The release of Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report this week put on paper the findings that most of us experience in our daily lives. Our world is connected more than ever before, and technology is changing the way we live and interact. Here are just a few examples of things I’ve come across lately.

Pakistan is right next to California, the UK and Canada. Well, sort of

It used to be email, and the occasional phone call. Now people can talk to their friends and family around the globe 24/7 from anywhere. Smart phones, tablets and a new crop of apps are making the distance between home and homesick smaller by the day. One of the increasingly popular tools letting many of my friends keep in touch with loved ones is the cross-platform mobile messaging app, called “WhatsApp”. It allows users to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. The company, based in Silicon Valley, handles more than 10 billion messages a day. Rika Alavi from San Jose, California, started using WhatsApp in 2011 to keep in touch with her family in Pakistan, the UK and Canada. Now, on most days she wakes up to dozens of text messages filled with pictures of nieces, nephews, sisters, aunts and uncles, and even group chats about family get-togethers and events of daily life on three different continents.  She says the 99cent app helps make her family feel they are part of each other’s lives even though they live thousands of miles apart. WhatsApp is just one of a growing multitude of apps that are catering to our ever increasing mobile society. 

Learning New Tricks on Your Smart Phone

It’s not just the international crowd taking advantage of our growing connectedness. Skateboarders in Northern California are learning a new trick or two thanks to their smart phones. My friend Ben Collisson recently went into a skate shop in San Francisco where the employee told him about a “secret skate spot” in Half Moon Bay. It’s common for these areas to be kept under wraps and known to only a select few.  Ben asked where the spot was and the employee texted him the pin. He got in his car and followed the directions. He nailed it. Pins have been around for a while, but now they’re being used to open new worlds on the skate scene. Others are turning to apps like Skate Spot to find good grinds. The app shows pictures of venues, and allows users to narrow down the focus of their search to hills, parks, ramps or whatever they’re itching to skate.

Have Siri Help Do Your Homework

 My 11-year-old son and his friends have recently realized they can use their parents’ iPhones to help with homework, and I’m not just talking about the calculator. The kids dictate book reports and papers onto the phone, and email themselves the copy, then make minor adjustments. It’s a revelation that saves kids parents hours of typing .  It makes me wonder if we’re doing this in 2012, what will happen next year or in five years?  Will we even have keyboards or will everything be voice controlled?

 It’s these examples of innovation I find in my everyday life that make me realize how quickly technology is changing how we live, and stay connected.   It’s also changing the face of the planet, and this is only the beginning.

So how much does technology play a role in your daily life? Find out right now by calculating your data footprint





Kirsten Chiala

No Longer with Cisco

The Network