November Meeting with Donald McLaughlin, Cisco Systems

November Lunch Meeting

GTG Training Centre, South Street, Glasgow

Tuesday 19th November

85 club members and their guests heard it first at the Glasgow Business Club: by 2016 expect 90% of internet traffic to be video. This was one of the nuggets of information provided by Donald McLaughlin head of Cisco Systems, Scotland who was guest speaker on Tuesday 19 November 2013.

A graduate in Mathematics and Statistics from Glasgow University, he rattled off a great deal of fascinating facts including what a zettabyte is: a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix zetta indicates the seventh power of 1000 and means 1021.

‘We are not even 1% on way to using the internet,’ he forecast. This was illustrated by some slick videos showing cities like New York with the invisible networks around the buildings and connecting with each other like ghostly intermeshing ‘halos’ and then envisaged around the globe.

‘It is already making a difference,’ he said. ‘Trees with IT around them talk to scientists who can keep a close eye on climate change. And imagine what could be done if food packs had a sensor the size of a grain of salt to change the item’s colour when it was past the sell by date?’ He instanced traffic lights changing to accommodate the flow of traffic and weather conditions and fuel parks where the driver didn’t pay in the way we do now, because all the details would be transferred silently and speedily from the microchip to the company.

A production line which had stopped working could be videoed and sent to the manufacturer in China who’d analyse it and send the replacement part which would be printed out in 3D at the factory end. This 3D part would replace the faulty component very quickly. ‘In America, already, there are 3D guns which can shoot,’ he told almost 100 members at the lunch in GTG Training Centre in South Street.

‘I’m a proud Scot and believe Scots invented everything,’ he said. ‘So just imagine the innovative use of the internet if we applied that thinking to solving crimes, improving health care or anything else. It is an important message, especially in a low growth economy: there are unprecedented opportunities if we harness people, processes and data and technology.’

He was thanked by President Norman Ferguson who has known Donald since they were undergraduates together last century.

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