As we start the year, Cisco’s CTO for Australia & New Zealand, Kevin Bloch, shares his thoughts on the trends that are going to shape the networking industry in 2013.

1. “Mobile .. for business” – New directly connected customer channel

Organisations will make significant investments to directly connect and interact with external and internal customers via their mobile devices, as nearly everyone has at least one.

2. “Cloud .. for business” – Big hit on ICT industry

Organisations ‘get’ cloud in 2013 and reorganise (transform) around “as-a-service”. As this happens, IT becomes an operational expense and risk shifts to the provider. This will be a journey and ‘hybrid clouds’ will dominate in 2013. Everyone in the ICT industry will need to adjust.

3. “Analytics .. for (big) business” – Big Data gets bigger

Businesses actually don’t want IT – they want to achieve their business goals! However, in order to do so, they need to be able to make fast, smart decisions. The data is available (actually exploding, particularly from smart mobile devices) and technology is now able to make that data useful (“data is the new oil”).

4. “Security .. for business” – IT’s risky

With increased mobile adoption, proliferation of intelligent devices, connectivity and clouds, organisations will increase attention on the means to address vulnerability and business risk. Attacks will focus on the most popular clients – mobile Android devices.

5. “Video .. for business” – More places to see

Video is increasingly permeating business. As mobile devices now exceed desktops, video becomes more accessible, from more places, from more devices.

6. Every Budget is an IT Budget – Bigger opportunity for IT Departments

Business functions now acknowledge the strategic importance of technology for their business. Business functions are increasingly aware of sources of IT other than the IT department (e.g. the cloud). Unless IT departments respond in a timely, cost-effective manner, business functions will leverage alternative sources as IT becomes increasingly more business-critical.

7. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) – Beware the hype

Software is unquestionably becoming more pervasive, more enabling and more promising. However, software still needs hardware on which to run (often quite specialised hardware). Software-defined apps and ecosystems are in their infancy. Realistically, this will NOT be the year of SDN; however, plenty of research and work will take place.

8. Simplify – The Killer App

The (‘consumption’) gap between the rate vendors add features, and the rate users are able to use them, widens. Therefore, the need to simplify has never been more urgent. It is defining the winners and losers – people don’t have time to ‘work it out’ or ‘wait’ for the help desk, they just ‘move on’.

9. Internet of Everything (IoE) – Get ready

Less than 1% of things that can be connected are currently connected to the internet. If we can intelligently increase connectivity, we can make significant improvements to various aspects of our lives, including safety, health, pollution, education and transport. Government and large organisations should consider IoE in 2013 in their strategic planning.

10. Industry Consolidation

Without speculating on specific businesses and deals, it will come as no surprise that as 2013 rolls on, we will see continued consolidation within the industry. In particular, the areas that we will probably see the most activity will be in the client end-point segment (including mobile handsets and PCs).

Never before has ICT been as relevant and as important to business and government. We can expect this to continue and 2013 is certainly shaping up to be an exciting year for our industry. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinBloch



Linda Horiuchi

Senior Manager, Australia and New Zealand PR