cloud.
Fast forward and today we’re in the post-PC era.
Android and Apple iOS have made even quicker, more vigorous operating system inroads than DOS did, thanks in large part to devices and applications.
Smartphones and tablets have outplaced desktop and notebook PCs in global unit shipments since the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Morgan Stanley Research data.
PC manufacturers need to adjust more quickly than most seem to be doing to survive. Says ZDNet’s Jason Perlow, “To put it bluntly, the Post-PC world represents a displacement of computing from the traditional, 30 year-old Intel architecture used on desktop to the Datacenter and the Cloud.” We no longer need the same processing power and storage for the things we do on a daily basis. We have web applications, we have clouds, we have mobile devices.
Today is about mobility, smartphones, tablets, and clouds — ideas impossible to picture on my first field trip to HP. Operating systems, bits, bytes, and cumulus accumulations of data aside, the biggest difference is in how we use our devices of choice today. Emphasis on choice.
“Within ten years, the majority of business professionals will be using extremely inexpensive thin notebooks, tablets and thin clients (sub $500) which will utilize any number of software technologies that run within the browser or will use next-generation Web-based APIs and Web Services … to provide line-of-business application functionality.”--Jason Perlow
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 which provides agencies greater flexibility in managing their workforce. It provides a framework for agencies to better leverage technology and to maximize the use of flexible work arrangements which can aid in recruiting new Federal workers, retain valuable talent and allow the Federal agency workers to be more responsive to citizen needs and be more productive out in the field. This can include situations such as national security, emergency response, cross agency collaboration, or simply, providing citizen services such as language translation.
Last year, more than 71,000 people pledged, saving $5,651,890 on commuting costs, gaining back 251,774 hours into their day, and removing 3 tons of pollutents from the air while refraining from driving 6, 413,006 miles.
Today, Cisco and Telework Exchange kicks off the third annual Telework Week 2013 – an annual global effort to encourage agencies, organizations and individuals to pledge to work anytime, anywhere from March 4-8, 2013. According to Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), author of the Telework Enhancement Act, “Telework Week is an excellent opportunity for thousands of people to try teleworking and realize the great benefits it can provide. A robust Telework program can help organizations improve the quality of life of their employees, while taking strides to protect the environment, reduce traffic congestion on the roads, and increase workplace efficiency.”
Throughout the years, I’ve been able to witness some great examples of technology’s ability to connect people when it really matters. Now, with Christmas lights everywhere and the holiday season upon us, it’s the time of year where wishes really do come true. And no one is better suited to spread holiday cheer than Santa himself -- that’s why Cisco established the Santa Connection program.
In its sixth year, the program aims to connect Santa with young patients unable to leave the hospital and allows them to “virtually” visit Santa. Through Santa Connection, Cisco engineers set up Cisco TelePresence solutions via iPad, laptop or cart in children’s hospitals across the globe. These children are then able to share their Christmas wishes with the man himself “in-person” over high-definition video and Santa’s elves are on hand in the hospital to give gifts. What a great way to put smiles on children’s faces. Read More »
For many children, visiting Santa Claus, sitting on his lap, and telling him what they want for Christmas is a highlight of the holiday season. But for a sick, hospitalized child, participating in this tradition can be impossible.
Thanks to Cisco technology and a network of Cisco volunteers, hundreds of hospitalized children in the U.K. and Ireland have a chance to visit with Santa each year – in the most high-tech way possible.
One of eight volunteer Santas in the 2012 Connected Santa program in the U.K. and Ireland
I’m one of the lucky ones. Many of my peers work in companies that aren’t as forward looking about IT as Cisco is. Where they struggle to keep up with the demands of today’s employees, I’m fortunate to work in an environment that offers workspace flexibility and access to telepresence, web conferencing, and a social platform based largely on the employee’s choice of device.
That’s not to say that we’ve got it all figured out at Cisco. As I onboard new college graduates, I, too, find myself struggling to meet their expectations. I think we’ve entered a phase in which all business and IT leaders will lag slightly behind the workplace expectations of the new generation.
To better understand this fundamental shift, we recently commissioned Forrester Research to look specifically at mobility, virtualization, and other enterprise-level technology initiatives. Read More »