For over 30 years, Cisco has built the fundamental technology that has driven the rise and growth of the internet. New industries, new companies, new jobs and new experiences have resulted from technologies that have become a seamless part of our lives, and I’m incredibly proud of our contribution to these advancements.

All of this innovation has led us to an age of exponential expansiveness. When I think about the future we’re moving towards, I believe this transition will result in incredible value and endless possibilities for our customers, but we have to overcome some real complexity and fundamental challenges before we can take the next big leap.

We have a long history of making significant transitions at scale. The most important thing we’ve learned is that with every transition, we must rethink everything we do. We see a tremendous opportunity to apply the latest technology innovations — from machine learning to artificial intelligence to advanced analytics — to the way we operate and define the network.

In rethinking the network, we must move from a highly manual, time-intensive, often static approach to one that works with the future in mind — anticipating your needs, understanding your intent and continually learning from the context of all the data that surrounds your business.

Launching a new, intuitive network

For all these reasons, today we are unveiling a new network for a new era, a network for today’s world and tomorrow’s. Our new network is the result of the deep innovation we’ve been driving at Cisco, and it’s something I believe will change the trajectory of the entire industry.

The new network delivers a world where you can connect billions of devices, identify them almost instantly, know what’s trustworthy and what isn’t, and draw exponential value from the connections – and you can do it in hours instead of weeks and months. This capability is so new and so vital, that in our view, it will free up businesses to pursue new opportunities — because big changes will seem less daunting and less risky.

At the core of this new era is intent-based networking, which is focused on business outcomes and the increasing speed at which companies can achieve their desired results. It is a network with a purpose, one that can think ahead to help organizations move faster and be smarter. While there are several technologies involved in bringing this to life, on a conceptual level the key pillars of this approach are intent, context and intuition. As the pace of business only accelerates, the need for these capabilities is critical.

Intent-based networking allows for automation at scale, so companies can manage a seemingly unmanageable array of devices and other technologies. Interpreting data with the right context is what enables the network to provide new, more meaningful insights. As an industry, we’re increasingly creating technology that is more intuitive — from interacting naturally with technology through voice or gesture to building more human-like qualities into the technology experiences we deliver.

At the core of all this is trust. The new network is a fully integrated, single system that is both intelligent and highly secure. Businesses can trust that the right best practices, based on decades of network experience, are in place to automate the network. Businesses can trust that the network is constantly learning and evolving to detect issues before they happen, while providing actionable insights to resolve them on its own.

Moving to an intent-based approach across Cisco’s portfolio

Beyond the reimagined network, we are driving the power of intent, context and intuition across the entirety of Cisco’s portfolio — from our next-generation data center architectures, to advanced IoT applications, our world-class security portfolio, end-to-end analytics, and our vast investments in our core technologies. We are committed to creating new ideas that push the envelope, bringing innovation to our customers in new ways.

We must move to a place where we build technology that is intuitive from the start and continues to evolve and learn over time. Intent-based infrastructure is where we see our next big growth opportunity. We believe the network will be an enabler and an accelerator of this new set of technologies.

Many are saying we’re becoming a software company, but the reality is that hardware, software, and services are all critical to our future — and to providing our customers with the right foundation for their digital businesses. While we are announcing how we will make this shift in our core business, enterprise networking, today’s news also marks the beginning of a top-to-bottom commitment to intent-based infrastructure.

As we move into this new chapter of intent-based infrastructure, our intention — my vision — is to deliver a truly secure and intelligent platform for digital businesses to bring greater value to our world. We believe this foundation will serve as the basis for how our customers will reinvent their futures.


Chuck Robbins

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Cisco Systems, Inc.