Cisco Blogs

An Historic Look into the Future

August 19, 2011 - 6 Comments

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.

  1. …Borrowed a book from a thousand miles away
  2. …Crossed the country without stopping for directions
  3. …Sent someone a fax from the beach
  4. …Paid a toll, without slowing down
  5. …Bought a concert ticket from a cash machine
  6. …Tucked your baby in from a phone booth
  7. …Opened doors with the sound of your voice
  8. …Carried your medical history in your wallet
  9. …Attended a meeting in your bare feet
  10. …Watched the movie you wanted to, the minute you wanted to
  11. …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.

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  1. the internet has changed life as we know it and most of us depend on it in one way or another its a intresting time to be alive

  2. The internet has revolutionized the way we look at information. The next 20 years are going to be truly amazing im sure about that. Great post.

  3. Now we need another "unbelievable" list. Other than the flying car that one's going to be a while. Possible and feasible are two different things. I'm a photographer and the technology changes in our industry are crazy in the last decade. I can't imagine what ten years into the future will bring. I saw an old Star Trek Next Generation and I swear they had an iPad. Same size, same shape computer display. :)

  4. Everything changing so fast, i could not imagine how it can be in the next 10 years ahead.

  5. Almost all or all the predictions did come true because of the internet revolution. The world does change a lot because of the dawn of the internet.

  6. It's funny how most of these predictions are so normal for us today. Some of them even sound hilarious compared to what's possible today. Opening doors with the sound of your voice :D It's not standard but it's not a big deal anymore either. 10 however still isn't always possible (I know you guys have netflix but in europe theres no legal way to do that just yet).