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During his keynote speech at the recent Interop 2013 conference in New York, Cisco CEO John Chambers talked about how technology trends are moving towards a focus on applications. Chambers said, “We’re moving from a web economy to an application economy.”

This focus could be seen in many areas of the busy but smaller (compared to the earlier spring Interop in Las Vegas) show floor. The classic big iron networking pitches of more, bigger, faster and better hardware were being replaced by claims of improved application performance, better end-user experience, and effective application delivery.

Of course, we heard many of the same pitches a year and a half ago at spring Interop 2012. One could have expected this trend to continue steadily, but the last two Interop shows took unexpected turns due to the rapid growth of, and interest in, Software Defined Networks.

SDN hasn’t gone away, in fact, it was very prevalent at the New York Interop this October. But the push to application focus is back, and in some ways aided by the rise of SDN.

For the most part, it was good to hear Chambers and Cisco talk about the importance of applications. The more big vendors are focused on helping organizations build, deliver and manage high-performing services and applications, the more likely it will be that we’ll see improved application capabilities across the board.

Among some of the other trends in focus at Interop 2012 was the Internet of things or Machine to Machine, looking at the challenges and opportunities that arise when everything, computers to printers to vending machines to you name it, has an IP address and connects to networks. There was also more than a bit of discussion about reigning in the impact of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). In this area, it was refreshing to see more vendors talk about better ways that networks can identify, connect and manage BYOD devices in a light and seamless manner without requiring heavy clients or other old school mobile device management solutions.

For more on SDN, read and download SDN: Do Believe the Hype and for more IT trends and research, explore Aberdeen’s Information Technology page.

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