Networking Innovation?

Been researching an article for CW’s very own Cliff Saran while, by chance, also speaking with a number of IT investors – the research being on networking innovations; oh and, by another chance, also judging an awards event, networking category and also visited a Cambridge Wireless innovations awards event…

That’s a lot of potential networking innovations to witness; except, networking ain’t what it used to be – much of the new development is WRT to tangential elements to networking, rather than at the heart of it all. Does this mean that networking is essentially done and dusted? That it all just… works?
Obviously a lot of the focus is on “the cloud” (everyone looks up to the sky for some reason when you say that) and end-to-end optimisation, especially at the NAS/storage end, which is fine, but not much else to report on that’s genuinely new and genuinely “networking”.
That said, a few things are being properly reinvented:
1. Network Management – to cope with cloudy, hybrid networks.
2. User Interfaces – finally getting less “IT and more “human being” – examples I’ve tested recently here include jetNEXUS Load-Balancing/ADC – once a mega-techie product area and now simplified to such an extent that we’re going to ask my mum to configure the next test (you think I’m kidding?) – and also WRT Sunrise Software’s Sostenuto ITSM platform – now truly “admin person friendly” and with whacko new features (at least by “Helpdesk” software standards) such as gamification (both reports are on the broadband-testing, website so check ’em out).
3. WiFi – well, not so much re-invented but now with real scalability – this stuff really does work, even if hotels still try to prove the complete opposite…
And, of course, we have the latest set of “router” replacement technologies, but now we’re talking optical tech, not exactly branch-office stuff…
And, finally, why ARE investors currently so obsessed with “Apps”? I mean, for every one that makes zillions…