Cisco Networks in Bahrain
Cisco staged its first Networkers forum in the Middle East March 29-31.
It might not be the last.
Cisco hosted nearly 3000 people at the Formula 1 automobile race track in Bahrain, the island country in the Arabian Gulf. Engineers and other IT professionals, customer representatives, 10 key industry analysts covering emerging markets, and media listened to Cisco executives, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, and others; attended a variety of the approximately 200 individual sessions and breakouts; browsed Cisco’s World of Solutions, and . . . well . . . networked.
The global theme for Cisco Networkers 2010 is “Knowledge is Power”, and much was disseminated during Networkers Bahrain . . . through the likes of a CIO and IT executive symposium, nearly 170 breakout sessions across eight technology tracks, technical seminars, customer case studies, walk-in laboratories, Cisco career certification tests, a keynote program, the IT Insight Conference for approximately 150 IT managers and decision makers, and more. Analysts participated in roundtable discussions with Cisco executives and a raft of one-on-one meetings.
Now, one might ask, “Why Bahrain?” And some did.
The reason is that, collectively, emerging markets is a key growth area. As Cisco Chief Globalization Officer Wim Elfrink said, “the decade of 2010-2020 will see the biggest demographic shift in human history.”
To emphasize that point, Elfrink said, “Four megatrends will change the world: a decline in the developed world’s workforce, the increasing urbanization of the world’s population, a shift in economic power to emerging markets, and population growth concentrated in emerging markets. In fact, by 2030, the middle class in the emerging markets is expected to total 1.2 billion people — a rise of 200 percent since 2005.”
Cisco showcased its strong commitment to the region, as well as its array of solutions and services. Multiple analysts remarked on the significance of Cisco holding the event in the Middle East.
The importance was clear from the time one got off the plane. Entering the gate area, one was greeted by large signs and posters advertising Cisco Networkers. Similar signs were outside the terminal and along major roadways. There was even one in front of the magnificent Al-Fatih mosque, the largest in Bahrain.
As Elfrink remarked, “We understand how key emerging markets are. At Cisco, we try to keep a keen focus on market transitions and identify them very early on . . . By the time it’s obvious, it’s too late.”