Mobile World Congress followed Cisco Live Barcelona, and with it came many important announcements and blogs. With that excitement now behind us, I am writing to you today to share some of the key messages I conveyed during my Cisco Live keynote, “Transformation through Innovation”.

Thousands of technology innovators gathered together at the beginning of February for Cisco Live! Barcelona — the premier event for IT professionals across Europe.  The five-day conference was chock full of presentations from IT thought leaders, interactive demonstrations, educational sessions, and networking opportunities with Cisco’s top partners and customers.

The Industry Is Transforming Rapidly; Service Providers Are Facing Significant Challenges

Service Providers are seeing a significant increase in the number of devices and connections coming onto the network, as well as a growing number of new applications and requirements. These forces are having a tremendous influence on bandwidth, as well as scale.

While bandwidth and scale are growing, average revenue (ARPU) is not, so SPs are looking for new ways to attract and retain customers while increasing loyalty.

And finally (and perhaps most importantly), SPs want to ensure that their infrastructures are secure. They need to be unbreakable!

Cisco’s Investments in Mass Scale Networking Are Enabling SPs to Transform their Businesses

Let me begin with an example of how we’re developing mass-scale networking. A couple of years ago in India, we partnered with a digital service provider to build a massive network and bring hundreds of millions of people onto the Internet. In doing so, the rank of the country’s mobile broadband consumption changed from 150th two years ago to number one today. More importantly, a lot of underserved people, the farmer or the student, received access to information they never had before- it was an equalizing force.

While this is one country’s example of transformational growth, we’re seeing similar trends worldwide. So how can Cisco deliver mass-scale networking in a capital-efficient fashion?

  • First of all, we’re investing in silicon-both merchant silicon and Cisco silicon, and you’re going to see a lot of innovation in this space.
  • We’re investing in a wide range of systems-from very small systems that hang outdoors to very, very large systems that power internet code today.
  • We’re investing in operating systems because that’s how the network comes to life-it’s not just about delivering routers and switches but delivering the entire network, end to end, and the value that provides.
  • And lastly, we’re investing in architectures-we’re not just building devices; we’re networks, and we’re building services on top of networks. Architectures such as 5G or remote PHY or cloud scale are very important, and you will see a lot of Cisco innovation is in this space.

Software Innovations, Such as Segment Routing and Automation, Are Game Changers

Segment routing is the ability for an application to choose the best path in the network, based on its requirements. It ensures the most efficient use of the network, it enables SPs to engineer traffic at scale, and it allows them to leverage the network to create new services.

Automation is the ability for the network to operate itself. And with OpEx running four to five times that of CapEx, the importance of automation is growing. Cisco is focusing its innovation resources on two broad areas of automation-the network and its cross-functional operations. Development in these two areas will allow SPs to plan, design, implement, operate, and optimize the network using our automation software. They will utilize innovations in visibility, topology, device information, network information, and troubleshooting, and they will enable OpEx efficiency, speed, and flexibility.

Cisco 5G Will Redefine the Network as We Know it Today

If you look at 5G, you will see that Cisco is focused on five pillars (pictured) as well as creating value for SPs. Enabling 5G will require a significant investment, and so we are expecting a significant pay back-not just as a bandwidth service, but so much more.

One of the areas in 5G that we get really excited about is network slicing. It will allow SPs to offer new, differentiated services and create new revenue streams. A couple of examples include encrypted network slices and high-bandwidth network slices.

Another big area for Cisco is Security. In this pillar, we are focused on tying device and infrastructure security (through protocols and technologies), to the security of the users and applications. As we prepare for 5G, I invite our SP partners and customers to co-innovate and co-develop with us on this rewarding journey.

Cisco Is Your Obvious Choice

Cisco is a great partner for many reasons. Of course, our global reach is a big advantage, and our innovation velocity and innovation spectrum are good reasons, too. But the most important thing we bring to the table is that we never let our partners down.

All of the innovation that we are doing is not just about the “what” or the “how” but rather the journey we take together. We are committed to working with you hand-in-hand to solve your biggest problems, and in this co-innovation fashion, we look forward to being your best partner.

These are exciting times for service providers, as well as the industry as a whole. If you are interested in receiving more detail about Cisco’s hardware and software innovations, I encourage you to watch my entire presentation from Cisco Live! Barcelona, available on YouTube.


Sumeet Arora

SVP Engineering

Core Software Group - US