CISCO Live: Disruptive innovation

CAWXFVKUwAImQEaI attended the afternoon press session for CISCO Live on disruptive innovation around the Internet of Everything. There follows below the live blog I took of this session. On the panel were: Kevin Bloch (Chair), Joseph Bradley, Dr Michael Briers, Prof Steven Tingay, Prof Graeme Wright and Ros Harvey.

Joseph Bradley, VP of IoE Practive and Cisco Consulting services, notes that the value of the internet of things is not the technology but the conection between people, process, networks and things. Big data is worth nothing if it has no context, and no opportunity to make the actions of real people to change.

Bradley tells the story of how a shopper travels through a grocery store and how sensors when tied to the behaviour of people are likely to create new value.

Kevin Bloch notes Cisco’s efforts in supporting innovation incubation through partnerships with investment firms, the establishment of a hackathon series, the establishment of an Australian Innovation Centre and their investment in STEM education. He remarks on the difficulty of large tech companies to be able to support startups; this suite of initiatives is designed to address that difficulty.

Bloch notes that the three main areas of astronomy, resources (oil and liquid natural gas) and agriculture will be the foci of the Centre for Innovation. The objective of the Centre for Innovation is to grow the market for the Internet of Everything in Australia, by bringing together Cisco as a provider of infrastructure, research bodies and market players in the focus areas.

The panel introduce themselves and talk about the opportunities for working together to deploy innovative solutions.

A question from the floor is focused on whether the relationship within the Centre for Innovation is designed to prove how indstry and research partnerships can work. Tingay notes that the model is designed to ensure that research has commercial applications.

Another question is focused on what the motivation is for doing this research. Ros Harvey notes that jobs of the future will come out of these research zones. Michael Briers notes that holding talent in Australia can only happen when world leading comercial research is happening here.

In response to question about changing the foundations of research outcomes, Bradley and Bloch note that the hub-and-spoke model of information dissemination around the Centres for Innovation around the world.

A question on the issue of intellectual property receives the answer that lawyers will be kept back and then collectively they will resolve IP issues. (JJ’s comment: this seems a bit vague to me.)

A final question is focused on how the Centres for Innovation are established. Bloch notes that business cases are put forward to the executive level of Cisco who assess Centres on the basis of sustainability as well as the controbution of the research to the community and the market.

A question that I had and haven’t had time to raise is about how the Centre for Innovation will be able to reconcile the speed of academic research with the fast IT needs of business. Long term academic research is needed, but applied research needs to happen ina lean canvas, agile manner. This is normally anathema to the traditional academic institution, but will need to be resolved if the outcomes of the Centre are to be successful.  There are ways to achieve this – it’s not impossible – but it requires a layer of research that doesn’t normally reside in academia.

These are exciting times for applied research.  I do hope that the academic world will become more open to these innovative research models.  I really do wish the Centre all the very best.

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