Inflection Points is back! We’re about to dive into a deep look at the tech that’s about to change our lives over the next five to fifty years. We’re going to talk about robots and drones and avatars and VR and … wait a second … aren’t we a networking company? Aren’t we here to talk about IT networks?
Well, we are. Because the tech that’s changing the most rapidly and changing our lives almost always requires enterprise networking.
This doesn’t get discussed quite enough. There’s an interesting gap in worldwide enterprise networks that everyone in the industry deals with: Typically, the person who manages the backend systems isn’t necessarily the person who uses the services that the network provides. For example, you go to a coffee shop and get the Wi-Fi password and a coffee – you bought the coffee, and it’s yours, but it was the chain of wired and wireless network infrastructure that provided you the Wi-Fi. This is a common approach at your workplace or at your school. You buy the smartphone, but the phone company operates the cellular 5G network. An Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides the fiber to the commercial business. The commercial business maintains a cloud-managed switched network and Wi-Fi for access. And so on.
That means all sorts of people have ideas and intentions on how to use networks in the years ahead, and not just to sell you more coffee or cellphone plans.
Global networking companies like Extreme need to prepare for what all those businesses and entrepreneurs need to ensure the proper building blocks are available for any application. If you’re going to have access to the rest of the world through a network – and build your business on top of that principle -- first, the network must work.
That means the need for networks is only increasing. The pandemic has changed the world forever, and many, many, many people are trying to figure out exactly how and what to do about it.
Well, we have an idea. We have a theory at Extreme called the Infinite Enterprise.
Essentially, the idea is this: Our world is becoming increasingly infinitely distributed as people move away from centers – our communities, cities, and towns. That means companies must, in turn, work at scale in order to connect with them. And to get people to connect back, companies must become consumer-centric and deliver what people want.
Our first season of Inflection Points was spent examining the Infinite Enterprise concept, discussing it, testing it, and seeing if the ideology held truth. We applied it to sectors such as retail and healthcare, looked at the rise of esports gaming through the lens of the Infinite Enterprise. We assessed how the workplace has changed and will continue to change. We learned a lot.
For the most part, we learned that the theory hung together. And that’s why we are proud to bring you season two of the Inflection Points podcast!
This season we wanted to take it a step further. We know our idea isn’t the only one out there. Others have big thoughts on what the future holds. Many of those people are also building the consumer-centric technology that will thrive best on scalable and infinitely distributed networking solutions.
We wanted to go talk to them. They have thoughts too.
Do they ever! You’ve heard about the Metaverse, no doubt by now. Lost in most of the chatter is the required networking platforms where the Metaverse lives. And our gap shows up: Most of the people who end up working in the Metaverse, won’t be the ones who built it, in the same way you didn’t build your company’s office building either.
But the development of one side of the networking relationship affects the other. That’s why we wanted to take a deeper dive on season two of Inflection Points. What are the over-arching ideas guiding the development of new technologies we discuss? What world do the leaders in those sectors see for our future? Does the future they envision line up with the Infinite Enterprise or challenge it? Are tech entrepreneurs building solutions because they see specific problems in our world that only network-based technology can solve?
What a path we have been on putting season two together. We’ve talked to avatars and virtual reality (VR) experts, leaders in robots and drones, cloud-based networking gurus, application developers, and visionaries of biometrics. Will we someday have a personal avatar the same way we have an email address and phone number? When will we use our eyeballs to open locked doors instead of keys or punching in passwords? How will retail outlets solve the problem of selling clothes when people can’t try them on? Most importantly, when will host Carla Guzzetti get the boots she bought online delivered by a drone and dropped into her outstretched hands?
So many questions! I can promise you that there will be answers. There will be lively discussions, as always, from Inflection Points host Carla and co-host Tim Harrison, both senior leaders at Extreme. This season offers CEOs, entrepreneurs, experts on the front lines, all with exciting news to report.
It’s a fun season. We learned a lot – again! Our first guest is Victor Riparbelli, CEO of Synthesia, who is in the avatar business. Tune in, and you’ll see that’s only a sliver of the world of network-based tech he wants to build for people.
I hope you will tune in, every second Wednesday, wherever you get your podcasts.