Last week, my team and I felt really blessed to be able to go to Cisco Live in Las Vegas for the first time in two years — a sentiment that was felt by many of the other conference participants and echoed by Cisco CEO, Chuck Robbins, when he came on stage for the keynote.
He opened his keynote by explaining how the main priorities he spoke about in 2019 (the last Cisco Live) still stand true:
Reimagine applications. For example, everyone right now is rewriting applications to run in the cloud (private or public cloud).
Power hybrid work. Hybrid work is more than just remote collaboration. It involves not only working in a massively distributed environment with co-workers, applications, and non-localized data, but also crossing networks, infrastructure, and many other aspects.
Secure the enterprise. Distributed environments and current global events create a very complicated thread landscape and increased cyber activities.
Transforminfrastructure. Traditionally, apps ran in a private data center but now we need agile, dynamic networks that can accommodate any traffic pattern as well as different usage patterns.
The difference now is that CEOs around the world not only understand these priorities but have bought into them. Because the pandemic forced everyone to become a technologist very quickly, C-Level management now sees what is possible with technology.
For four days, we learned, networked, and got inspired by the world's leading minds, and while we are still sorting through notes and synthesizing our thoughts as a team, I wanted to share the biggest key takeaways for me.
Bridging The Digital Divide
According to a study by Pew Research, 40% of low-income adults in the United States do not have broadband or a computer at home. Three in ten adults don’t own a smartphone. However, during the pandemic, these simple things became the gateway to accessing healthcare, education, and even food deliveries. In a world that increasingly becomes connected, Cisco is focusing on bridging that digital divide. Chuck Robbins explains how:
"In 2019, we evolved the purpose statement of the company to 'Power an Inclusive Future for All'. Because we believe that our technology is at the core of connecting people around the world — in rural villages and areas in the United States that have been left behind — we can do what I talked about earlier: provide education, provide healthcare, provide opportunities, and provide jobs."
Cisco stressed multiple times during Cisco Live that they intend to close the global divide by fostering internet inclusiveness through more broadband. It is also worth noting that this notion was always followed by a comment about Cisco's goal to be fully Net-Zero by 2040.
While many initiatives of this sort have come and gone, it is commendable how serious Cisco is about affecting change economically in places that need it. Even the jaded skeptic in me thinks that it is in Cisco's best interest to spread hybrid work through broadband everywhere. After all, they build the hardware for it, and although they are not known for software, it turns out that they are one of the largest software companies in the world.
Hybrid Work Is Here To Stay
There is no question that hybrid workplaces are here to stay. This means we have to adapt from a technology and infrastructure point of view to one that focuses on providing great employee technology experiences regardless of location. For this to happen, your network, hardware, and collaboration suite need to work seamlessly together.
We all have to work in reimagined work spaces (e.g., dedicated home office, shared home space, conference rooms, open office space, and others) and adapt to flexible work styles (e.g., team meetings, all-hands meetings, events, board/customer meetings) that require different levels of preparation and come with different stakes.
Consequently, we will need to step up our security and manageability to make it all not only work, but work great. Cisco introduced lots of new innovations and improvements around Cisco WebEx, Meraki, and ThousandEyes to do just that.
Increasing IT Complexity Is Shifting To The End User
Last, but not least, there was a loud and clear call for more IT simplicity. In the past few years, unprecedented technological capabilities have been developed by the IT community. However, along with these new and improved capabilities came the price of increased complexity. And, unfortunately, more often than not, the burden from this increased complexity is passed on to and carried by the end-user.
This all resonated with me and the team very much as our mission at MiaRec is not only to bridge the gap between organizations and their customers by enabling their call center agents to securely and in a compliant manner record calls, but also to bridge the gap between the inaccessible voice data and the speech analytics that hold the desires, needs, and expectations of our customers. Our goal is to provide our customers with unified contact center innovation, simply.