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Over time, the networking industry has benefited from continuous innovation in how products, including routers, switches and optical systems, are interconnected. As advances in silicon continue to drive performance and capacity gains in routers and switches, it becomes imperative that optics keep pace.
Today, we are pleased to announce our intent to buy Acacia Communications, an existing Cisco supplier and a public fabless semiconductor company based in Maynard, Ma. Acacia develops, manufactures and sells high-speed coherent optical interconnect products that are designed to transform communications networks through improvements in performance, capacity and cost. Cisco is building an industry-leading portfolio of optical, silicon, and software technologies to advance our intent-based networking, and Acacia’s coherent optics technology will build on the strength of that portfolio.
The primary challenges for cloud and service providers in Data Center Interconnect (DCI), Metro and Long Haul networks are to:
Increase the capacity on the “existing” fiber infrastructure
Drive down the cost/bit
Automate to lower opex and eliminate human error
Solutions to these challenges will drive significant architectural shifts for service providers. A key trend in this segment is the migration from chassis-based solutions to pluggable optics. Functions that were traditionally delivered in separate chassis-based solutions in a separate optical layer will be available in a pluggable form factor as part of the IP layer – offering significant benefits for network operators in terms of operational simplicity and lower cost.
Acacia’s coherent optics technology empowers webscale companies, service providers and data center operators to meet the fast-growing consumer demands for data. Acacia brings industry-leading expertise and innovation in all the key technology areas for coherent optics applications – algorithm development, ASIC design and verification for the Digital Signal Processing (DSP), RF design and module packaging/ integration.
In addition, Acacia uses silicon photonics as the platform for integration of multiple photonic functions for coherent optics. The greater levels of integration increase the density and reduce the cost of the coherent optics. Leveraging the advances in silicon photonics, each new generation of coherent optics products has enabled higher data transmission rates, lower power and higher performance than the one before.
Cisco considers silicon, optics and software foundational technologies for continuing to deliver industry-leading innovations in routing and switching, and we see the emergence of pluggables serving the DCI, Metro and Long Haul segments as an important transition for customers.
In my next blog, I’ll take a deeper dive into industry trends and technologies and how our solutions, including the Acacia portfolio, can help customers manage those transitions.
This blog contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. For example, statements regarding integration plans and the expected benefits to Cisco, Acacia, and their respective customers from completing the acquisition are forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include those described in the joint press release announcing our proposed acquisition of Acacia and in Cisco’s SEC reports (including but not limited to its most recent reports on Form 10-Q and Form 10-K filed with the SEC on May 21, 2019 and September 6, 2018, respectively). These documents are available free of charge at the SEC’s website at www.sec.govor by going to Cisco’s Investor Relations website at https://investor.cisco.com. If any of these risks or uncertainties materializes or any of these assumptions proves incorrect, Cisco’s results could differ materially from its expectations in these statements. Cisco undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statement for any reason.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
In connection with the proposed acquisition and required stockholder approval, Acacia will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission a preliminary proxy statement and a definitive proxy statement. The proxy statement will be mailed to the stockholders of Acacia. Acacia’s stockholders are urged to read the proxy statement (including all amendments and supplements) and other relevant materials when they become available because they will contain important information.Investors may obtain free copies of these documents (when they are available) and other documents filed with the SEC at its website at http://www.sec.gov. In addition, investors may obtain free copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Acacia by going to Acacia’s Investor Relations page on its corporate website at http://ir.acacia-inc.comor by contacting Acacia Investor Relations at (212) 871-3927.
Acacia and its officers and directors and other members of management and employees may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Acacia’s stockholders with respect to the acquisition. Information about Acacia’s executive officers and directors is set forth in the proxy statement for Acacia’s 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 3, 2019, Form 8-K filed with the SEC on June 3, 2019, and Acacia’s other filings with the SEC. Investors may obtain more detailed information regarding the direct and indirect interests of Acacia and its respective executive officers and directors in the acquisition by reading the preliminary and definitive proxy statements regarding the transaction, which will be filed with the SEC.
In addition, Cisco and its officers and directors may be deemed to have participated in the solicitation of proxies from Acacia’s stockholders in favor of the approval of the transaction. Information concerning Cisco’s directors and executive officers is set forth in Cisco’s proxy statement for its 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on October 24, 2018, annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on September 6, 2018, Form 8-K filed with the SEC on May 22, 2019, and Cisco’s other filings with the SEC. These documents are available free of charge at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov or by going to Cisco’s Investor Relations website at https://investor.cisco.com.
We, and our customers, have long understood that networks are most valuable when they do more than support their own weight. They become assets only when they enable the growth of business strategies. To get networks to work at this level, we have to get a higher level of performance and agility from them.
That’s why we launched a series of products and services based on intent-based networking two years ago. Our goal was to reinvent access networking to serve business needs. Intent-based networking turns intent into network policy, and it lets businesses innovate faster than ever.
Since we started working on intent-based networking, we’ve been focused on making it simple. As the technicalities of networking are complex, this focus is not something we’ll ever be fully done with. Simplifying advanced IT requires continuous refinement.
One big leap we’re making now is using the power of artificial intelligence (AI). It lets us simplify the experience that IT teams have with networking tools, and provides personalized and targeted insights into their operational environments.
We are also simplifying what it takes to manage multiple networking domains – by linking them together to provide key outcomes that network managers care about, like end to end segmentation with application SLAs (service-level agreements).
Artificial Intelligence Powers the Next Level of Intent-Based Networking
We can use the artificial intelligence to make IT more efficient and proactive. With AI, we can deliver a network that operates at its peak performance. At the same time, we make it easier to manage.
For example, we address the fact that the number of devices attaching to networks is increasing quickly. From end-user devices to IoT equipment, many networks are seeing exponential growth. This increase in network complexity is leading to an increase in alerts from management consoles. But IT teams, with their limited resources, are only able to pay attention to the highest-priority incidents. They end up ignoring the less urgent, but still important, indicators of network under-performance.
Having networks send their operators only the right alerts, though, isn’t something that can be done just by setting coarse threshold bands. Every network is different. Every building in campus network is different. Each floor within a building is different. And these networks are constantly changing. We need to apply AI to optimize network management, to surface the alerts that are truly important for each unique environment. With AI, we can customize alerts for every building, every floor and every room – with actionable insights that allow teams to quickly and proactively mitigate problems.
In early field trials of Cisco AI Network Analytics, we have seen the number of flagged incidents reduced by up to 75%. One of our customers, with a three-person network management team, tells us they call Cisco AI technology the “fourth member of the team.”
Having an AI tool to prioritize — and increasingly, remediate — network alerts means IT staff can spend more of their time and resources on strategic projects that make their business better, more efficient, and more competitive.
AI can effectively filter and prioritize alerts.
The quality of the AI-driven improvement depends, of course, on the quality of the data. The more devices you collect data from – end user smartphones, switches, WAN routers, cloud servers, and everything connecting them – the better. That’s why we build telemetry into all the products we make. And we have 35 years of experience across all the domains of networking – experience that goes beyond raw data. We are combining that pattern-matching human knowledge of how networks work, with real-time telemetry, to move into a new field of AI, machine reasoning, to create even more intelligent network management.
Network teams can also use the network telemetry as a raw business resource. Networks are sensors, not just wires. A network can know how employees and customers use resources – increasingly, physical resources like buildings and equipment – and that data can be an invaluable resource in creating competitive advantage.
Integrating Network Policies
It’s also time to start unifying network management across domains. No network is an island, and yet they have been traditionally managed as if they were. Even inside a single enterprise, there are multiple networking domains, each supporting a unique role — from the campus and IoT networks that identify and onboard devices and authorize access, to the WAN network responsible for securely connecting to a hybrid cloud environment with a great application experience, to the data center and cloud networks where workloads are distributed and where protecting against data breaches is utterly critical.
Operating policies that govern network actions are defined in each of the domains. But the needs of a business are not fulfilled by one domain alone. All need to work together so that, for example, a doctor in a clinic can securely run a diagnostic application in the data center with adequate quality of experience over the WAN that connects them to it – a task that touches at least three traditionally separately-controlled networks.
To meet this business intent, domains must exchange relevant policies, so that the entire network works in concert.
In our example, the access network that onboards and authorizes the doctor must let the data center network know of their privileges to run the medical diagnostic application. Similarly, the data center network must tell the WAN of the critical nature of the application and how its traffic must be prioritized. When the doctor moves to a different clinic, the policies that govern their usage should follow.
Applying policies across domains can also be simplified.
Without such integrations, IT teams for each domain need to coordinate and then manually implement different policies. With the rapid pace of change, that may not even be possible.
Multidomain integration means that policy applied in one place (like the access network) will get applied to the other networks (like SD-WAN and data center) that are involved in delivering the desired result. Each domain continues to support its primary role, but as changes occur, it will dynamically update across other domains.
Improving the Human Element
AI tools and automation for multiple domains will get us closer to the IBN vision and will dramatically free up IT teams so skilled network operators can work on strategic projects – projects that may appear out of reach today due to the fire-fighting nature of network management. Based on talks I have with customers, I know that there is no end to the number of interesting and lucrative projects our users could be working on. And we want to help.
Smart software will soon be able to do more for our networks than ever. But to keep a business ahead of the game, IT teams need to know how to use it to its best advantage. There’s so much still to do when it comes to leveraging the power of interconnected systems. We want to help networks get smarter, and we want to be sure they all have the best-informed people available to manage them.
Get the latest news from Cisco Live 2019, happening June 9 to 13 in San Diego, California.
It wasn’t that long ago that many people thought moving everything to the cloud would be simple and cost-effective – and cloud would somehow make everything easier. The reality is that cloud was anything but simple. Balancing the need to manage costs with enabling speed and business agility became a significant challenge.
As we look at where the market is now, it’s clear that enterprises didn’t simply move to the cloud – instead, they are actively expanding into the cloud. This expansion is driving fundamental change across every domain of the expanded enterprise.
This environment is creating a new set of challenges, requiring CIOs to manage a set of variables that are changing constantly. The need to connect any user, on any device, on any network to any application is becoming a top priority and frequent topic at the boardroom level. And while CIOs and IT organizations might spend less time dealing with issues like energy efficiency and cooling, they are still on the hook for important things like strategy, governance, and results.
In today’s multicloud reality one of the biggest challenges is bridging multiple environments – on prem, co-lo, public cloud, and SaaS. Delivering optimal outcomes across so many environments is a huge issue. While managing costs and enabling speed continues to be important, we think that enterprises now need to optimize their multicloud environment across a number of different dimensions.
Cost: Managing workload, network, storage, and services across environment to optimize usage
Performance: Enabling network performance, traffic optimization, and app development/deployment
Security: Providing security for data, apps, devices across on-prem, co-lo, public, and SaaS
Visibility: Gaining insights into security and application performance across multiple public and private clouds
Compliance: Applying policy across the full breadth of the multicloud environment
User experience: Enabling optimal experience for SaaS applications like Office 365, Google Cloud, and Salesforce.com
Simplicity: Reducing the number of tools or using a single resource for multiple environments
At Cisco, we understand all this. That’s why we’ve been innovating to help you unleash the potential of your multicloud environment by delivering more ways to optimize across this growing set of dimensions. Whether you plan to evolve your data center to build a private cloud, extend your network to the public cloud, build new cloud services, or manage a new multicloud environment; Cisco has the portfolio to simplify how you connect, protect, and consume all your clouds.
We’ll be at Cisco Live US in San Diego next week and we have an amazing show planned. Join my Innovation Talk where I’ll be sharing more about Cisco’s approach to multicloud. And be sure to check out the many informative sessions we have in store. The list below is just some of the exciting topics we will be discussing. See the full list of sessions, labs, and more around multicloud in our catalog.
When the term ‘The Internet of Things’ was first coined in the 90’s, it was used to describe a range of interconnected sensors gathering information about the real world. Today, as organizations digitize, they are connecting their operational technology (OT) environments, containing a wide array of sensor and devices, to the Enterprise IT networks.
The reality, according to a recent report by ZK Research is “55% have no or low confidence that they know all devices in their network.” Moreover, the devices in OT were never built with security in mind. These are devices such as:
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) which are commonly used to control a process such as oil refining, or a manufacturing line.
Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) as the name implies tend to be outside the building in a remote area, such as an electric utility substation.
With these IoT devices lacking modern embedded software and security capabilities, segmentation will be the key technology to allow communication from operational assets to the rightful systems, and reduce risk of cyber security incidents like we saw with WannaCry and Norsk Hydro.
Automating visibility into operational technology
To solve for this, Cisco announced its intention to acquire Sentryo, providing automated device visibility and protection for OT assets. This acquisition will help our customers with 3 problems:
Visibility: Network enabled passive deep packet inspection (DPI) capabilities to discover IoT and OT assets, and establish the communication patterns between devices and systems. Sentryo’s sensor is natively deployable on Cisco’s IOx framework, it can be built into the industrial network these devices run on instead of adding additional hardware. With Cisco recently being named the leader in Industrial Edge Networking by IHS Markit, Sentryo will add tremendous value for our customers including those operating industrial control systems in oil and gas, electric utilities, building automation, mining operations, chemical processing facilities, and more.
Segmentation: As the device identification and communication patterns are created, Cisco will integrate this with DNA Center and Identity Services Engine (ISE) to allow customers to easily define segmentation policy and specific actions. This integration will allow OT teams to leverage the IT security teams expertise to secure their environments, without risk to the operational processes.
Operations: For OT users, Sentryo also provides Operational visibility like PLC Start/Stop, operational events, as well as programming changes being made to PLCs, RTUs, and other industrial devices. With these capabilities OT can ensure maximum uptimes, production yields, improve safety, while maintain a robust cyber security posture.
Securing your business for the future
With organizations digitizing, connecting formerly siloed systems, and pushing for greater business intelligence, the need to do so in a secure way is more important than ever. With this acquisition we’re delivering the most secure network – from the networking hardware, to the operating software, and now to securing the operations critical to your success.
The Internet of Things (IoT) holds tremendous potential for companies to increase their productivity, gain access to deep intelligence and create new revenue opportunities. At the same time many organizations struggle with deploying IoT projects because they can’t scale to production and find it difficult to manage and secure a rapidly expanding infrastructure. To help our customers address this challenge, I am pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire Sentryo, a company based in Lyon, France that provides device visibility and security solutions for industrial control system (ICS) networks.
Sentryo’s industrial IoT/OT technology solution helps companies like those in the energy, manufacturing, oil and gas and transportation sectors ensure the resilience of their industrial networks and protect against cyber security attacks. By combining Cisco’s intent-based network architecture with Sentryo’s capabilities, customers can capture IoT benefits, manage networks and devices at scale, enable collaboration across IT and OT departments, and better protect their assets and data.
Both Cisco and Sentryo recognize the unique challenges facing industrial customers and our two companies have already had the opportunity to work together. We have incorporated Sentryo’s Edge Sensor and our industrial networking hardware with Cisco’s IOx application framework. Earlier this year, Cisco launched the industry’s first integrated network architecture that extends intent-based networking capabilities to the IoT edge. We believe that connectivity is foundational to IoT projects and by unleashing the power of the network we can dramatically improve operational efficiencies and uncover new business opportunities. With the addition of Sentryo, Cisco can offer control systems engineers deeper visibility into assets to optimize, detect anomalies and secure their networks.
The acquisition is expected to close before the end of Cisco’s Q1 Fiscal Year 2020 (October 26, 2019) pending all customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including in France. We look forward to welcoming the Sentryo team to Cisco!
If you’re a fan of golf like me, it doesn’t get any better than this!
The last time Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links, he tied or set nine different records. When he won the Masters at Augusta just a month ago, people around the world were talking about how he was back as a force in golf. What happens in Pebble Beach this June will have the world’s attention, and we couldn’t be more excited.
As the Official Technology Partner of the United States Golf Association (USGA), Cisco will debut the first-ever “Connected Course” at next month’s U.S. Open, hosted at the iconic and scenic Pebble Beach Golf Links. For the first time ever, the Championship will deploy a robust, course-wide Wi-Fi network to create a blanket of connectivity and enhance the experience for people watching, attending, covering and working the event. Cisco’s on-site technology presence will allow the USGA to distribute content, engage fans and more effectively run its marquee championship.
In addition, Cisco will conduct the first-ever test of Wi-Fi 6, the next-generation wireless standard, at a major sporting event, with a dedicated portion of the Pebble Beach course using Cisco Meraki access points. Wi-Fi 6 has significant implications for the sports industry because the network will deliver faster speeds for immersive-experience applications, more device and IoT capacity for high-density environments, more bandwidth (400 percent greater capacity), higher reliability, and reduced latency, all while being less taxing on a device’s battery (four times more power efficient).
The 2019 U.S. Open will be the first showcase opportunity for Cisco to collaborate with the USGA on one of the largest stages in golf, giving the USGA the speed and confidence to dynamically deliver content and new experiences to fans, including:
A newly-launched OTT app, available for Apple TV and Roku, will give consumers the ability to watch free, live-streaming coverage of the U.S. Open and other USGA Championships.
Powering the U.S. Open App, will feature engaging content, ranging from 360-degree virtual reality, to a virtual photo booth that utilizes 3D modelling technology, to wayfinding to easily navigate around the course, and advanced data and analytics.
Cisco Vision dynamic signage will be utilized at strategic locations throughout the venue, such as the Media Center, Fan Central, and throughout the course. Cisco Vision will also be prominently featured at the practice range to display TopTracer technology, which is powered by Cisco and allows fans to visualize player shot data on the range.
Cisco Webex collaboration technology will allow journalists from around the world to connect to press conferences and interact with players, broadening the reach of the global event.
This is only the beginning of what becomes possible through Cisco technology. As we re-focus the network infrastructure of the USGA today, we are also planning for a future that is even more connected and secure, driving invaluable opportunities in the sports and entertainment marketplace. It starts with connectivity, but the future is about using technology to create inspiration, drive participation, and ultimately facilitate business and industry transformation for the great game of golf.
Today, in our third year of the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge, we are proud to be recognizing a new group of young entrepreneurs who are creating cutting-edge, technology-based solutions capable of solving some of the world’s toughest challenges.
This year, 335 teams from around the world competed for a total of US$300K in prizes. Teams put forth solutions addressing challenges across the environment, healthcare, critical human needs, and more. Every team showed a deep understanding of the magnitude of the problems facing our global community, and developed innovative solutions to address them.
It has been exciting for us to see the progress CareNX, the 2018 Grand Prize winner, has made advancing their solution—a wearable, low-cost, non-stress test fetal monitoring device called Feton. Since they won the Challenge last year, they have not only reached 15 times more mothers since their inception in 2016 (for a total of 20,000), but were selected to be one of the startups for the inaugural class of Google’s new Launchpad Accelerator India.
With each year, I’m continually impressed by the ideas and solutions developed by these young entrepreneurs and inspired by their drive to make a difference. It’s with much excitement that I introduce you to the winners of this year’s competition:
Grand Prize (US$100,000)
Oorja (Imperial College London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) deploys and operates pay-as-you-go community solar pumping systems to provide affordable irrigation services to smallholder farmers, allowing them access to affordable water services year-round, reduce irrigation costs, grow high-value crops, and double their incomes. Learn more in the Oorja pitch video and on the team’s website.
First Runner-Up (US$75,000)
Solar Freeze (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya) is a portable, solar powered cold storage solution, mentorship and training program, and mobile app that helps smallholder farmers increase their post-harvest sales by preventing food loss. Learn more in the Solar Freeze pitch video and on the team’s website
Second Runners-Up (US$25,000 each)
Calla Imaging’s (Duke University, United States of America) solution is a patient-centric cervical cancer screening technology that health providers or women themselves can use. Designed to democratize cervical cancer screening, the technology uses automated algorithms for accurate diagnosis without an expert and the mHealth app for patient communication follow-up and data storage. Learn more in the Calla Imaging pitch video and on the team’s website.
Illuminum Greenhouses (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya) provides smallholder farmers with affordable greenhouses and drip kits equipped with solar powered and IoT sensors that enable greater protection of crops from pests and diseases and increased water efficiency through automation. Learn more in the Illuminum Greenhouses pitch video and on the team’s website.
TrashCon (R.V. College of Engineering, India) has developed a one-stop solution to sort and process any type of mixed municipal solid waste automatically into biodegradable waste and non-biodegradable waste with up to 99% efficiency. Learn more in the TrashCon pitch video and on the team’s website.
Third Runners-Up (US$10,000 each)
Blakbear (Imperial College London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is a soil-sensing platform that helps feed a growing world sustainably by using cutting-edge electrochemical sensing technology and machine learning to increase the yield farmers can get from their land, without using any more fertilizer than necessary. Learn more in the Blakbear pitch video and on the team’s website.
Neurobots (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil) offers stroke patients an innovative rehabilitation therapy with a brain computer interface capable of giving them 30% of their hand movement back in two weeks. Learn more in the Neurobots pitch video and on the team’s website.
Reeddi (University of Toronto, Canada), an innovative energy generation and distribution system, provides affordable, reliable, and clean energy via mobile capsules to individuals and businesses operating in energy poor regions of the world. Learn more in the Reeddi pitch video and on the team’s website.
TREP LABS (Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria) has created REALDRIP, a low-cost infusion monitor device for simpler and safer blood transfusion and drip treatment. REALDRIP continuously monitors flow rate and automates the process during drip treatment to prevent health complications. Learn more in the TREP LABS pitch video and on the team’s website.
People’s Choice Award (US$10,000)
Banoo (Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia) integrated a microbubble, IoT, and solar panel to provide smart aquaculture technology to help people boost their food resilience in areas where land and water availability is scarce. Learn more in the Banoo pitch video.
Congratulations to all of our 2019 Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge winners! I look forward to following their journeys and the impact they will make as their visions become reality! I encourage you to check out their solutions on the Global Problem Solver Challenge site.
One of the most important things we all need – and deserve – is a place to call home. A place we can settle into, spend time with our families, relax, rest, rejuvenate. But simply having a place to call home is not only out of reach for so many here in Silicon Valley, where Cisco has its headquarters, but for so many around the world.
Addressing homelessness – and helping those in need – is an imperative for all of us, especially those of us who have the ability to make a difference. At Cisco, we take that imperative close to heart – taking on big challenges and doing what we can to make an impact are core to who we are. In March 2018, we announced our commitment to Destination: Home, a San Jose-based public-private partnership which has demonstrated that providing permanent housing to chronically homeless people gives them the stability they need to change the trajectory of their lives.
We believe strongly in that Housing First approach, which is considered a best practice in solving for homelessness. Housing First prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, coupled with the supportive services needed to help individuals get back on their feet and improve their quality of life.
To further our efforts in making an impact, I am proud that this week we are announcing a commitment of $1 million over four years to support a Housing First pilot in Rome with Comunità di Sant’Egidio, an organization that for 50 years has addressed poverty in Italy and in other countries around the world. Sant’Egidio has a long history of focusing on the homeless and poor, and with their dedication to making a difference, they are an ideal partner for us. We will also work closely with fio.PSD, which manages the Housing First Italia network.
Sant’Egidio will be responsible for providing the housing and supportive services to the homeless individuals, and fio.PSD will provide the appropriate guidelines, training, and monitoring and evaluation to share best practices, and track progress to ensure a successful pilot.
Housing First is gaining traction in Europe and Italy, but the approach has not been tested in Rome. We see our funds as a catalytic investment that will enable two well-established organizations with deep expertise in homelessness to test a new approach and serve as a model for others, ultimately using learnings to replicate and scale the approach throughout Rome.
We are also committed to helping these two partners with a technology investment – our team in Italy will work closely with these two organizations to supply them with the technology they need to speed and scale their operations.
We will also be integrating our Networking Academy training program into Sant’Egidio’s offering of training for the underserved population they serve, and we are committed to helping Sant’Egidio with job training and placement of graduates to jobs in the IT field in Italy. Our Networking Academies play a key role in providing those who seek an education and access the tools and skills they need to find employment, and we are excited to support those who need to get back on their feet get the housing and education support they need.
Lastly, none of these efforts would be possible without the passion of those who want to help, and Cisco has some of the most passionate employees. We have set a company-wide goal that by 2020, we will have 80% of our employees around the world giving time and resources to make a difference, and Italy is committed to being the first country to meet this target. The Cisco Italy team is committing to 5,000 volunteer hours by end of this year. Employees will volunteer their time to efforts across Italy – both skills-based volunteering, with engineers lending a hand to help with tech installations, and through work at shelters.
I am excited to see how our commitment to building bridges between hope and possibility extends through Rome. My hope is that with this commitment, we will see more people gain a home, and the ability to truly better their lives.
The rollout of better connectivity with 5G and Wi-Fi 6 is a once-in-a-generation gamechanger and I predict an explosion of innovation as a result. We’ve seen it before; when connectivity improves there is an accompanying wave of new products, services and experiences in all of the adjacent industries; and in networking, that’s a lot! The difference between the upcoming wave of innovation and the one we experienced with 4G and LTE is ‘who will be leading the charge’.
4G revolutionized the consumer experience, providing the wireless foundation for the invention of the smartphone putting the internet into our pockets. The introduction of the smartphone then prompted the development of millions of apps that we access multiple times a day to share photos, find a restaurant, pay bills and accomplish virtually any task or access any service from the palm of our hand. Now, we live with our smartphones always within arm’s reach and demand faster and more reliable connectivity as we use the multitude of services on our device. It has been the individual consumer that has forced businesses – and even entire industries – to adapt.
5G and Wi-Fi 6 represent the next major leap in connectivity.
Hate when you’re at a concert or sporting event and can’t immediately post a video to your story or get a message to a friend, or when you move to a far corner of the office and lose internet access? That’s because today’s wireless access points and 4G cells can’t handle the number of devices trying to connect simultaneously. Wi-Fi 6 delivers up to 400% greater capacity and is far more effective in crowded settings. Latency is also reduced allowing faster posting, downloads and loading of apps or webpages. This improved connection will also be less draining on connected device’s batteries making them up to four times more power efficient.
The 4G era brought the digital and physical worlds together through a consumer device – the smartphone. This caused massive disruption, as more than one industry found itself completely transformed because consumers could connect and share information in new ways. Many businesses resisted this change until they were forced to adapt, not because of a business opportunity but purely to survive.
The Wi-Fi 6 evolution will be different. As Wi-Fi 6 will reach maturity much quicker than 5G, it will be the enterprise having the opportunity to drive innovation. And they are hungry to do so, as many businesses have figured out how a digital experience can a be a differentiator. They also have more to work with. Lights, fridges, footballs and grapevines are all becoming connected, meaning we can view the world through an entirely new, digital lens. Whether to make operations safe and more efficient, or to offer consumers a more personalized experience, we’ll see companies embrace this transition – not resist it.
The exciting part of all of this is we still don’t know exactly what use cases and applications are going to emerge. That said, I do believe that Wi-Fi 6 will drive innovation in two main areas:
IoT at scale
Imagine if students could gain entirely new understanding of past events by reliving them through virtual reality. I’m sure experiencing a Martin Luther King or Abraham Lincoln speech as if you’re there makes for a more lasting impression on a student. Or a surgeon being able to take detailed scans of a patient and practicing a procedure in virtual reality before ever making a cut. A warehouse can be outfitted with millions of sensors to allow autonomous electric robots and vehicles to fulfill orders and ship products almost instantaneously. All of this becomes possible with Wi-Fi 6’s increased bandwidth and lower latency.
Wired for Wireless
Wi-Fi 6 and 5G offer enormous opportunities for productivity and innovation, but successfully adopting these technologies at scale will be a challenge. These innovations will increase business mobile traffic up to seven times by 2022 and the number of IoT devices will increase to the billions. This makes security more complicated and critical and puts intense pressure on IT to manage and secure a constantly growing network. The businesses that can successfully address each of these challenges will be the ones that thrive in the new wireless era.
Cisco has been re-architecting the network to meet these challenges and unveiled its intent-based networking portfolio to prepare customers for this wireless-first world. With a software-focused approach, the network unlocks data and insights that will enable IT to support the business in real-time. It automates routine tasks and embeds security into the network itself. These efforts are helping customers and consumers capitalize on the opportunities Wi-Fi 6 and 5G offer, while ensuring security and the best user experience in an increasingly connected world.
Cisco also completed Wi-Fi 6 connection tests with Intel and Samsung to address the inevitable issues that come with a new standard. New Wi-Fi 6 access points across Cisco’s Catalyst and Meraki portfolios offer custom, programmable chipsets and access to industry-leading analytics capabilities for businesses. These new APs deliver a more secure wireless network and can communicate with multiple IoT protocols, including BLE, Zigbee and Thread.
We’re also introducing a new core switch for the campus network. For 20 years, the Catalyst 6000 family of switches have served as the very foundation of many customer campus network. It has been one of the most successful, innovative networking products in the history of the Internet. But businesses today require a networking foundation that is built to solve the challenges posed by our new wireless-first world. The new Catalyst 9600 core switch will do just that and will be the foundation for our customer campus networks for many years into the future.
An explosion of innovation is coming. Is your business ready to lead the charge?
Every company today is going through a transformation and Cisco is no different. I believe that what has helped us throughout has been the power of communications – frequent, authentic and transparent communications. This principle is incredibly important to me both internally and externally and has served us well. I am incredibly proud of what our teams have accomplished for our customers and communities around the world, and we are honored to share the work that we do.
Today, I was thrilled to announce to the Cisco team that Stella Low will be joining Cisco as our new SVP and Chief Communications Officer. Stella is an exceptional communicator and leader and will serve as a member of my Executive Leadership Team. Given the strategic importance of communications in this digital age and our belief in transparency, how and when we share our story will be a key factor in our future, the success of our customers, and the impact we will have around the world.
Below is the note I shared with our team at Cisco. I am so honored to welcome Stella to the team.
You’ve heard me say many times how proud I am of what we have accomplished together over the past few years. We have driven game-changing innovation for our customers, evolved our business model and made Cisco a top place to work all around the world. We have an incredible story – shaped by all of you – which is why I’m excited to welcome Stella Low, our new SVP and Chief Communications Officer (CCO), to Cisco and my Executive Leadership Team.
I’m particularly excited for Stella to join our team, not only because of her breadth of expertise in technology communications, but also for her passion for great storytelling, building strong communities and her inclusive, solutions-oriented approach. She knows that the best teams are diverse teams that come together to drive business results and success for our people.
Stella joins us most recently from Dell Technologies where she served as SVP and head of global communications after Dell’s acquisition of EMC. She had previously served as EMC’s head of communications and, prior to that, led EMEA PR and Communications for EMC. She has held various marketing and communications roles in both large and small companies as well as founded her own communications firm.
As our new CCO, Stella will be responsible for shaping our story and reputation in the market. She and the communications team will drive one connected story spanning our business, our technology and our culture with an emphasis on simplicity and innovation. It is critical that we are able to share our strategy and our story both internally and externally, and Stella will be focused on impactful ways to share the great work that we do.
Originally from the UK, Stella has been working her way west. After moving from London to Boston six years ago, Stella and her husband and daughter are relocating to the Bay Area along with their two toy poodles, Pebbles and Bam Bam.
I’m thrilled that Stella will be joining us starting today. I am confident she will be an incredibly valuable member of our team and I look forward to her expertise and counsel. Please join me in welcoming Stella to Cisco, and thank you, as always, for all that you do for Cisco!