For professionals and executives who either work for technology companies or handle IT for their organizations, there is perhaps no event that more completely examines contemporary IT trends than Cisco Live.

The 2015 event, held June 7-11 at the San Diego Convention Center, featured panels and keynotes on a wide variety of topics and exciting innovations exhibited on the trade show floor. Several overarching trends and concepts, however, seemed to be common threads that touched almost every corner of the conference, including:

Moving From IoT to IoE

This year’s Cisco Live event featured 56 separate panels and keynotes related to the Internet of Things (IoT). The topics discussed included:

  • How data centers can support the rapid growth of connected devices using optical fiber
  • The role of the IoT in enterprise big data analytics
  • Examples of IoT use cases in the banking, industrial, utilities, oil and gas, government and manufacturing sectors

The IoT market is expanding at a breakneck pace; in fact, a recent IDC study projected that the global IoT market will be worth an astounding $1.7 trillion by 2020. But the IoT, as it was explained throughout the conference, is just the infrastructure that allows devices to be interconnected. The next step in the Internet’s evolution is the Internet of Everything (IoE), which also includes the data and application layers of the interconnected systems.

The IoE will transform our world by allowing organizations to streamline operations by automating processes and learning about their customers through advanced analytics solutions. And as we move into this new connected era, IT will be tasked with ensuring that their networks are scalable and fast enough to support thousands of new devices and applications, many of which vendors exhibited on the trade show floor.

“There is a major shift underway,” said Pankay Patel, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at Cisco during his keynote. “We came from virtualization giving us efficiency. Now it’s about acceleration and speed. So we are at an inflection point.”

Exciting New Product Upgrades Releases

Cisco announced a wealth of new solutions at the conference. The Nexus portfolio, for instance, received a number of advancements, including SDN capability and a shared programmatic approach.

The company also announced a new line of Nexus 3000 top-of-rack switches designed to help organizations future-proof their data centers for the cloud. These improvements and launches, aimed at helping organizations create faster, more flexible networks, are clearly tied to the aforementioned IoE expansion, as Cisco looks to cement itself as the leader in next-generation data centers.

A Changing of the Guard

Perhaps the most significant event of the entire conference was John Chambers’final keynote as Cisco’s CEO. Chambers began his presentation by touching on technology’s rapid development and the need for “fast IT” that will allow enterprises to become disrupters in their industries, rather than the ones being disrupted. He went on to discuss the role digitization will play in the future of business.

“Today, the question is, are we ready to run the fastest race that has ever been run?” the 20-year CEO asked the audience rhetorically. “It will be over a terrain that we have not seen before. It will be at a much faster pace and it will constantly morph as it evolves. This will become a digital world that changes our life, our health, our education and our business models at the pace that a technology company changes, not the pace of normal government or business.”

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