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DISA Forum: Complexity, Video, Security on the IT Horizon

August 18, 2011
By Max Cacas
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John Chambers, CEO of internet router manufacturer CISCO, told the DISA Customer and Industry Forum in Baltimore yesterday that "Collaboration will be the productivity tool of the next decade." Generally, its tough to anticipate what challenges and opportunities will present themselves five years from now, he continued.

Several years ago, for example, his company designed and built one of the first routers capable of handling one million telephone calls per second. In the first year, they sold only seven, with many people wondering what you would use such a device for. Five years later, he said, they had sold over 5,000.

Today, Chambers said that much the same thing is happening with other media, and as a result, CISCO is now making routers that are capable of handling as many as 500 video feeds simultaneously. Chambers said that because the trend is toward more and more video streaming from everything to individual PCs to mobile devices, his firm designs all their products to be able to handle video in one form or another.

Because all information is digital, every device now attached to the network, including popular new mobile devices, are network nodes, Chambers explained. In the near future, all such devices will have security built in, and also will take advantage of "intelligence in the network" to help secure all such devices. And the new environment will be one in which "security is not an option." Because of improvements in both hardware and software, Chambers envisions improved security and reliability across the enterprise environment.

Products, he said, need to be designed to work together and easily address business demands, and at the same time be able to adapt to new technologies still on the drawing boards. He also considers cloud computing "the most network-centric architecture ever," which he said will enable most, if not all, of the collaboration capabilities envisioned for the the future.

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