“Mobile is now most people’s window into the online world and while parts of the economy is now much more engaged than previously in a mobile sense, every organisation that is spending money on networking now has a mobile component to it.
“But it wasn’t always this way.”
Why so positive?
For Lawrie, businesses across New Zealand, and the wider markets, are investing in networking capability, not mobile, with strong growth also forecast around data centre capacity.
With 33 years of experience across the Asia-Pacific tech industry, 24 of those in General Manager or Managing Director positions, it’s by no means over-reaching for Lawrie to comment on local or global trends, such is his pedigree within the market.
But in taking a macro view of the market, Lawrie accepts it’s hard to think of a time when things “have been so positive, yet uncertain” for the industry.
“The reason why it’s so positive is because at the macro level the world is rushing to be connected,” he explains.
“Commercially speaking, organisations are starting to understand that connecting up a supply chain and experimenting with the Internet of Everything, alongside investing in collaboration tools, is one of the great ways to drive productivity.
“Delving deeper, government’s at a political level are beginning to realise that having an economy that is connected, and a group of citizens that is connected, is actually a great way to go.”
Politically, Lawrie believes connectivity is going to accelerate further, to a factor of tenfold in terms of pace and progress compared to the early years of the internet during the mid-1990s.
“We are becoming incredibly connected which is nirvana for a networking vendor such as Cisco, and helps directly play into the hands of the New Zealand business,” he adds.
Citing the “turning of a corner” in terms of Ultra-Fast Broadband adoption, Lawrie believes the increased awareness and general understanding of what UFB can achieve both socially and commercially is helping drive connectivity across New Zealand.
“Last year was interesting for Cisco in New Zealand,” Lawrie recalls. “We witnessed the entire Kiwi tech industry take a step up in terms of maturity, led by the successful listings of Orion Health, Xero and EROAD meaning suddenly the sector is highly regarded.
“It’s an incredibly positive time to be operating within the New Zealand market and another factor driving positivity is the Internet of Everything.
“Admittedly it can be difficult to comprehend because it happens on so many different levels under so many different guises, but the general notion underpins connecting people and driving new value which is gaining significant traction.
“While we didn’t always call it the Internet of Everything, Cisco are pioneers of this concept, the idea that you can create value by connecting devices. Two years ago we found it difficult to assemble an audience around this kind of topic but today, it’s almost impossible to not talk about it.”
The trigger? A sudden realisation of the scale and the potential enormity of pursuing this as a business model. “Almost like the penny dropping,” Lawrie summarises.
“And this is also happening at a micro level, and combined with the drive to be connected it generates an entirely new horizon for the industry around the Internet of Everything,” he adds.