Cisco Live US had its first global digital event on June 16th and 17th. Over 120,000 people registered from 220 countries and territories, and across all 50 states. More than half of registrants were new to Cisco Live. This year’s event focused on “possibilities,” and how technology can help to solve the world’s problems. The event also explored how Cisco will play an essential role in driving toward a more inclusive future.

Keynote: Possibilities

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins
CEO Chuck Robbins at CLUS 2020

Chairman & CEO Chuck Robbins and other Cisco technology leaders shared Cisco’s vision for the future. Chuck recognized that our world is forever changed. “While 2020 has brought a lot of pain, a lot of sadness, and a lot of anger, I believe we can take the setbacks and turn them into progress. We can take the challenges and turn them into opportunity, and take some of the hate that we see in the world and turn it into hope,” he said. Chuck also shared Cisco’s new purpose statement to power an inclusive future for all. Cisco is combining its technological capabilities with a commitment to our communities and social responsibility to help connect the unconnected and provide essential services and new opportunities.

Watch the full session recording.

Public-Private Partnerships in a Time of Need

Jen Loving and Claudine Sipili
L to R: Jen Loving and Claudine Sipili

Our Inclusive Future is a podcast hosted by Scott Harrison, CEO of the nonprofit charity: water. It highlights the real-world efforts of people and organizations on the front lines of positive change around the world. The inaugural episode was shared during Cisco Live. It featured an interview with Jen Loving, the Executive Director of Destination: Home. Jen explained how her nonprofit works with its public sector and nonprofit partners to develop and fund new strategies to reduce and prevent homelessness in Santa Clara County, California. She explained how Destination: Home, by partnering with direct service organizations and government agencies, has been able to make a big impact. In the last five years alone, they have permanently housed 14,000 people with a 96 percent housing retention rate.

Jen was joined by Claudine Sipili, a member of Destination: Home’s Board. Claudine is a U.S. Navy and Army National Guard veteran who experienced homelessness 14 years ago. She credits community-based organizations with helping her. Now, Claudine is assisting those who are experiencing homelessness, even amidst the global pandemic.

Watch the full session recording.

Innovation in a Time of Crisis

Tae Yoo and Dr. Matthew Peterson
L to R: Tae Yoo and Dr. Matthew Peterson

As the COVID-19 pandemic forces us to do more of our daily activities online, the consequences of the digital divide are starker than ever. Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Cisco, shared that while we are all secluded in our respective places, the internet and connectivity are even more critical. Tae was joined on a panel by co-founder and chief research & development officer of MIND Research Institute Dr. Matthew Peterson, CEO and co-founder of Neopenda Sona Shah, and network consulting engineer of Cisco Tactical Operations Matt Runyan. During the discussion, they shared how their organizations are “pivoting” to address the current crisis, meet unexpected needs, and ensure that the digital divide doesn’t continue to get wider.

MIND Research Institute: When the pandemic hit, MIND Research Institute decided to shift to its business model by making its core program, ST Math, free to anyone. Opening access resulted in close to 2 million new accounts created during a one-to two-month span. “Our focus is on students everywhere, but particularly we have a high emphasis on students in underserved communities,” shared Dr. Peterson.

Neopenda: Sona shared more about, neoGuard, a wearable monitor that measures four different vital signs that alerts nurses through a central dashboard when infants are in distress. Neopenda recently adapted their vital signs monitor for use in adult and pediatric patients. Now they are exploring remote patient monitoring and telehealth options, so there are various opportunities for their device to help during this crisis.

TacOps: Cisco’s Tactical Operations (TacOps) deploys trained team members to restore communications for free where first responders need support. “The best way I describe it is that we are paramedics for communications.” Matt shared. The TacOps team is usually very hands-on, but they now have to do everything remotely. Thanks to technology like Cisco Meraki, they have been able to adapt and scale.

Watch the full session recording.

Learning Under Pressure: Fast-Tracking Digitization of Education

Laura Quintana facilitating her session
Laura Quintana facilitating her session

At the beginning of the pandemic, educators made the brave leap to online teaching. At the same time, many students embraced a new normal for learning. Laura Quintana, VP, and GM of Cisco Networking Academy shared how we are witnessing the digitization of education happening in real-time. Trends in technology that we expected to take root over time are happening overnight. By mid-April, 191 countries implemented school or university closures impacting 1.57 billion students. Renee Patton, Director, Business Development, Cisco Systems, Inc., and Richard Grotegut, Director, Western Academy Support and Training Center (WASTC), joined Laura for a discussion about the digitization of education. They talked about the role of industry in reducing education inequity and the supporting instructors and their students as they navigate virtual tech-enabled classrooms.

Richard shared his experience: “Having been introduced to the Cisco Networking Academy over 20 years ago, as a teacher, I have been able to transition to a fully online format with my students fairly seamlessly.” He credits this smooth transition to Networking Academy’s online resources that enhance teaching and learning. Richard also has a unique perspective about K-12 education and noted, “That has been a much tougher transition for them. The digital divide has never been so apparent. I am here teaching in the Bay Area, and we have a lot of tremendous resources. Still, there are too many cases of children this past spring who were never able to connect online.”

Renee shared the role that industry should play in the evolution of remote learning, “One of the best opportunities for public-private partnerships is with programs like Cisco Networking Academy because we know the jobs of the future are going to be different now. So, the Cisco Networking Academy provides students with an opportunity to receive certifications, get a pathway into IT, and be prepared for whatever the future might bring.”  Renee believes we will take the best practices from what we are learning today and create those environments that are more immersive, engaging, and flexible.

Richard and Renee agree that it is worth having a positive outlook when it comes to what education will look like when we emerge from the pandemic. “I’m optimistic that we will emerge better, stronger, and more effective than before,” shared Richard. Renee added, “We are going to come up with new and innovative approaches to supporting the continuity of learning.”

At the end of the discussion, Laura shared three main areas that Cisco is investing in to enrich online learning:

1.) Evolving the NetAcad portfolio to support instructors and students while they navigate remote teaching and learning.

2.) Recognizing that learning styles are rapidly changing by providing immersive experiences with virtual and augmented reality technology in education.

3.) Providing adaptive learning environments powered by artificial intelligence technology, which will create an adaptive and personalized learning experience for students.

Watch the full session recording.

Making an Impact beyond Cisco Live

Here are some other ways that we are making an impact beyond Cisco Live:

  • pi-top donations: At past Cisco Live US events, attendees built modular laptops in our Social Impact Zone as part of Cisco Live’s give-back activities. Even though our event was entirely digital this year, we are still donating pi-top laptops to Networking Academy partners in the US and UK. This donation will help students transition to a virtual classroom easier and gives users the tools they need to connect with others.
  • Virtual volunteering: With massive closures and social distancing practices, nonprofit organizations have experienced a dramatic drop in the number of volunteers. You can still make a difference in others’ lives, even from the comfort of your home. As a response to the ongoing need for volunteers and our desire to make a difference, we encourage individuals to pursue the following virtual volunteering opportunities.
  • Mercy Corps donation: Mercy Corps is an international development and humanitarian relief nonprofit active in more than 40 countries. Those who purchased merchandise in the Cisco store during Cisco Live were given an opportunity at checkout to round up their purchase amount towards a donation to Mercy Corps.


Stacey Faucett

Manager, Sustainability Communications Governance and Compliance

Chief Sustainability Office