Does the Internet have the potential to affect our lives in ways that most of us cannot even imagine? According to Marc Benioff — founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce — it does. Benioff gave the keynote address at Dreamforce 15 last week in San Francisco.
Salesforce, whose customer platform has become perhaps the world’s leading enterprise Cloud ecosystem, is intimately involved with UCSF Benioff’s Children’s Hospital. So Benioff himself naturally sees “amazing advances in medicine” among the coming life-altering impacts of technology. “Genomics, proteomics, the ability to use information sciences, advancements in imaging,” he said, “can all come together in a smarter, more incredible way to provide precision medicine, with which we can actually deliver a targeted molecular therapy or a targeted treatment or a targeted plan to ultimately increase survival rates.”
But that’s just one small part of the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) in tomorrow’s world. As Kerry Agiasotis, senior vice president and president of Business Solutions for Western Union, said: “What you thought was true yesterday no longer is.”
Thus began the speculation.
“Maybe we’ll end up seeing precision enterprises, organizations that take that one-to-one concept and apply it to customers, too,” Benioff observed. “We’re talking about major advances in technology, things that are going on at rates never before possible. You move from thousands of computers in the mainframe age to millions of clients to billions of connected things to trillions of customer interactions — things happening across this Internet of Things and all these devices.”
Tomorrow’s technology involves “revolutions” in the way we use the IoT, Cloud, mobile social spheres. “It’s a whole new style of working and engagement,” Benioff observed. “The data-science that includes predictive analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence — 90 percent of the world’s data created in the last 12 months.”
When given the microphone during the keynote, John W. Thompson, chairman of Microsoft, echoed some of Benioff’s points:
“With each inflection point, more and more users and more services are available. As we make the transition to the IoT-based Cloud, more data and the opportunity for more services will become even more available.”
Thompson stressed that analytics can address everything going on in everyone’s life. “We couldn’t have imagined that before the availability of mobile devices in so many people’s hands and the availability of Cloud services in the world,” he said.
Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco, noted that there are 15 billion devices connected today, but studies estimate there will be 50 billion by 2020 and then 500 billion in the near future.
“I have never seen things move as rapidly as they do today,” he said. “Technology has taken such a prevalent role that every customer is now trying to figure out how [it] fundamentally redefines their overall business strategy. It’s about the people, it’s about the process, it’s about connecting new things to the Internet.”
Robbins believes that everyday dynamics — the rapidly shifting geopolitical landscape, the rapidly shifting global economy — create not only an opportunity but an obligation for organizations to truly help their customers, and that’s going to require a very intelligent network and a higher level of security.
“The data itself is not valuable,” Robbins observed, “it’s the insight that you can gain. We will be able to take analytics out of the network, correlate it and provide richer insights for customers. We really can tackle the world’s biggest problems.”
Ninety-five percent of the companies in the world will have an IoT project by 2017. David Ward, a software/Internet architect at Cisco, noted: “What’s really interesting is that we’re seeing greater growth of the use of the Internet than we did in the late 1990s and early 2000s. What this means is continuing to bring bandwidth across the entire planet is key. The future is the software layers. The future is in Cloud platforms.”
You talk about a game-changer? Listen to Microsoft’s Thompson one more time: “The real opportunity is to change the lives of everyone on the planet, and that’s because we will make the ubiquity of computing available to everyone through mobile devices and Cloud-based services. That will change the wealth of this planet and that will change the opportunity for everyone to participate in the future.”
View the entire keynote online at: https://youtu.be/fAChUEBlnrM?list=PLnobS_RgN7Ja7O6Z2tg6DdysWb7O97skk