The Internet, without a doubt. The Internet has literally changed the way we work, live, play, and learn - not a day goes by that its impact isn't felt somewhere in the world, whether it's at a school in Jordan, an occupational rehab center in the Bronx, or right in your very own home office. For example, music students at the Cleveland Institute of Music can watch their teacher play the viola, seeing up close how his bow strings make contact with the instrument - an intimate detail not likely visible even from the first few rows of a concert hall. Yet the students are not even in the same room as their teacher. He is almost a continent away, in Austria, where he is the principal violist with the Vienna Philharmonic. They watch him online.

The Internet will revolutionize the way businesses are run, drive productivity for companies and countries worldwide, and increase the standard of living, leveling the playing field on a global basis. It has already started to change education in a very positive way. The Cisco Networking Academy Program is a great example as it's at the forefront of this transformation. By combining the Internet and education, the Academy provides students around the world with the technology skills essential in a global economy. Two years ago, we established the first Academy in Afghanistan, where 105 students, 38 of whom are female, are learning the technology skills necessary for success in the 21st century. We have approximately 10,000 participating Networking Academies in 156 countries worldwide with a student enrollment of approximately 436,000.

What technology has evolved in a way that surprised you?
Again, I think it relates to broadband access and how inconsistent the build-outs are around the world. The United States, for example, the country that originally led the world in broadband deployment, has fallen dramatically behind. Areas such as Japan, Korea, China, the U.K., Germany, are moving much faster than we are with nationally sponsored broadband programs and initiatives.