I'm currently up in Brisbane attending the three day Cisco Networkers event. This year the event is using the theme of "knowledge is power", with a heavy emphasis on video. In his opening remarks, Australian vice president Les Williamson described video as "the pervasive technology underpping 'knowledge is power'." He also showed off the Flip video camera, an easy-to-use, tiny device capable of recording HD video. Williamson also talked about the impact of Twitter, pointing out Cisco's Twitterers, including its CTO Padmasree Warrior, who has more than 1.1 million followers.
The keynote itself was delivered by Guido Jouret, Cisco's vice president and chief technology officer within its emerging technologies group. Jouret started with a history lesson across the IT industry, through to the modern era, and calling the new mandate for IT to position it as an experience provider.
Jouret has been working to create an internal incubation framework, funding and nurturing start-ups within Cisco looking at technologies such asTtelePressence and smart buildings. "If our group was listed as a separate VC firm, we would be one of the largest VC firms in Silicon Valley today," he says.
He also talked about the phenomenon of when people move to smart phones, they consumer 30 times more bandwidth than they do on a regular phone, and about how video has become an acclerator of bandwidth consumption both from consumers and business. The percentage of video traffic in the global network will increase by a factor of five in just two years, and comprises 65 percent of network traffic within Cisco's internal network.
He also talked about Cisco's work to create smarter IP networks. "Video and rich media loathe networks, but they also change networks .. These extra-nets, as they become more and more media saturated, become media-nets." He talked about video-enabled infrastructure, where video and rich media, including digital signage, security cameras and enterprise television, is an attribute of the network. The network needs to become media-aware, and Jouret says Cisco has a team creating software that will embed media intelligence into both the end-points (such as cameras) and the network switches. This is needed for the existing load of mobility, video and collaboration, and will be essential for the development of smart utility grids.
"Through all of this, the network is the global medium," Jouret says. "And the network needs to become more aware. We are busy taking this basic network infrastructure and making it more intelligent about these new demands and requirements."