Digital enablement in the 4th Industrial Revolution


Author: Rob Price, Channel CTO at Cisco | 05/11/2019

Our guest blogger today is Rob Price, Channel CTO at Cisco. Rob is a professional communications engineer and member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET) with 18 years for Cisco under his belt. With a background in Military Communications, Rob built prototypes always with security high on his agenda.


As we live through the so called fourth industrial revolution, digitally enabling our customers has never been more important. We’re constantly bombarded by new technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and advanced robotics, but what does it all mean?

Firstly, there is no simple definition of digitisation. One customer’s digital journey may differ radically from another’s. There are, however, some common trends. Firstly, hyper-connectivity. We are seeing more and more “things” connecting to our networks in absolutely vast numbers. Not only that, but the things that are connecting are no longer just smartphones, laptops and servers. We are now connecting cars, coffee machines and pretty much everything else. Technologies like 5G and WiFi6 amongst others are providing the necessary capacity to support this hyper-connected world in which we now live.

One inevitable consequence of connecting literally billions of things to our networks is that we are generating data at unprecedented rates. Helping our customers to acquire, analyse and, most importantly, monetise this data has to be a priority going forward.

So, what is Cisco doing to address these challenges?

Cisco’s strategy is based around four key pillars.

1)     Reimagine your applications
For an increasing number of our customers, the application IS the business. Helping our customers to develop fast, deploy anywhere and instrument continuously their applications is, therefore, a high priority.

2)     Secure your data
We are living in a world where cyber-crime is an every-day occurrence. As stated above, our customer’s data is increasingly valuable, and so, helping them to protect that data must also be a top priority.

3)     Transform your infrastructure
There is no getting away from the fact that IT infrastructures have continually increased in complexity for a very long time. It is estimated that many IT departments spend as much as 75% of their budget on simply “keeping the lights on”. IT departments are invariably seen as a cost centre within their own organisations, and the demands placed on staff and budgets, due to the complexity of their environments precludes IT driving innovation. If we accept the absolute priority to help our customers digitise, then clearly this cannot continue. Software defined technologies offer a solution to this problem. Whilst the underlying complexity still exists, we can now “hide” it under a software overlay, allowing us to dramatically simplify day to day operational tasks. This will in turn free up time and budget, allowing IT to concentrate on delivering the digitisation that their business will need to survive.

4)     Empower your teams
The phrase “work is something you do, NOT, somewhere you go”, has never been more relevant. Technology allows us to access our data and applications, and to interact with colleagues like never before. This increases the flexibility of our workforce, and improves productivity.


Rob will be a guest speaker at our Future of Networking event at the Hilton Double Tree in Leeds on 3rd December 2019. See the agenda and free registration link here.

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