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My Top 7 Predictions for Open Source in 2014

My 2014 predictions are finally complete.  If Open Source equals collaboration or credibility, 2013 has been nothing short of spectacular.  As an eternal optimist, I believe 2014 will be even better:

  1. Big data’s biggest play will be in meatspace, not cyberspace.  There is just so much data we produce and give away, great opportunity for analytics in the real world.
  2. Privacy and security will become ever more important, particularly using Open Source, not closed. Paradoxically, this is actually good news as Open Source shows us again, transparency wins and just as we see in biological systems, the most robust mechanisms do so with fewer secrets than we think.
  3. The rise of “fog” computing as a consequence of the Internet of Things (IoT) will unfortunately be driven by fashion for now (wearable computers), it will make us think again what have we done to give up our data and start reading #1 and #2 above with a different and more open mind. Again!
  4. Virtualization will enter the biggest year yet in networking.  Just like the hypervisor rode Moore’s Law in server virtualization and found a neat application in #2 above, a different breed of projects like OpenDaylight will emerge. But the drama is a bit more challenging because the network scales very differently than CPU and memory, it is a much more challenging problem. Thus, networking vendors embracing Open Source may fare well.
  5. Those that didn’t quite “get” Open Source as the ultimate development model will re-discover it as Inner Source (ACM, April 1999), as the only long-term viable development model.  Or so they think, as the glamor of new-style Open Source projects (OpenStack, OpenDaylight, AllSeen) with big budgets, big marketing, big drama, may in fact be too seductive.  Only those that truly understand the two key things that make an Open Source project successful will endure.
  6. AI recently morphed will make a comeback, not just robotics, but something different AI did not anticipate a generation ago, something one calls cognitive computing, perhaps indeed the third era in computing!  The story of Watson going beyond obliterating Jeopardy contestants, looking to open up and find commercial applications, is a truly remarkable thing to observe in our lifespan.  This may in fact be a much more noble use of big data analytics (and other key Open Source projects) than #1 above. But can it exist without it?
  7. Finally, Gen Z developers discover Open Source and embrace it just like their Millennials (Gen Y) predecessors. The level of sophistication and interaction rises and projects ranging from Bitcoin to qCraft become intriguing, presenting a different kind of challenge.  More importantly, the previous generation can now begin to relax knowing the gap is closing, the ultimate development model is in good hands, and can begin to give back more than ever before. Ah, the beauty of Open Source…

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Ushering in the New Era of Healthcare

I’m not a doctor…but I am a patient.

I’m also a keen observer of the world around me—especially when it involves my health.

For many healthcare professionals, I believe the recent challenges surrounding the industry have taken some of the enjoyment out of their work. Issues such as new and changing regulations, increased lawsuits, escalating costs, and barely manageable patient loads, among others, have all taken their toll on the doctors, nurses, and administrators who, I believe, entered the healthcare field to have a fulfilling, lifelong career serving people and helping them live better lives.

This situation presents a real issue for literally everyone fortunate enough to have access to modern healthcare. Population growth and aging populations in many countries around the world mean we need more healthcare professionals, not fewer. Happier, more productive doctors and nurses mean better care for their patients. And, people who dedicate years of their lives to practice medicine should have a satisfying work experience.

In the United States, demand for physicians will outpace supply by 130,000 by 2025 (Source: AAMC Center for Workforce Studies, 2011)

In the United States, demand for physicians will outpace supply by 130,000 by 2025 (Source: AAMC Center for Workforce Studies, 2011)

For healthcare professionals (and the rest of us), I have great news—we are at the cusp of a renaissance in healthcare. Technology—including the Internet of Everything (IoE), robotics, 3-D printing, wearable technology, cloud, mobility, and many others—promises to usher in this new era in healthcare. In short, the best is yet to come.

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To make my point, here are a couple of examples that I believe will transform healthcare over the next 10 years. (For those of you attending the HIMSS13 conference March 3-7, I will be presenting several more examples in my keynote speech.) Read More »

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Treating Patients Anywhere, Anytime with Telemedicine

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By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Modern medicine has brought some amazing technological advances. But at the end of the day, the most powerful medical tool remains the old-fashioned one: expert clinicians with the knowledge to evaluate, monitor and care for patients.

The problem: how do you get medical expertise to all of the places it’s needed? One growing answer: Telemedicine.

Read More »

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Manufacturing Robotics: Automation with Emotion

I enjoy Halloween.  I particularly enjoy passing out candy and treats to the children and being amused by their costumes.  Some are very creative, and cute.   A young girl no older than 3 years was dressed as a duck and instead of saying, “Trick or Treat” she just quacked. It was Hilarious!! So what does my Halloween experience this year have to do with manufacturing.  Well, a young man came to my home dressed in a very elaborate and cleverly designed C-3PO costume.  You know the clever robot in the Star Wars series that translated for R2D2.

I began to think about how robots in manufacturing are evolving and becoming more intuitive and cerebral, but an interesting phenomenon is also starting to evolve in the world of robotics.  They’re becoming more emotional.

Say Hello to Mr. Baxter.  Rethink Robotics has designed a friendly and compassionate robot with ‘common sense’.  Baxter is a worker robot with a touchscreen face that’s as much about communicating its intent as giving humans something more to experience.  It’s safe to work around, courteous and follows instructions very well.  The ideal teenage son. Baxter also cost about $22,000. Less than a 1/3 of some college tuitions.

Can you envision yourself treating your fellow robot much like you treat your trusted Golden Retriever, Fido?  Do you remember Rosie from the Jetsons and B9, the robot from the late 1960′s sitcom, Lost In Space (Boy am I dating myself)?  These robots expressed emotions like love and fear, were treated like family and were trusted to help make critical decisions that effected the safety and well being of their owners.

Baxter is being touted as the catalyst to help restore US and European manufacturing prowess.  Do you think Baxter robots will achieve this objective?  I’m not sure, but I would like to know how President Obama and Mr. Romney plan to tax Mr. Baxter.  I would hate for Baxter to become emotionally upset and stage a strike.

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