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Cisco Live 2011 officially kicked off today in true Las Vegas style. As conference attendees waited for Cisco SVP Carlos Dominguez to give the welcome address, flash mobbers disguised as event attendees suddenly arose from their seats and began a choreographed dance to the Black Eyed Peas’ hit “I Gotta Feeling.” and the Beatles song “All Together Now.”

Carlos then entered the stage and welcomed the staggering number of attendees: 15,000+ live attendees and 40,000+ virtual attendees across 150+ countries.

Then it was Chairman and CEO John Chambers’ turn to address attendees. Keeping in line with recent announcements, John agreed that there was a need to simplify operations at Cisco to make it easier for customers and partners to do business with us and he promised that changes would be coming soon.

He then dove into Cisco’s five main priorities:

To help drive his message home, John invited Chief Demonstration Officer Jim Grubb to the stage to show how powerful the combination of mobility, social media, visual, video, and virtualization/cloud can be. Jim provided an example of how an oil and gas industry engineer can access his virtual desktop from the field to log into Cisco Quad to search for the information he needs. Jim also used a Cisco Cius tablet as a remote to drive a robot fitted with a camera into a pipe, takes a picture, then uploads the image into a maintenance community within Cisco Quad. As they noted during the demo, Cisco Quad brings enterprise social media to life, and the Cisco Cius combines mobility, social media, video, virtualization and cloud to help differentiate Cisco from the competition.

John ended the keynote with a prediction that two to three years from now, Cisco will be a company that leads the future of networking, which moves faster on innovation, that is simplified and leaner, and a company that will be a trusted networking, IT, and business advisor.

John Chambers at the Cisco Cloud Partner PavilionWhew! It certainly has been a full day but there’s a lot more to come. We ran into John at the Cisco Cloud Partner Pavilion and got the chance to chat with partners and attendees. So, stay tuned because we’ll be sharing that here on the Channels blog. Also, be sure to keep up with the latest Cisco Live 2011 news throughout the week by following the #CL11 hashtag on Twitter.

Missed the Welcome Address and Keynote?
If you missed the keynote or want to rewatch the awesome flash mob scene, catch the replay on Cisco Live Virtual (Registration is free!). Once you’ve logged in, navigate to the replay by going to the Locations tab at the top of the screen and selecting Auditorium from the drop-down menu. Then, go to the On-Demand Las Vegas 2011 tab and click the link GENKEY-4700: Live Keynote – Featuring John Chambers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cisco. From there hit the View Session button to launch the presentation.

Party Like a Rock Star!
Join us today from 7:30 p.m. -- 10:30 p.m. at the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay for a night of Southern-inspired food and music with BBQ lamb chops, Kobe beef sliders, fried chicken with waffles, and an iced seafood bar. Plus, 15 winners will get to join a meet-and-greet with the special band we’ll have onsite for the party.

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