An Historic Look into the Future
Earlier this week I came across a great bit of history, thanks to All Things Digital. It was a look back at an AT&T campaign from 1993, featuring a remarkable voiceover by Tom Selleck. What made it so remarkable was that Selleck was positing about futuristic capabilities that in the past 18 years have all come to be—thanks to the power of innovation.
If you haven’t seen the spots, here’s a list of the rundowns of “Have you ever?…” that were included in the campaign.
- …Borrowed a book from a thousand miles away
- …Crossed the country without stopping for directions
- …Sent someone a fax from the beach
- …Paid a toll, without slowing down
- …Bought a concert ticket from a cash machine
- …Tucked your baby in from a phone booth
- …Opened doors with the sound of your voice
- …Carried your medical history in your wallet
- …Attended a meeting in your bare feet
- …Watched the movie you wanted to, the minute you wanted to
- …Learned special things from faraway places
What struck me about these predictions is that Cisco has really been at the forefront of delivering this stuff. And with AT&T as a valued partner, we’ve nailed what began as pure imagination—not a bad track record from 1993 to 2011.
In those early days—1993—Cisco’s headcount was at 1,459. It had just introduced its high-end Multiprotocol router platform and the 2000 remote-access router platform, which extended the enterprise internetwork to remote sites. Around that same time, Mosaic had introduced the first graphics-based web browser and internet traffic was growing at a 341,634 percent growth rate. Pretty staggering! Elsewhere, the White House and the UN were launching their first websites.
Since then, Cisco has been pushing technology and innovation to greater levels of possibility, enabling those once-imagined ideas of distance learning, and communicating and transacting from any device, anytime, anywhere. Building more intelligence into switches and routers, evolving VoIP, and of course, enabling more lifelike communications like TelePresence. Happily, we’ve shot past the once-lofty ideas of faxes and phone booths!
As Cisco heads into its next chapter, I’m excited to be part of a team that will make today’s wow-factor notions of swiping smartphones to complete purchases a charming relic of the past. What do you imagine the future holds? How will our communities, health, businesses and homes transform? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We live in exciting times.