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Where is Technology Innovation Heading?

Today, in universities around the world, leading professors are looking for top notch PhD students and researchers to push the boundaries and explore areas that will enable tomorrow’s technology innovation. To have a preview of what the future could look like, we at Cisco asked 60 leading academic professors in Electrical Engineering (EE) and Computer Science (CS) in 25 top universities worldwide the following question: “What areas of research will you be focusing on going forward?”.

Here are 4 things, which we learned from their passionate and fascinating answers:

Moore Law

#1 – The Pending End of Moore’s Law 

The Interviewed Professors generally see Moore’s law coming to an end in the next 5-10 years (predictions of the end of the law are almost as old as the law itself…). It looks like smaller transistors can still be developed but at a high cost. Although not really about physical limits, but rather an economic issue, significant research is taking place to find alternative improvement mechanisms beyond reducing size. For example, replacing signal wires with optical signals, increasing energy efficiency, or using smarter data processing allocation between devices and the cloud.

#2: Research is Focusing on 4 Areas

The vast majority of research taking place at the top university institutions in Electrical Engineering (EE) and Computer Science (CS) falls into one of the following four areas:  

  1. Artificial intelligence: deep learning, mining of unstructured data, multi-agent communication, autonomous vehicles, robotics, human-computer interface, computer vision. 
  2. Process optimisation: software & systems engineering, processor improvements, power engineering, hardware improvement. 
  3. Cloud computing and networking: wireless communication, network engineering, software-defined networks, internet of things.
  4. Computer and information security: cryptography & encryption, network security, mobile security

#3 – Technology is Proliferating 

With the advent of the Internet of Things resulting in a growing number of connected devices impacting our life, technology is becoming increasingly embedded in society. Technologies such as big data and machine learning are in reality already playing a massive role (sometimes behind the scenes). Research will continue to drive improvements in Human-Computer Interfaces, creating new technologies that will increasingly co-exist with legacy, human controlled systems. As IT technology spills over into distant domains, it continuously expands the innovation boundaries of other industries such as healthcare and transportation.

#4 – Interdisciplinary Research is Key

Where is technology innovation heading?In many cases professors indicated that the key to unlocking the potential of technology applications is in combining research with other disciplines such as neuroscience, mechanical engineering, and social sciences. Professors also highlighted the difficulty in obtaining funding for such cross-disciplinary projects, because funding mechanisms usually expect proposed projects to fit into specific disciplines. 

In the following weeks, we will explore in more detail some of the themes that are emerging from this survey hopefully giving you out of the box ideas about the future they could potentially unlock.

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Geopolitical Trends in Cybersecurity for 2015

New year predictions generally take one of several forms: broad generalizations about multi-year trends, guesses about what might happen, or overviews of recent events disguised as predictions. The first is too easy, the second—going out on a limb—risks missing the mark so badly as to be useless. So I will go with the third choice in the hope that, by calling out some of the common threads running through major stories of 2014, we can take some cues for the future.

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Trends in Data Center Security: Part 1 – Traffic Trends

Organizations are quickly discovering that a “one size fits all” approach to security across the network falls short of addressing the unique trends in the Data Center. So what’s really that unique about the Data Center (DC)? This is a multi-part blog to highlight various trends related to securing the DC, with Part One focusing on traffic trends.

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3 Top Technology Trends in the Mighty Middle – How to Keep Your Midsize Business Agile

3 top tech trends for mighty middle“The Mighty Middle.” That’s what we call the world’s midmarket companies.  According to National Center for Middle Market, if the U.S. middle market were an independent economy, it would be the fifth largest in the world. The middle market produced 2.2 million new jobs between 2007 and 2010. Midmarket companies create one in three jobs.

But emerging trends could impede that growth for midmarket organizations with their limited resources, shrinking budgets and aggressive timelines, unless the challenges they pose—Mobility, Security, Cloud, Social and Big Data—can be addressed. Today, we look at three midmarket technology trends, the hurdles they pose, and what midmarket companies can do. These trends are also presented in greater detail in our new Webinar with Gartner called “Midmarket Trends and Opportunities – Positioning Your Company for Success”

Mobility: Don’t Let BYOD Become an SOS

According to a recent IDC report, smartphones and tablets will dominate IT growth in 2014. And they’ll account for over 60% of IT spending. In fact, analysts predict that 2015 will be the first year in which more consumers access the Internet with mobile devices than with PCs. BYOD has evolved from a trend, to a reality, and now to a necessity. Read More »

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Mobile Location Based Services Trends of 2013

The holiday season which began with Cyber Monday on December 2nd 2013 has just ended and analyzing the impact on mobile commerce sales and location based services unveils some very interesting trends.

Firstly, at the macro level:

  • Online shopping increased in the USA in 2013 by over 16% compared to 2012.
  • From a mobility perspective, almost a third of all online sales (29%) were made from Smartphones or Tablets.

Clearly there are changes in the online marketplace, but in order to examine this a little further, let’s look at a few key questions to help understand what is happening in this marketplace:

  1. What are the major trends?
  2. Is mobile commerce just a US phenomenon?
  3. What impact does location based services have?
  4. Where are the main benefits coming from analytics?
  5. How is privacy fitting in to all this and how is the attitude of mobile consumers evolving?

Trends 2013:  Read More »

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