Jun 17 2013

Cisco Live 2013: Collaboration’s Role in the Internet of Everything

The way work gets done is set to evolve once machines and sensors jump into the mix.

The world is poised to become more connected at almost every level. We often talk about connecting people online, but Cisco predicts an “Internet of Everything” future in which machines can talk to each other as easily as people can use their smartphones to text each other.

Understanding and accepting this shift in technology is critical to adapting and embracing changes within our business and personal lives.

“Every once in a while I’ll go in the house and I’ll see my son in front of the computer, and I’ll say to my son, ‘Why don't you go outside and play with your friends?’ And he says, ‘Dad, I am,’” says Chris Wiborg, director of marketing with Cisco’s collaboration group.

This shift in “playing with friends” is one example of the way technology has changed our lives, he says.

“It's about people, process, data and things,” Wiborg says.

At this year’s Cisco Live in Orlando, Fla., the company plans to outline its vision of the Internet of Everything and the value of IT for businesses in even more detail.

“We'll be showing how a lot of our products continue to provide innovations to not only our customers but our partners as well,” says Wiborg.

In fact, Wiborg feels that the demos at Cisco Live best spotlight how technology can change the way we work.

“I always enjoy the demos,” he says. “Those illustrations [of tech] not only show the power of what we can do but capture the imagination of our audience.”

How Collaboration Is Growing Up

The concept of collaboration has continued to evolve at a rapid pace. Five years ago, collaboration was focused on being able to instant message employees and receive voicemails through email.

Today, Cisco is focused on using collaboration to drive meaningful communication and value for the business.

“Our view from a collaboration perspective is the real value of information gets unlocked when you loop people in the process,” Wiborg says. “We want to extend those connections that Cisco creates between everything and people.”

He points to innovations with the webRTC protocol, which would enable browser-based video conferencing. A frictionless user experience is key to more businesses embracing collaboration technologies. Having to download a separate client just for video makes it a less viable option for most users.

Users have also come to expect instant communication.

“Collaboration used to be asynchronous, but we’re seeing a desire for more real-time collaboration,” Wiborg says.

Part of this is driven by the need for mobility to work on the go and the rise of cloud computing in the enterprise. The shift to the cloud has forced many companies to rethink how and where they do business. While for workers, the idea of office-only work is becoming a relic of a bygone era.

“I want to collaborate not just when I'm in the office, but when I'm on the road,” Wiborg says.

The company plans to explain how collaboration fits into the Internet of Everything in a broader context and in more detail at this year's Cisco Live, he says.

In a world where data rests inside of everyone and everything, collaboration is poised to extend beyond person-to-person communications.


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