Cisco Systems' CEO Chuck Robbins addresses attendees at the first in-person Cisco Live since 2019.

Jun 14 2022

Cisco Live 22: In a World Marked by Chaos, Technology Offers Solutions

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said IT can solve many of the world’s seemingly never-ending crises.

An era of permanent crisis has dawned, but technology is here to help. So argued Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco Systems, in his keynote address at Cisco Live, the company’s annual event for customers, partners, analysts and others.

“Just think of what’s happened in the last five years,” Robbins mused. “We’ve had a global trade crisis, a pandemic, we’ve dealt with social justice issues, we have a war in Ukraine, problems in the supply chain and runaway inflation. Other than that, everything’s been pretty normal.”

These events may seem unrelated, but in reality, “there’s always going to be some sort of crisis, that’s just the world we live in,” he said. That’s the bad news. The good news is that modern technology “is incredibly powerful” and is being deployed in response to many of these crises to great effect.

“There are some many problems that we can actually solve with this technology,” Robbins said. “We can educate people with this tech, we can provide aspects of healthcare with this tech, and now that no one’s going to the office, we can hire people right where they are.”

In Las Vegas, Robbins took the stage in front of an in-person Cisco Live audience for the first time since 2019 and didn’t hold back his joy, noting that he was delighted to not have to deliver his keynote “in an empty studio in San Jose, Calif., not knowing if anyone’s listening,” which is how he recorded his keynote addresses in 2020 and 2021, when Cisco Live was a remote-only event.

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Cisco’s Priorities Include Hybrid Work, Modern Apps

Robbins outlined four priorities for Cisco for the modern era: reimagining applications, powering hybrid work, infrastructure transformation and security.

Applications must be retooled because they’re at the heart of both customer and worker experience, and because the world for which they were built has changed, he said. Hybrid work is about much more than just collaboration technology and optimizing the meeting experience; it requires rethinking whole network architectures, physical spaces and device strategies to make work both intuitive and secure.

“Now you’re operating in this massively distributed world, where employees are everywhere, data’s everywhere and now you have devices everywhere,” he said.

The company made several announcements during the keynote, including:

  • Cisco is connecting its Catalyst switching and wireless hardware to the Meraki dashboard. Customers will now be able to manage both via the same interface, which Cisco officials described as a major step toward helping IT administrators simplify their operations. “Campus and branch networking customers can now simplify their IT operations by combining the best in cloud management with the best in networking hardware,” Cisco said in a press release.
     
  • Cisco also announced Cisco Nexus Cloud, which allows Cisco data center customers to manage their Nexus switches in the cloud. Delivered as a service, Nexus cloud makes it easier to deploy, manage and operate cloud networking, the company said.
     
  • Cisco provided more information about Cisco+ Secure Connect Now, its new secure access service edge solution initially unveiled at the RSA security conference. It is designed to provide customers with a SASE product that is quick to deploy and easy to manage, and can simplify how organizations connect and protect users, things and applications, Cisco said.

All the new offerings are intended to help customers simplify their IT operations, unifying as many disparate applications as possible under a single, cloud-based management platform and offered as a service to customers.

Whether you’re attending Cisco Live or not, follow us on Twitter at @BizTechMagazine and the official conference Twitter account, @CiscoLive, and join the conversation using hashtag #CLUS.

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