Wim Elfrink straddles two roles at Cisco - head of the services division and chief globalisation officer - and reports directly to chairman John Chambers.
Elfrink also heads up the company's Smart + Connected Communities Initiative, which is looking to reengineer city design from the ground up.
Computer networks are built into the infrastructure to make cities more efficient and attractive to residents, as well as increasing the value of the buildings and the range of available services.
The current city system is unsupportable, according to Elfrink, not least because of fears over global warming and rising power costs.
Computer networks linked with IP sensors and devices can be used with monitoring and control systems to make cities more efficient, economically productive and greener, he believes.
Fresh from the G20 summit in South Korea, Elfrink is in San Francisco to talk about the future of the network and the internet at the Web 2.0 Summit. V3.co.uk caught up with him for a discussion before he took to the stage.
What is the main topic you'll be covering at the show?
I'm here to talk about the 'internet of things' that is going to expand the whole reach of the Web 2.0 internet landscape. From a technology point of view we see this as the next big thing.
The 'internet of things' comes from all these new devices that are going to be connected, and with it you'll see the industrialisation of the internet.
So far it's mostly computers that are connected online, but new devices are becoming IP enabled. Sensors, cars, all kinds of things in buildings will come online and this will, in Cisco's view, be the start of a completely new industry.
The first thought that springs to mind is that we'll need some fairly
major changes in the move to IPv6 for that to happen.
We do need acceleration of IPv6 to deal with this. We estimate that the average amount of IP addresses each person has today is around three or four, but we estimate this will rise to around 150 within the next decade.
The average enterprise will have around five or six networks running, and we can collapse them into one and have all the utilities provided by one infrastructure. On top of that, you will get the creation of new services.
Cities have to be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. We strongly believe in that balance. You can live in a city that's the greenest in the world, but if you have no job it's not that relevant. The three things have to be in balance, and this is what the 'internet of things' will enable.
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