Cisco’s chief technologist Dave Evans has left to launch a stealth startup.
This is a surprising departure because Evans worked for Cisco for 24 years, since it had less than 200 employees.
And he had, hands down, one of the best jobs in Silicon Valley.
Evans was Cisco’s “futurist” tasked with playing with the latest new gadgets and tech and hobnobbing with scientists to help predict the future of tech. He then helped Cisco align its strategy with that future. Literally, his title was Senior Director, Chief Technologist and Chief Futurist.
And his track record on identifying tech trends was excellent. He told Business Insider when we visited his lab last year, “I tend not to predict as much as I try to understand the trends.”
For instance, shortly before the first browser was released (in 1993), Evans declared that the the World Wide Web would be huge, that everyone would have a website and buy stuff online, with billions of devices connected. He predicted self-driving cars 10 years ago, virtual characters/virtual people a decade ago, intelligent artificial limbs decades before that, and 3D printing about five years ago.
Most importantly, he was the guy that helped Cisco discover the Internet of Things (IoT). Evans published papers on the topic back in 2012, before CEO John Chambers declared the IoT would become a $US14 trillion market over the next decade.
The IoT is when all kinds of objects get a computer chip and join the Internet: your car, your fridge, your medicine bottles, your light bulbs, and so on.
Cisco is working on networking and security products for the day when billions of these devices are on the internet.
Leading this market has become Cisco’s next big strategy, CEO John Chambers told attendees of its annual customer conference, Cisco Live, during his keynote speech Monday night.
Until this month, Evans also led Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions unit, the closest thing Cisco has to an internal R&D lab. IBS builds prototypes of futuristic tech for Cisco’s customers and sometimes does some consulting helping Cisco customers solve really hard technical problems.
His departure was first spotted by Cisco blogger Brad Reese via a change Evans made to his LinkedIn profile. It was confirmed to Business Insider by a Cisco spokesperson as well as a post Evans made on Facebook on Monday:
This marks the second big executive loss for Cisco for its fledgling IoT business.
Earlier this month long-time employee and general manager of Cisco’s Internet of Things unit, Guido Jouret left the company, too.
Jouret has landed as the president of a new R&D lab in Silicon Valley for China-based renewable energy company Envision Energy, the company announced ina press release on Wednesday.
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