Cisco’s Chambers on Telecom Phase II

As I sit in a press room in Chicago eagerly awaiting John Chamber’s entrance, about 60 or so members of the media are catching up on gossip and the happenings in the industry. Cisco’s Jeff Spagnola Vice President, Worldwide Service Provider Marketing kicked off the press conference and made a reference to Castaway, the movie with Tom Hanks. He discussed the end of the movie where Hanks had to choose from 4 different roads. He mentioned this crossroads is exactly what the service provider industry is dealing with today.
Jeff mentioned many carriers are on the way to a next generation IP infrastructure and the choices these providers make are complicated. Do they go into IPTV, telepresence, triple play, partner with content providers, etc. The answer according to Jeff, is Yes! He says Cisco is here to partner with service providers to make all these things this happen.
Jeff mentioned some of the recent releases his company has come out with to facilitate intelligent networks as well as a key telepresence certification which so far BT and Sprint have received. Furthermore he touched on a mesh networks enabling announcement.
John started by saying the transition to IP will happen faster than we think.
Fixed/Mobile convergence is coming and service providers will add value. He said it is great to be a plumber, meaning the companies supplying data pipes to customers. He also was referencing service providers who seem unhappy to just provide “dumb pipes.”
“Web 2.0 is the future will improve productivity for a decade or more,” according to John. He also pointed out if you are a service provider just beginning to tackle these issues, you are late.
The first generation of networking according to Chambers was about self-service and the next decade is about consumer content which is wiki-based. Social networking is how Cisco manages its projects internally today. This change has allowed Cisco to be up to 9x more productive than before.
Phase two of communications is many-to-many collaboration over any device and/or network in the world according to John. He says productivity will continue to improve. He made reference to a chart he showed the room as the same one he presented to Alan Greenspan in 1997. He said it had all come true.
He mentioned recent capital spending has slowed and subsequently innovation slowed down as well. Going forward, collaboration and web 2.0 will rocket us forward.
According to John, web 2.0 is telepresence, unified communications, podcasting and other technologies which improve collaboration.
John says the network will become the platform and his company is working on combining Scientific Atlanta, Linksys and Cisco technologies and platforms with the best of web 2.0.
He further went on to say the reason he was late to the press conference was because the company’s largest customer in the world was busy telling him that their telepresence solution will be a huge change in business and an incredible revenue generating opportunity.
John Chambers believes strongly we are entering telecom phase II.
“We have the capability to gain access to any content over any network.” (with proper authorization of course). He continued, “This changes entertainment and healthcare models as well as how we interact with family and friends.”
John has never seen such a surge in technology since the 1990. This bodes very well for the industry.
He says his recent conversations with government leaders has shifted from technology discussions to how the technology will change industries and lives.
Cisco has always done things 5-10 years before their customers and he says they are 3x more productive than the nearest competitors as a result.
Chambers closed by saying phones and all devices in the home, office and service provider network will interconnect. We will have the option to access content from various devices and we will see content stored in a variety of locations. According to Chambers, “What Cisco does is to make sure all of these technologies work with one another.”
I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Chambers if his company has considered teaching other companies how to acquire companies as Cisco has done it so incredibly well. I referenced an article where I called him the Jack Welch of tech. According to John his company has helped other companies do things the way Cisco does and although he doesn’t see this as a core part of the company’s business it is something they do to help their networking business as once they educate their customers about improving their business processes they tend to buy more Cisco equipment.

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