A few weeks ago, I was named the 2017 Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) Woman to Watch for their newly established Technology category.  Talk about honored—I am going to be sharing the stage with some seriously badass movers and shakers: Sara Barnett, BBC America’s President and GM; D’Arcy Rudnay, EVP and Chief Communications Officer at Comcast; Tina Thorton, SVP for ESPN; and Charlene Keys, AVP of Charter.

Can I Get a Hell Yeah!?

This award represents so much to me personally and professionally (which I will share in a subsequent blog post,) but more importantly it represents a phenomenal shift in our industry.  The award has traditionally been given to a Programmer and an Operator.  2017 represents the first year where Technology is a focus area—which to me signals the following:

  1. Digitization of content workflows is now recognized as mainstream and essential to the survival of the industry,
  2. Cisco is the FIRST technology company viewed by WICT as enabling our customers to make a meaningful contribution,
  3. Technical women are being seen as serious subject matter experts within the Cable Telecom/Media industry. 

These signal #progress—Cisco (and me) are being recognized by the industry as having something very powerful to supply the transition occurring, and I believe this clearly affirms our position as the best technical counterpart to savvy conglomerates and content creators looking to accelerate their transition from SDI and Satellite to IP.

Cisco Media Blueprint: Transforming Entertainment

Cisco won’t enter a market if we cannot be a leader in it.  Media is no different.  My rockstar team is executing a clear, open, and productized strategy for this space. We call it the Media Blueprint, the foundation of which 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.

We Are Cisco

As a millennial, it’s fairly atypical that I just commenced my 12th year with Cisco.  Staying anywhere that long is a sin in today’s break-neck paced environment—but I stay nevertheless—impassioned by the EXTRAORDINARY opportunity that sits in front of the cable and media industry.  Never again will we witness the digitization, virtualization, and automation of the production or distribution of content, where legacy technologies are being forced to adapt to meet the new business models and consumption models.  Web players have gone from online book stores to major production companies and content distributors, and the industry as a whole is faced with a simple truth: #AdaptOrDie.

What could be more exciting than being a part of an elite team that is tasked with helping our industry clients—the world’s biggest conglomerates—create and implement the technical solutions they need to make the transition?  IMHO, NOTHING!


Samira Panah Bakhtiar

Director, Cisco's Media Operation

Global Service Provider Organization