And we’re off! With 28,000 people attending in via three locations in Las Vegas and nearly 100,000 tuned to the online broadcast, Chuck Robbins had the attention of a lot of people today. No need for a gradual start — although Robbins did question the wisdom of morning keynotes (especially in Las Vegas).CLUS 2016 keynote crowd

Robbins covered a lot of territory with a strong focus on innovation. But he also stressed changes in how organizations consider technology purchases, stating “It’s the business issue that’s driving the adoption of technology.” In other words, for companies to move forward, innovate, and compete, IT and line-of-business have to come together. (For real this time, not just in high-level strategy messaging.)

“We have to be aligned,” he said. “There has to be a strategy. What does this technology do? What does it change? How does it change how I think about my business? My business model? Does it change my company from selling a product to selling a service?”

And for changes to really take effect, they have to come with executive sponsorship: “I fundamentally believe that if you are going to really have an effect on the capability of what technology can do beyond what we do today, it has to start at the top,” Robbins said.

Collaboration continues to be a big part of what Cisco does. And it’s a continued area of focus, innovation, and expansion through strategic alignments with other companies (Apple, IBM…) as well as acquisitions.

Apple CEO Tim Cook provided a video update on how we’ve been working together over the last year. “With iOS 10, we’re also making it easier to make and receive voice and video calls over IP. Now the Cisco Spark app will integrate with iPhone for a first-class calling experience,” he explained. “It’s a seamless integration of enterprise collaboration services on the world’s best mobile device.”

For more on how we’re working with Apple to integrate voice and collaboration using Cisco Spark, check out the Apple + Cisco page.

Robbins also talked about how you’ll have the ability to register all Cisco endpoints to Cisco Spark. Truth be told, you can do it right now with the release of Collaboration Endpoint Software.

Robbins closed with a phrase that rings true across the technology industry – and beyond: “Our time truly is now.” I can’t disagree with him (and not just because he’s the CEO).

Global Problem Solving
Speaking of now, the keynote included content and a video about global problem solving, noting that the digital revolution will transform every aspect of our lives.

The world is complex, but we can solve the problems we see – and those we don’t yet see. And we need to solve them. Especially as technologists, all of us in the technology community have the potential to participate in finding solutions to global problems and. Cisco has set a goal if positively impacting 1 billion people by 2025. For more about how we can do that, read “Harnessing the Power of the Digital Revolution to Accelerate Global Problem Solving,” from Tae Yoo, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs.

Stop Hunger Now
CLUS 2016 Stop Hunger projectAnd more on doing good – now. Cisco Live incorporates opportunities to do volunteer work as part of the conference. Attendees can go to the World of Solutions and participate in social impact projects for Stop Hunger Now and Clean the World. My colleague Carmen and I stopped in today to assemble meal kits for the hungry, measuring ingredients that go into nourishing meals for people in need. The hair nets were less than fashionable, but it was a really simple way to contribute – and interact with other conference attendees in a different way. If you’re here in Las Vegas, I encourage you to give 30 minutes of your day Tuesday or Wednesday to help make a difference. It feels good to help other people.

Connected Keynote
There was all sort of talk about the keynote before it even started. With as many attendees as there are here in Las Vegas, there was a real issue with seating space for the opening keynote. Cirque de Soleil shows may be the hot ticket after dark, but during Cisco Live, the opening keynote is definitely a favorite. If you don’t believe me, check photos of the hallways to the main theater – and the fact that there were actually three theaters – in two separate convention centers – hosting the keynote. The event technical team manages some pretty magical feats. This time, they had Collaboration tech helping the magic with telepresence codecs and servers bridging the locations

Tuesday Highlights
Check out these sessions live — in Vegas or online at ciscolive.com/us:

10:30-11:30a PT: Luminary Keynote with Jason Silva, Futurist and Host of National Geographic’s Brain Games

2:30-3:30p PT: Innovation Talk — The Business of IoT with Rowan Trollope, Jahangir Mohammed, and Sandy Hogan

Want more? Check the full collaboration catalog.

Random Notes About Goats
If you watch the Twitter streams for #CLUS updates. Or you check the social wall in Social Media Central onsite at Cisco Live, you may see a strange influx of goats. Tweeting goats, that is. Well, one tweeting goat. Although attending this year’s Cisco Live remotely, @CollabGoat is watching sessions online, keeping up with the social streams, and participating wholeheartedly from the barn. Although, it seems he’s a little sad. So, maybe you can help make his day and follow him on Twitter.



Kim Austin

No Longer with Cisco