The Internet of Everything: Hispanics Lead the Charge


Story By: Chriss Swaney


Turn it on: a lamp, a television, a car, a thermostat. Actions at the end of a finger – multiplied by millions of fingers – and connected to the Internet.

Guillermo Diaz Jr. speaks about the Internet of Everything and how it revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication: it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors.

“It’s mobile, its virtual, its instantaneous and it’s going to change our culture and make everything in our lives from streetlights to seaports smart,’’ according to Diaz, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Cisco. And Diaz is quick to point out that it was Cisco that developed the concept of the Internet of Everything: the intelligent connection of people, process, data and things.

Diaz, who joined Cisco in 2000, is responsible for leading the company’s global information technology organization and services.

“The focus is on transforming the overall IT experience by strengthening foundational business capabilities,’’ said Diaz.

Driven by faster Internet connections, ubiquitous smartphones and changing consumer demands, more businesses are now embracing the need to be more familiar with cloud-based applications.

“The real value that the internet of things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it. All the information gathered by all the sensors in the world isn’t worth much if there isn’t an infrastructure in place to analyze it in real time, ‘’ Diaz said.

He stressed that cloud-based applications are the key to using leveraged data. The internet of things doesn’t function without cloud-based applications to interpret and transmit the data coming from all sensors.

“The cloud is what enables the apps to go to work for you anywhere, anytime,’’ said Diaz.

And Diaz knows this first-hand. He talked about how his mother survived cancer after having an operation conducted by robots powered via information technology.

He talked about how today’s children are digital mavens, naturally trained to access information at Internet speeds never dreamed of before. He also spoke about how the internet of things is going to give us more things by 2020.

But Diaz, who has been a major driver of the development of Cisco, cautions that securing information remains a critical challenge.

“Companies want to go fast but they also must be compliant, ‘’ Diaz said. “Today’s businesses need to understand the skills essential in securing information and that includes being agile, understanding how to use data analytics and being savvy about cloud technology.”

His admonitions about security are supported by a recent study done by the National Association of Corporate Directors who surveyed its members and found that only 14 percent felt their boards had a high level of understanding regarding cybersecurity risks.

“Everyone should have knowledge of the kinds of risks that exist and the seriousness of the risk that is dynamic,’’ said Diaz.

The growing list of high-profile cybersecurity breaches include the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, where hackers accessed information on as many as 25 million federal workers, and the U.S. political system now under siege by investigations into Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential elections.

Diaz said that when he conducted a survey of clients, they all pointed to cultural changes resulting from the on-going need to learn how to cope and manage in this new wired world.

This cultural shift also ushers in a new opportunity and call for diversity in corporations and businesses globally. Diaz has answered that clarion call as the primary leader of the Cisco Diversity Council and the executive sponsor of Conexion, Cisco’s Hispanic/Latino employee resource network.

The diversity council is tapping into growing Latino participation in the U.S. economy. In 2015, U.S. Hispanics con-trolled $1.3 trillion in buying power – equal to the GDP of Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala combined, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Latinos rep-resent nearly 15 percent of the country’s workforce – a workforce forever changed by the Internet.