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The Future of Disruption -- 3 Industries Set for Massive Change

By Eric Bleeker – Jun 9, 2014 at 4:30AM

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The Internet of Things promises to shake up several entrenched industries. Cisco's GM of Internet of Things sales describes some industries set for major change in the coming years.

In the video below, Motley Fool analyst Eric Bleeker talks with Chris White, a general manager of Internet of Things sales at Cisco (CSCO -0.53%)

With potentially trillions of dollars' worth of economic impact in coming years, the Internet of Things promises to shake up several entrenched industries. White has an interesting vantage point into which industries are embracing change the most and will see the largest impacts to their business as the Internet of Things spreads in coming years. He specifically cites the public sector, utilities, and manufacturing as the three industries that will see massive changes to how they operate in the years ahead. 

A transcript follows the video. 

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Eric Bleeker: Going back a little more high level, if you had to pick one industry you think is going to see the most change in the next three years, what would it be? And as a follow up, first I want to do three years but then 10, because I think there's a near-term opportunity in companies ready to address it, and then there's a longer-term opportunity.

Sorry, if I said "companies," I mean industries -- I don't want to go that granular. What are some places that you go, "three and 10 years away, people are going to be amazed how much this industry has changed"?

Chris White: Boy, that's a great question. I think part of it, though, is, an interesting filter you have to even put on the question is, we're seeing engagement across multiple industries. One of the filters you have to put on it, though, is how fast can those industries themselves move?

If you're building new power plants, not exactly a three-month window to put up a new power plant, but the power industry is going through a massive transformation with smart metering, substation automation, figuring out how to get renewable energies on the grid -- so that market is already moving, but by the nature of the market, it is a three to 10-year transition.

I think we're going to be pleasantly surprised in the retail market, because there's so much disruption in retail, because of the Amazon effect, the Internet effect, how globally competitive it is. Despite what some people look at as maybe a nontechnology industry, I think retail is going to move pretty fast.

The public sector dynamic is absolutely catching us by surprise, in a good way. Public sector has had a very ... yes, they've embraced connectivity, but they haven't exactly been bleeding-edge innovators when it comes to the new use cases or new rollouts. It's typically been the financial services verticals, or some other little faster technology places. Public sector seems to be moving pretty dramatically.

Then I think the other vertical is in the manufacturing areas, because if you read any of the headlines, there is a global war for talent and economic benefit to your country and your city. Therefore, the investment you can make to make your manufacturing world more globally competitive ...

I'm sure you've read some of the articles around; even China is looking at automating their manufacturing world, because German manufacturing is more efficient; it's just that the labor pool in China over the last decade has been unbelievably more competitive.

As the cost of labor rises in China, does China start losing its competitive edge against Germany, and therefore we're seeing places like China look at robotic technology, IP technology, to revolutionize and stay globally competitive?

It's a great question. We're picking at the moment short-term, public sector, manufacturing, utilities -- oil and gas are probably the big ones -- and then specifically in certain use cases in places like retail and health care, where some of these solutions really make a difference.

Bleeker: Great.

Eric Bleeker, CFA owns shares of Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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