Much of Cisco's development focus (not to mention its marketing) preaches that the so-called "zettaflood" will require vastly improved networks to move more data, and not drop the ball (or the packets) of our beloved video.
No. 3: Wisdom of the cloud
Much of the zettaflood of data will be stored in the cloud. Certainly, most of it is being accessed by the cloud, rather than only on private networks. By 2020, one-third of all data will live in or pass through the cloud, Cisco predicts. Global cloud services revenue will jump 20 percent per year, and IT spending on innovation and cloud computing could top $1 trillion by 2014. That's enough to create the next Google. "Already, the cloud is powerful enough to help us communicate through real-time language translation, increase our knowledge from access to powerful supercomputers such as Wolfram Alpha, and improve our health using computing platforms like IBM's Watson in new ways," says Evans. "We're able to communicate in much richer ways."
In addition to video, the computing power of the cloud delivered to endpoint devices changes our ability to communicate with things like real-time translation. Right now, the voice search on an Android phone sends the query to the Google cloud to decipher and return results. "We'll see more intelligence built into communication. Things like contextual and location-based information."
With an always-connected device, the network can be more granular with presence information, tapping into a personal sensor to know that a person's asleep, and route an incoming call to voicemail. Or knowing that person is traveling at 60 mph in a car, and that this is not the time for a video call. (Of course, by then, we'll probably all be using driverless Google cars, and be free to chat while our cars drive us around.)
No. 4: The next 'Net
Evans talks about his home as an example of the speed of network improvements. Network performance has increased by 170,000 times since 1990, when he had just one telnet connection.
Today, Evans has 38 always-on connections and more than 50Mbps of bandwidth, enough for telepresence, streaming movies and online games at the same time. Over the next 10 years, Evans expects the speed to his home to increase by 3 million times.
While most of the industry is focused on 40G and 100G, whole new forms of networks are also being created. Vint Cerf discusses the new protocols needed to build an interplanetary network, which can send data vast distances without being disturbed by latency. Evans notes that multiterabit networks using lasers are being explored. And early work is happening on a concept called "quantum networking," based on quantum physics. This involves "quantum entanglement" in which two particles are entangled after which they can be separated by any distance, and when one is changed, the other is also instantly changed. Production quantum networks are likely decades in the future.
No. 5: The world gets smaller
With always-on connectivity, social networking has the power to change cultures, as we saw with the Egyptian Revolution, which led to the Arab Spring. Social influences will continue to move rapidly between cultures.