Cisco: Tech Trends for 2020 and Beyond


The Budapest Business Journal talks with Cisco Hungary general manager Ottó Dalos about the tech trends that will define the upcoming decade.

Ottó Dalos, general manager, Cisco Hungary.

“What a decade this has been: From global adoption of smartphones, to the penetration of AI into our businesses and homes, and the now-total ubiquity of cloud usage, apps, and social media, it’s easy to forget how much has changed in the last 10 years,” Dalos says of the rapid technological advancement of the 2010s.

Regarding predictions for the upcoming period, he notes that Cisco likes to take the “long view”, meaning that many of the company’s predictions from last year, such as expansion in mobile connectivity and continued development in the use of AI/ML, will stay relevant in the upcoming years.

“Digital transformation is taxing today’s internet infrastructure to its breaking point, and we’re about to hit an innovation barrier. We need to develop an internet for the future,” he argues, adding that there will be some 49 billion devices connected to the internet by 2023. Among the technologies likely to become the most important in the 2020s, he mentions virtual and augmented reality, 16K streaming, AI, 5G, quantum computing, adaptive and predictive cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles and intelligent IOT.

Dalos says that networks have never been more important to businesses, playing a critical role in re-imagining applications, securing data, transforming infrastructure and empowering teams.

“Cisco has recently announced its plan for building the internet for the next decade of digital innovation. The core of this ‘Internet for the Future’ technology strategy is based on development investments in silicon, optics, and software that will allow us to meet this future head-on,” he explains.

Citing the findings of the App Attention Index from AppDynamics, a company that is part of Cisco, Dalos believes that the use of digital services has evolved to become an unconscious human behavior, a “digital reflex”. According to the index, some 71% of respondents admit that digital services are intrinsic to their daily lives. 

“The research shows that people will quickly turn their back on brands whose apps do not offer a premium experience,” the expert argues. Indeed, the research found that a significant number of consumers will turn to the competition (49%) or actively discourage others from using a service or brand (63%), in the case of performance issues.

Pay Attention

“In 2020 and beyond, businesses need to pay attention to consumers’ zero-tolerance for anything other than an easy, fast and exceptional digital experience. This will make the ability to analyze data on application performance in real-time of critical importance, to find bottlenecks and enable immediate action,” Dalos says.

Regarding cybersecurity, he argues that reactive security, largely addressing problems only as they begin impacting systems, is not enough anymore. The key term for the 2020s is “zero trust”.

“The original ‘zero trust’ model was developed by Forrester. It is based on the principle that organizations do not trust anything inside or outside their network perimeter. Access is only granted to authorized users, devices and workloads after establishing trust and preventing threats, all without a decline in the user experience. This approach may become almost ubiquitous in the coming years,” the general manager predicts.

Threat hunting is also set to play a larger role in holistic security positions. This goes beyond known dangers, and analyzes the unknown. The goal of the method is discovering new, unknown vulnerabilities and malware. This regular search for danger reduces the number of potential attack vectors.

“Experts at Cisco Talos have created an e-book, ‘Hunting for Hidden Threats’, that outlines how threat hunting pays off, who needs to participate, and what, where and when to look for. In addition, it compares this approach with other security methodologies,” he adds.

Step on the Way

Software-defined Networks (SDN) are often referred to as an important next phase of network evolution. While they bring many advantages, such as centralized management and security, flexibility and reduced operating costs, Cisco says it is thinking even beyond this technology.

“At Cisco, we don’t see SDN as an end-stage, rather an important step in the necessary journey of networking infrastructures towards true Intent-based Networking (IBN). These systems use AI and machine learning to anticipate actions, detect and resolve anomalies automatically, stop security threats in their tracks, and in the meantime they continue to evolve and learn,” he says.

According to the Cisco Global Networking Trends report, some 41% of the more than 2,000 surveyed IT leaders and network strategists have SDN in at least one of their domains. Yet, a mere 4% believes that their networks are truly intent-based at the moment. About 78% stated that they believe their networks will move towards service-driven and intent-based networks in the next two years. Some 35% believe their networks will be fully intent-based within the same period.

In another global Cisco survey of 600 IT and business decision makers, 93% claim to have a talent gap so serious that it slows their business’ transformation.

“The lack of IT experts is also very prominent in Hungary. At the same time, the types of roles that are most in demand are changing as well,” the general manager says. “It should be no surprise that roles related to growth areas, such as data science and AI, continue to be in increasingly high demand. To meet the needs of today’s businesses, IT needs to change from ‘order takers’ to strategic business partners. That means changing the day-to-day roles of IT workers from configuring devices to solving business problems with technology.”

How will this need be met in the future? Dalos says, “Companies that were successful in their business transformation efforts showed a general preference for retraining IT [staff] for business skills, over hiring or outsourcing, thus preserving knowledge of the organization, its culture, and its values.”

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