Embrace Change or Become Irrelevant

August 25, 2011
By Rita Boland

U.S. military and industry must embrace change and the speed of technology's transitions to remain relevant domestically and on the world stage, according to remarks by John Chambers, chairman and chief executive officer of Cisco, during LandWarNet. If the nation fails to grow productivity by 3 percent to 5 percent over the next several years it will not keep pace with Asian counterparts nor retain current standards of living, he added. The information age is now the past as everything people use becomes part of the network. Chambers stated that many actions also must change such as providing access to experts instead of information and emphasizing communities rather than individuals. "Collaboration is no longer optional," he said. Industry and the military must work together, and in many cases face the same challenges including situational awareness and security issues. Another common battle is deciding what devices can connect into networks. Even as the military is trying to answer this question, Chambers said Cisco had to start allowing any devices to connect to its networks to remain effective. He explained that there are several factors to consider when thinking about the new network environment: massive scalability, mobile ad-hoc networking, real-time video and security/information assurance. He also sees five key drivers of the network future which are Cisco's priorities: leadership; collaboration; data centers/virtualization/cloud; video; and architectures for business transformation. Companies, he said, must be looking five years ahead to remain relevant. Change is happening faster than anyone could have imagined, Chambers stated, especially in mobile technologies. The recent Google acquisition of Motorola Mobile demonstrates how quickly hardware and software are coming together in the mobile world. Smart tablet sales are causing large decreases in PC sales, and young people are more likely to have multiple mobile devices than to have a computer, he said. "Mobility is going to trump security," Chambers explained, saying that organizations must accept this and at the same time work to secure connections. By 2013, estimates call for 1.5 million mobile devices and 5.7 million security threats. Other drivers of the future include video and how to search it and Internet Routing in Space. To successfully put capabilities in place, Chambers said the military must change technology, processes and culture at the same time. Chambers also addressed other challenges that face industry and government including the counterfeiting of technologies as well as the current certification process. He stated that the latter must be resolved because the cost is time, money and warfigthers' lives.

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