Here are a few lesser-known data points about Cisco:

  • More than 600 billion emails originate on Cisco-based networks every day
  • About 2/3 of the world’s Internet traffic runs on Cisco
  • Over 20 billion security breaches are thwarted every day by Cisco

From this vast amount of data flowing across Cisco networks, material insights can be gleaned and utilized by artificial intelligence (AI). However, perhaps no other technology has created a greater dichotomy of views than AI. To put it mildly, AI is a source of great uncertainty and debate.

The view that AI could be a significant threat comes from a number of iconic Hollywood movies as well as from industry luminaries like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Ray Kurzweil and others. We should take their warnings seriously. However, we should not blindly retreat from AI and its potential to create value for organizations and people. This quote from Douglas Engelbart, a U.S. Computing Pioneer at Stanford in 1958, perfectly captures my point: “Technology should not aim to replace humans, but rather amplify human capabilities.”

AI is thriving. Today, nearly $30 billion, or half of all venture capital funding in Silicon Valley, is directed toward AI investments. AI is also firmly entrenched and growing across all industries. From a consumer perspective, millions of people already use and rely on AI in their daily lives with digital assistants from Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft. In automotive, there will be 10 million autonomous cars that rely on AI technology on the roads by 2020.

How should we think about AI in the context of company transformation?

First, it’s important to realize that AI does not stand alone. It must be developed, deployed, and utilized in the context of other disruptive technologies, especially IoT and cybersecurity. For example, autonomous vehicles are a good representation of this co-dependence. The software code, self-learning capabilities, smart grid utilization, links to public Wi-Fi, and so on must work in concert to safely deliver people and goods to the right places at the right times, while dealing with a myriad of risks.

Additionally, think about the impact of AI on a theme I have covered in previous blogs: reimagining the value your company creates for its customers. From the book, Digital Vortex, which was co-written by members of my team in conjunction with IMD, we learn about three main forms of customer value on which disruptive competitors base their business models: cost value, experience value, and platform value.

AI holds enormous potential to create value like this for your customers—and disruptive competitors (and venture capitalists) know it. At Cisco, we see the possibility of AI every day. For example, we recently launched  Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA). This ground-breaking new AI-driven solution uses machine learning to solve the age-old privacy vs. security conundrum by analyzing encrypted network traffic to automatically identify and eliminate malware threats—without having to decrypt the packets of information.

We are using AI in Spark to enrich the user experience in collaboration. The new Spark Virtual Assistant leverages deep-domain conversational AI technology from our recent MindMeld acquisition to allow users to join and end meetings as well as start and stop recordings with natural voice-activated commands. In addition, MindMeld’s AI expertise is enabling Cisco to deliver groundbreaking enterprise experiences across its portfolio by making user interfaces even more natural, intuitive, and intelligent. AI-based products are enabling Cisco to create more and more value for customers, whether it is in greater productivity or increased IT security.

Like disruptive technologies before it, AI can make things worse, but also help to make things better. The outcome depends on all of us. How can AI help you reimagine the value your company delivers to customers?



Kevin Bandy

No Longer with Cisco