Cisco Leads The Charge In The Application Economy

It's hard to believe that mobile devices while a couple of decades in the making didn't achieve mass adoption until Apple launched their first iPhone in 2007. With it's customer-pleasing multi-touch interface and application distribution platforms, a number of competing mobile operating systems joined the fray quickly to meet the burgeoning demand.

Smarphones, tablet computers and other hand-held devices ushered in tech advancement focused on communication and data collection that could be received and delivered on-the-go and in real-time.

App Happening

A mobile app, short for mobile application, or just app is the software designed by developers to run on these devices. Originally created for general productivity and as a information conduit, the earliest applications provided email, calendars, contact address books, stock market listings and weather updates. However, public demand prompted enhance developmental of apps to branch out into other such categories as mobile games, factory automation, GPS and location-based services, banking and social networks - just to name a few.

From Zero to Zillions

In 2007, there were virtually no mobile applications in existence. By 2011, more than 25 billion apps have been downloaded, and by 2017, it's predicted that downloads will scale exponentially to an astronomical level of 268 trillion. On the hardware side, by next year the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on the planet.

App-happy Market

The 'Application Economy' refers to the range of economic commercial activity tied to mobile app transactions. This technology created lucrative opportunities for entrepreneurs in a marketplace that was fast becoming monetized by the sale of apps, advertising revenues and/or the PR generated by free apps, in addition to the revenues accrued from the hardware required for these apps to interface.

Business models shifted as a result, where apps on a mobile device were preferred to the Web. As a result, websites, which garnered most of their revenue through online advertising had to rethink how the popularity of apps reflected negatively on their top and bottom lines - and how they would have to adjust their product and service offerings accordingly.

The Cisco Kid

Cisco, the world's largest maker of data networking gear is leading the charge in the Application Economy, but in so doing brings to light the importance of the symbiotic relationship between software and hardware.

CEO John Chambers who's been at the company's helm for the last 19 years announced at the Interop NY conference last October that the future of networking isn't just about connecting devices, but also about the applications that run on the network. "'We're moving from a web economy to an application economy," Chambers said.

However, even though Chambers sees applications as the key to the future of networking, he also sees the importance of hardware. "Software by itself will not get the job done," Chambers said. "As we all know, it will be a combination of compute, storage and applications."

The infrastructure Chambers envisions for his company will include custom silicon and application-specific integrated circuitry (ASICs) currently in development at Cisco. According to Chambers, as this process involves more than individual switches and routers, Cisco's network enterprise will use these additional elements to create a more agile infrastructure.

Internet of Everything

Cisco Cloud Systems reflects Chambers' ardent conviction that Cisco will be an instrumental player in the coming of the "Internet of Everything," now with its own acronym, IoE.

Essentially a new model for IT, Cisco's launch of FastIT will adapt to the ever-evolving world of the IoE, or the coming together of people, process, data and things to make connections more more flexible, secure and nimble.

Differing from the Internet of Things (IoT), Cisco's IoE is more inclusive. As the evolution of the Internet suggests, IoE is comprised of four pillars: people, process, data, and things. This essentially builds on top of IoT (one pillar: things). In addition, IoE further advances the power of the Internet to improve business and industry outcomes, by not only connecting to objects but more importantly to the smart networks that are required to support all the data these objects generate and transmit (i.e. software and hardware working in concert)

Can't see the Network for the Apps

We can now say we all truly live in an Applications Economy now. Every industry is becoming an application-centric sector and the business model shift is only accelerating. However, with the influx - one might ask - how do CIOs and business leaders separate the wheat from the chaff? With a proliferation of software applications flooding the network, it's becoming an all-encompassing task to select those that have shelf-life versus the those which in short order have outlived their usefulness.

What's needed in the next generation of IT is a model that moves faster, is more secure and brings simplicity and agility to the forefront. Cisco's new approach is transformational as it's going to reduce the time -- it takes to provision, transition and remove unnecessary applications -- from months to minutes. And as far as how long it will take Cisco to beat their competition to market, Chambers stated affirmatively: "This is not a three-to-five year proof of concept," but instead his company's innovations are imminent.