A little about me: I’m a Scorpio, a New Yorker, and am opening a new plant-based Mexican restaurant in China Town with my husband this month.  Oh, and in August I will have celebrated my 11th anniversary with Cisco.

In the past decade, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most incredible service providers and content producers on the planet, witnessed countless acquisitions— and have helped to manage three major tech transitions alongside my customers since I started.  I helped build Cisco’s Media & Entertainment business, and now lead a team of impassioned account executives and engineers through the IP transitions that are reverberating across this space.

Why do I tell you this?  Simply because I believe there are few at Cisco better positioned to understand where we have been and where we are going.  I have quite literally grown up in it—spending one third of my life here!  My media customers have ranged from some small production houses and distributors, to global conglomerates.  I understand the space, the transition, the technology.  I also understand the politics.  And it’s because of this Layer 8 phenomenon, that I am writing today’s post.

I want to incinerate any doubt that Cisco doesn’t understand, or isn’t invested in this space.  People get uncomfortable whenever there is a new disrupter in a legacy industry and companies try to maintain their foothold by throwing FUD whenever the transition does not benefit them.  Thus it’s totally normal that individuals hold tight to partnership decisions of the past that have made their careers.  Nostalgia is a compelling emotion, but it’s not an effective strategy for navigating towards a future ripe for disruption.  Simply take inventory of the past decade, and the evidence is apparent of what happens when people hold on too tight.  Netflix, Amazon, Snap—these companies have completely changed film production and distribution, the literary world, and the process in which individuals consume news content.  We all know the companies that have been demolished in their wake. #EvolveorDie

Which brings me back to Layer 8—the resistance does not serve the industry.  Companies scared that they will be losing their grip are eager to spread statements, like “we don’t believe in Cisco’s direction in this space” or “other technology vendors are already paving the way.”

The first statement is crazy—especially if you have witnessed Cisco’s vision and strategy for Media production and distribution. To hear our vision distorted in the marketplace is quite literally #AlternativeFacts.  The truth is that Cisco is executing a clear, open, and productized strategy for this space. We call it the Media Blueprint.

The foundation of Media Blueprint is an end-to-end ecosystem approach which is a  strong challenge to point-providers who do not have that vision. And it is based on open, standards-based IP technology for production and delivery to propel our industry towards digitization ahead of legacy organizations who have not yet breached this frontier.  Our solutions and innovations will be demonstrated in all their glory at NAB.  So if you have any doubts about our vision, make sure to head to the South Hall to check it out.  We will be showering innovation all over NAB: you will find us playing a central role in the IP Showcase demonstrations and Cisco technology will be on display in several partner booths as well (more on those in a couple of paragraphs).

Now the second statement has me all riled up.  Other vendors ahead of us in this transition?  Really?! Come. On.

We are Cisco. We created the world’s first routers, we propelled IP across every industry, and over the course of the past 16 years have acquired FOURTEEN video companies. We entered the Studio Production space recently, but we have been doing Distribution for over 5 decades thanks our acquisition of Scientific Atlanta.  And if there is one thing you need to know about Cisco, it is that we won’t enter a market if we cannot be a leader in it.  Media is no different.  With a market cap of $171B, 2016 Revenues of $49B, and close to $5B invested in R&D annually, we have the financial wherewithal to be in this game for the long run.

So, let’s hit the facts.  In 2016, we cemented our relationships with media ecosystem partners including Grass Valley, EVS, Imagine Communications, Riedel, and Lawo. We have worked tirelessly with standards based organizations to ratify protocols that we believe leapfrog the first-to-market switch manufacturers.  Our solutions are not only being adopted in production and post, but they are being leveraged to change the conversation.

We are invested.  We have never been more serious about Media.  And we fully plan to crush this transition.


Samira Panah Bakhtiar

Director, Cisco's Media Operation

Global Service Provider Organization