Letter From the Editor

By: Tim Young

“Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation.”

-Rosabeth Moss Kanter

COMET InnovationLanguage is a terribly fluid thing, but from time to time it can be reassuring to check out the etymology of a word or phrase, particularly if that word has become unbelievably ubiquitous. “Innovate,” for example, pulls its weight primarily from the Latin “novare,” which means “to make new.” Not “gradually improve” or “incrementally adjust.” Innovation is a fairly drastic process of reevaluating the problem that a particular process or technology was created to solve and determining if a better, cleaner method exists for doing so.

I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction lately, which is no huge surprise for a nerd such as me, I suppose. I’ve been picking up some books that have been recommended to me for years and crossing them off my list. All have been outstanding, but it’s always interesting to see where the authors “miss” when it comes to predicting technology.

In Margaret Atwood’s brilliant and frightening Oryx and Crake, she writes of a bifurcated society of corporate compounds connected by bullet trains passing through crime-ridden “plebe-lands.” There are genetically engineered designer pets and bioluminescent flowers… but the characters watch movies on DVD. Meanwhile, in Joe Haldeman’s excellent and highly influential novel, The Forever War, characters travel on starships at nearly the speed of light and wage war in mechanized fighting suits. Their computer consoles, however, include holographic displays (fancy!) featuring illuminated dots (not so fancy) and rattling printers.

In neither case do the inclusions of these sure-to-be-obsolete technologies detract from the novels in which they occur. They are a keen reminder, however, that even the most talented and well-informed speculator simply can’t envision every innovation that will occur in the future. Innovation is driven not only by break-throughs, but also by break-downs and break-ups. It requires a willingness to reject convention and reimagine technology with the end goal in mind. Innovation can be drastic, but it is essential and it is the focus of this month’s Pipeline.

In this issue, we take a look at some of the most promising innovations in the modern communications and entertainment technology (COMET) space. We look at the future of the network and how it may look different from the network of today and check out the key to pervasive network visibility. We explore what we can learn from hackers, hear the latest on connected vehicles and the “internet of things,” and learn how SDN and NSV will surprise us all. In addition, we are very happy to bring you the results of our 2014 Innovation Awards, direct from our gala event in Nice, France.

Enjoy, and keep striving to make something new.


Tim Young


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