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Away by the Bay at Cisco Live!

May 20, 2014
at 7:08 pm PST

Wow! It’s been a whirlwind beginning to Cisco Live 2014. I’ve already met many partners and customers and we’re only about halfway through the week! Folks are excited to be part of such a huge event here in San Francisco.  In fact, check out this shot of folks streaming into the room for John Chambers’ keynote address yesterday.

Crowd ShotBefore John even took the stage, we’d already spent a lot of time talking with customers and partners about the new Solution Partner Program. This key piece of the Cisco Partner Ecosystem used to be known as the Cisco Developer Network (CDN). Arjun Lahiri, Senior Manager, Cloud and Ecosystem Strategy and Programs Group, took some time to really explain how CDN evolved into the Solution Partner Program and why those changes have occurred and how they affect partners. Be sure to read Arjun’s blog and get up to speed on the latest on the Solution Partner Program here at Cisco Live 2014.

Day One

Day one’s big highlight was the afternoon keynote address, introduced by Blair Christie, Chief Marketing Officer. Blair offered a warm welcome to day one of the 25th Cisco Live!

Looking back at the past 25 years, Blair took everyone back to 1989 when Cisco was hosting Cisco Networkers, which would become Cisco Live, in Palo Alto. About 200 people attended that first Cisco Live. This year, in San Francisco, there are more than 25,000 people in attendance at the event. In addition, there are more than 200,000 people watching virtually. Blair said having that many people involved this year is a testament to the commitment to Cisco and its forward-thinking strategy.

After a few more words of welcome from Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California, Blair then welcomed John to the stage, noting that this is his 23rd Cisco Live and his 19th year as CEO.

John Chambers Keynote

John danced onstage to “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown, which he pointed out, was a huge hit in 1989. He then started his speech by pointing out how Cisco Live 2014 is really about taking Cisco back to its roots.

1989 saw IBM came out with a 1 gigabyte hard drive, and Apple released a portable PC that weighed only 14 pounds! Who would have known then just how fast things would change – and that pace of change, which is ever increasing, was one of John’s key themes.

In fact, John predicted that in the next five years you are going to see a brutal consolidation in the IT industry. The speed of change is twice as fast as it was just three years ago. Cisco has to continue to keep that pace and you, as customers and partners, do too.

Jim Grubb, VP Emerging Technologies Marketing and Chief Demonstration Officer, joined John onstage and they provided an Internet of Everything (IoE) demonstration on the transportation industry that can be implemented today.

Jim showed the audience real-time data from a train car running down a track. All this data is used to power-positive train control (think air traffic control). Jim said with this data you can get a higher level of safety while still increasing the capacity of the trains by about 40 percent.

He walked through a customer service call using all this data. In that call, Jim, John and several thousand attendees in the room were able to see the customer’s trip plan in progress. She mentioned she was having trouble determining if she needs a round trip tickets, and what trains to take to reach her destination fastest. Not only was Jim able to complete her multi-city trip and send her itinerary to her iPhone, but he also helped her find the fastest footpath to the platform that would give her the best chance at finding an open seat.

John wrapped things up by asking the audience to consider just how much things had changed in the past year. With that ever-increasing pace of change, he said “We don’t just dream it, we do it together.”

As Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” boomed through the speakers again, John donned his sunglasses from 25 years ago, blew a kiss to the crowd with a shout of “peace out” before dancing offstage.

Day Two

Cisco’s new cloud business continues to expand with the announcement of new partners at Cisco Live. Be sure to read the entire release and Rob Lloyd’s blog on the announcement. He also covered a lot of information from the announcement in his keynote. In addition, Edison Peres, SVP Cloud Managed Service Partner Organization, also provided some color in his own blog, on just how today’s announcements affect Cisco Partners.

Rob Lloyd Keynote

Rob Lloyd continued the push to move faster, much as John focused on day one. Rob mentioned that Cisco customers have been asking us to expand beyond our hosted collaboration and SaaS offerings (such as WebEx, Meraki and Cisco Cloud Web Security) with a richer set of cloud services.

As he mentioned in his blog, Cisco announced a substantial expansion of those services with new infrastructure-as-a-service offerings and cloud disaster recovery applications that leverage the cloud platforms of new Intercloud partners Dimension Data and Sungard Availability Services. They join Telstra as Cisco’s first Intercloud partners.

Rob also highlighted the new leadership team at Cisco to head up the Intercloud efforts. Cisco has appointed Nick Earle, Faiyaz Shahpurwala and Dr. Gee Rittenhouse to lead cloud sales and go-to-market, services and engineering, respectively. Cisco also brought over long-time channel chief Edison Peres to run the cloud and managed services partner organization.

Rob’s keynote also saw some great demonstrations from Soni Jiandini, SVP, Marketing and Business Development for Insieme Networks, Inc. and Rob Soderbery, SVP and General Manager, Enterprise Networking Group. Soni provided great information on application centric infrastructure (ACI), data center and cloud. Rob Soderberry continued the talk on ACI, but with a focus on the WAN and Access area. He performed a live demo of Meraki on Penn Mutual insurance’s website. Rob Lloyd then closed out his keynote this morning with another big thank you to the attendees.

Collaboration

Another announcement of the first couple of days came from the Collaboration Team as Cisco continues to reimagine the way it connects with those inside and outside of our organizations by delivering three new personal collaboration tools designed to help get highly collaborative work done without technology hassles getting in the way.

Richard McLeod, Senior Director, Worldwide Collaboration Channel Sales, spent some time on the Channels Blog this week relating this new Collaboration news to our partners. Be sure to check out Richard’s blog to get some information on how these new collaboration products can help our partners reach new customers.

Finally, in a Collaboration keynote on day two of Cisco Live, Rowan Trollope, SVP and General Manager, Collaboration Technology Group, demonstrated the DX80 onstage. It was well received by the audience, and I can honestly say, I really want one too. The DX80, also known as the Telepresence Touch, and the DX70, the Telepresence Touch Mini, offer a great experience for the end user. I’ll see if I can try one out soon and give you a full report!

One last announcement from these first couple days, which would be of great interest to partners comes from the Catalyst 3850

Expand Unified Access with New Catalyst 3850 1G Fiber Switches

The Cisco Catalyst 3850 1G SFP fiber switches, part of the “One Network” foundation of the Cisco Unified Access solution portfolio, provides customers with more deployment capabilities, ease of management, and feature consistency. Generate more revenue and profit opportunities while providing your customers with converged wired and wireless access, IT simplicity, enhanced security, and lower operational costs.

Wrapping up

Well we are finishing up the second day here in San Francisco but I’ll be back with a final recap on Thursday. In the meantime, let me know in the comments section if there’s other information you need and I’ll see what I can dig up!

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