Yesterday, Cisco opened its new regional headquarters in Singapore, one of the first in the world that was designed from the ground up on the principles of the Cisco Connected Workplace, which integrates technology seamlessly into the workplace to foster collaboration. The new office is a living, breathing example of what Cisco feels is the next generation workplace.
Earlier this year, Cisco brought together several thought leaders in the industry to discuss the next generation workplace and what it meant to them. The one common thread which they all agreed on was that the next generation workplace is becoming essential to attract and retain the best employees and that it is as much of a cultural shift as it is a technological shift.
This video captures the essence of that discussion which features Dinesh Malkani, then managing director of Cisco’s Collaboration business in Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China; Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia Pacific, Google; Craig Gledhill, vice president, Regional Enterprise Business, Samsung Electronics; Han Kwee Juan, chief executive officer, Citibank Singapore; Garluck Lai, assistant director, Technology & Resource Management, Temasek Polytechnic; and Manoj Menon, partner and managing director, Asia Pacific, Frost and Sullivan.
I just returned from presenting at the Cisco Asia Pac 2012 Collaboration Summit in Singapore and I must say the Merlion was an excellent host. Not only was Singapore beautiful and their people welcoming but the event itself was incredible. I had the opportunity to share our Next Generation Virtual Workspace strategy to over 110 customers and analysts from across the Asia Pacific region.
Presenting the New Virtual Workspace Solution
In Singapore, I shared the newest addition to the Virtualized Collaboration Endpoint portfolio: Cisco’s Virtualization Experience Client (VXC) 6215, that brings voice and video to virtual desktops through one thin client solution. Rich media has been a challenge in virtual desktop environments, and Cisco’s new Virtual Workspace solution has the “secret sauce” to finally make this work.
In the past, voice (and particularly video) worked in virtual desktops in a “good enough” manner. However, this isn’t good enough for wide scale enterprise deployments. Leveraging years of experience and expertise in Unified Communications and Data Center, Cisco uses the Cisco Unified Communications architecture to separate the virtual desktop traffic from rich media in a way that provides a greater user experience at the virtual desktop. High quality voice and video are now possible with our VXC endpoints and UC Infrastructure working in conjunction with our technology partners Citrix and VMware.
Here is a quick video summary that my wife, Beth Dooley, helped me record a few hours after returning home (Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, California) from my VXI Experience Tour in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. The video was shot from our backyard deck. The original was 10 mins in length but we cut it down to just the first 3 mins:
During this VXI tour in APAC, I delivered our message to 10 sessions, 3 countries (Singapore, Japan, Korea) with hundreds of customers, partners, and internal Cisco teams. Siva Mandalam (Director, Cisco Enterprise Architecture & Systems) delivered our message in India the week before. PJ Barber (Director, Cisco Desktop Virtualization) delivers our message in Australia this week.
Prior to this trip, the Cisco team was expecting the vast majority of its near-term revenue, partner activity and customer interest for VXI to be concentrated in North America and Europe. After this APAC tour, it’s obvious there are some big things happening in Asia. Many could argue that the most mature countries in the APAC region for desktop virtualization adoption would be Australia and India. However, we’re seeing early signs of positive growth in Korea, Japan, and parts of China and SouthEast Asia as well.
In Japan, the attendance and interest exceeded everyone’s expectation with sessions in the hundreds leaving standing room only. In Korea, the teams were not only enthusiastic but they could see beyond just hosted virtual desktops and how this architecture applied to their overall “cloud” initiatives. In recent years, Korea has taken an innovation leadership role in areas such as automobiles, home appliances, consumer electronics, Internet broadband delivery, mobile handsets, and a variety of Post-PC devices from companies like Samsung and LG. Also, Korea’s modern culture is a strikingly unique blend of old tradition and new innovation. You can see this blending of old and new not only in their technology landscape but it extends into their music, fashion, and films. Cisco VXI is in many ways a blending of old (Windows PCs and legacy applications) and new (virtual workspaces using collaborative networking and cloud-based computing).
In my opinion, Korea is a country to watch for the next 12-18 months in this area. I could see at least one or two of Korea’s leading industries emerge as a guiding light for how businesses can move into the Post-PC area, deliver unique collaboration services, and embrace cloud computing in a way that we have not seen before.
Overall: the APAC region leveraging Cisco VXI has all the ingredients to be a significant portion of “first-mover” Enterprises and Service Providers in the Post-PC era. The proliferation of next generation devices are well suited for VXI when combined with rich collaboration services using high-performance networks and clouds. We just need to help convert this beaming enthusiasm into action. Amazing new developments are sure to come out of Asia, yet again.