I am fortunate to be in San Diego for the annual Cisco Live 2012 customer / partner conference. The weather in San Diego is pleasant but somewhat dull, quite the opposite to the Cisco Live event. We may be in austere times but that seems to be absent within the San Diego convention centre with circa 17000 attendees and over 120000 interacting with the event via online means. There are product and solutions breakouts that cover the full IT spectrum and the use of standard Cisco (formerly Tandberg) Telepresence cameras to record the circa 200 sessions for future playback is a clever touch and validation of a real world use case.
The John Chambers keynote was as inspiring as ever. If you have never witnessed a Chambers presentation live, it’s impressive how he wanders between the stage and floor and presents for over an hour without an abundance of cue cards or prompting devices (check the online recordings). He covered the last year for Cisco which many had deemed Cisco’s “Annus horribilis” but with the results painting a different picture from the external view of many. Yes, Cisco faced challenges but with market leading sales performances, streamlining or internal operations, relentless focus on the “customer” and the now legendary Cisco drive to capitalise on “market transitions”, a stronger Cisco has emerged.
Does this mean Cisco will have things their own way again and totally dictate the market agenda, unlikely in the midst of a market moving at warp speed with new competitors appearing daily. But this Cisco seems to be correctly aligning less with the “next best thing” and more with the use of the “intelligent network” and an integrated eco system of solutions to help organisations utilise technology to unlock “business next generation and beyond”. As expected cloud featured heavily but not with the all too common “more of the same” approach. Cisco is taking the challenge and opportunity presented via the cloud approach to IT services very seriously and continues to present a pragmatic and compelling cloud strategy with far more of the “how” and less of the “hype”. Other solutions areas continue to compete for top billing in what many still deem is a “networking” company with mobility, video and security areas of major focus for Cisco.
No Cisco Live would be complete without a glut of product launches and the new UCS E series blade for the ISRG2 branch router is a clever and welcome addition to the solutions stack. The addition of real world high performance compute power in the highly innovative ISRG2 will drive down the cost and increase performance / flexibility of remote site or branch IT service delivery. A new area of focus is the Cisco “Connected Industries” play that hails the arrival of a whole new business unit and product range focused at industry specialised environments that includes connectivity for city utility vehicles, industrial systems and enabling machine to machine communication via Cisco technologies. Look out for a growing range of Cisco enterprise switches, access points and devices in new form factors optimised for previously unfamiliar environments like ATMs or buses on the move.
I encourage you to scan the web for the mass of Cisco Live 2012 information that will be arriving thick and fast. There is little I have seen to date that is earth shattering but certainly the new reenergised Cisco now looks more like the organisation that dominated the networking landscape for many years. This looks like a company primed and really for the next journey enterprise customers face but equipped with a strategy and solutions stack that is perfectly placed to succeed.
Now where is that sun San Diego is famous for.
Until next time