Cisco CEO, Chuck Robbins, address the crowd at Cisco Live.

Jun 06 2024

Cisco Live 2024: Making It Easier To Get Started With Artificial Intelligence

The company promises a range of solutions designed to deliver a smoother AI on-ramp.

As the world enters “the verge of yet another tech transformation,” IT and business leaders must be prepared to move faster, because the era of artificial intelligence will make the days of rapid cloud migration look like a Sunday drive, said Cisco’s CEO Tuesday at Cisco Live 2024.

AI is “moving at a truly unprecedented pace,” Chuck Robbins told several thousand Cisco customers, partners, analysts, journalists and others during his keynote address. He acknowledged that some technology innovations “get talked about for years” before finally becoming reality. “How long did we talk about 5G before finally deploying it?” he said.

But AI is different. He recalled the early days of cloud, when “every CEO was pressuring you to get in the cloud, even though they had no idea why. They just knew that they kept hearing that everybody has to get in the cloud, so they told you to do it. AI is going be that, but on steroids.”

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Why AI Tech Will Transform All Aspects of Business

Unlike marginal advancements that slightly improve existing technologies, AI is genuinely transformational, with the power to change every single aspect of a business’s operations, Robbins said.

That makes it equal parts exciting and terrifying for business leaders who are still trying to understand its potential within their industries.

“My peers are saying, ‘If we don’t move quickly, my competitors will kill me. I don’t know what they’re going to do with AI that’s going to put us at an incredible disadvantage,’” he said. “So, the pressure that you all face is going to be incredibly high.”

Cisco is striving to “connect and protect” network infrastructure for the AI era, Robbins said, and told attendees that, pursuant to customer demand, the company will focus on three core areas.

“We asked where we can help you, and you’ve been very consistent,” Robbins said. “First, you asked us to please continue to be a great networking company: ‘Help me modernize my network, build great collaboration tools so I can connect with my customers and partners and employees, and continue to innovate in the core technology.’ Second and not far behind, you asked us to please help you with security. The threat landscape you face today is a massive challenge, especially when you don’t control all of the assets that you run applications on.”

Finally, he said, customers asked Cisco to help them understand and capitalize on AI. The company announced a number of ways that it is doing that, including a new networking solution called Cisco Nexus HyperFabric AI clusters.

READ MORE: How to improve your cyber resilience by focusing on your people.

Tech Tools To Help Businesses Get Started With AI

The solution, announced in partnership with NVIDIA, is meant to help companies begin to work with AI even if they lack deep knowledge of the technology. Cisco said the solution combines Cisco AI-native networking with NVIDIA accelerated computing and AI software.

“It is designed to enable customers to focus on AI-driven innovation and new revenue opportunities rather than IT management,” the company said in a statement.

During the keynote Tuesday, Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager of Cisco Networking, said the solution is part of the company’s determination to simplify AI for its customers. Businesses know they must find ways to capitalize on AI, but they don’t always feel prepared.

“While the promise of AI is clear, the path forward for many just starting out is not. Customers often face economic and operational challenges to get an AI stack up and running,” he said. “Cisco is committed to making the deployment and operation of AI infrastructure simpler. Together with NVIDIA, we are delivering a simple-to-deploy, cloud-operated AI stack solution for on-premises deployments that builds on our Cisco Networking Cloud platform vision for automation and simplicity.”

To access all of our coverage of Cisco Live, follow us on the social platform X at @BizTechMagazine and the official conference account, @CiscoLive, and join the conversation using the hashtag #CiscoLive.

Photo courtesy of CISCO

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