2014 ended with a flurry of technology conferences in Europe and the Middle East.  In November, the European Commission’s (EC) annual Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Conference addressed how to make the EC a 21 Century organization.  In December, the International Telecommunications Union Telecommunications Standardization Sector ( ITU-T) hosted a meeting in Doha, Qatar for CTOs.  Among the issues discussed were updates on the Global Standardization Landscape, status of Internet of Things Standardization and next generation video technologies and standards.   Also in Doha, at the same time The ITU hosted World Telecom whose theme was “Future in Focus: how disruptive developments in technology, business and society are transforming the ICT industry.” All the meetings gave us much to think about for 2015. Günther Oettinger , European Union  Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society kicked-off the ICT DIGIT-IT conference by outlining his strategy for achieving a digital transformation within the European Union.  He went on to detail specific areas he thought needed the most attention including:

  • Effective Workplace
  • Real time administration
  • Open Data
  • Collaborative working tools
  • Security and cyber-security (mentioned as number 1 priority)
  • Growing usage of Cloud for non-strategic data
  • Importance of Big Data and Internet of Everything
  • Openness and Collaboration between the different EU organizations
  • Attracting young generation within EU, build and retain talent

Effective workplace

As Commissioner Oettinger concluded his presentation, I was struck by how similar his concerns are to the concerns Cisco is hearing from many of our customers; namely, the importance of Big Data, the Internet of Everything, Cloud Computing and the intersection of privacy, data retention and cybersecurity. The Commissioner also challenged the participants to think about the talent required to address these topics in a rapidly changing environment.  He asked the audience, “What does a millennial strategy look like?” And, “What does an agile organization look like?” The ITU conference Leadership Summit of the Future was quite a provocative experience as we explored the question, “What does 2020 look like for YOU?” Here are some of the more striking visions for the future:

  • We are living in an exponential society as opposed to a linear one: Change is happening so rapidly  that it challenges our traditional linear way of thinking;
  • Can one associate ethics with robots and machines?  Technology has no ethics in a future that is hyper-visual; hyper-interactive; hyper-immersive and hyper-augmented ;
  • Living with technology that predicts and mediates—Predictive Analytics—everything that happens must be known;
  • Robots become family members and friends; can sense your emotions:  Machines acting human  – research is already underway in Japan using robot  to address an aging society;
  • Being offline becomes the new luxury: No email days.  In fact, ATOS CEO Thierry Breton has declared a “zero email” culture using the company’s social networking platform instead of email as a way to enhance productivity.

My overall takeaways from the meetings are:

  • Technology Immediacy plus complexity will trigger a bigger role for cybersecurity.
  • The intersection between circular economics—which balances economic development with environmental and resources protection and exponential economics—fast and ongoing change that consume resources will trigger a focus on re-manufacturing-reusability like models as to market “green x” and to battle supply chain fraud and counterfeiting.
  • Federation will take on a greater role beyond Intercloud.
  • Organizations will need to be agile in order to survive  – think small team execution.
  • Job skills will require a “T-Profile” deep in a few areas, yet able to see the bigger picture – for more on T-Profile see interview  from IDEO CEO Tim Brown:
  • Wearables.  Perhaps Copernicus was wrong; the sun is not the center of the solar system – think universe … The connected human is and will require technical support and enhanced security .

Which of the takeaways discussed do you think will have the most impact on how we live, work and play in the future?

Tweet us @CiscoSP360 for any questions or comments.


Monique Morrow


New Frontiers Development and Engineering