Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers and other officials at the Cisco Live event are pushing an aggressive plan to expand the company's reach beyond its networking roots and deeper into myriad spaces, from the data center to online collaboration to video to power distribution. Chambers pointed to 30 sectors that Cisco either will enter or grow in over the next 12 to 18 months. The moves promise to bring Cisco into even greater competition with the likes of HP and IBM.
is using the platform of its Cisco Live show in San
Francisco to push its aggressive expansion into spaces
beyond its traditional networking business.
During his keynote speech June 30, Cisco CEO
John Chambers talked about the 30 new "market adjacencies" that the
company is continuing to grow into, from video and sports and entertainment to
digital signatures, Smart
and the virtual data center, which includes Cisco's new UCS (Unified
Cisco also plans to touch on all business sectors, from health care to
education, and to fuel how business is done in the future, from telecommuting
to online collaboration.
The company will continue to build on its core networking business, Chambers
said, but the global recession is helping to fuel a transition in business into
such areas as virtualization, online collaboration and video, all of which can
be made use of to help businesses work better and more efficiently. And Cisco
wants to be in on that, he said.
Such moves are bound to bring Cisco into tighter competition with other
vendors, including many that also are valuable partners. That happened in
March, when Cisco rolled out its UCS strategy, which includes Cisco-branded
blade servers, bringing it into direct competition with such vendors as
two companies that
buy billions of dollars' worth of Cisco networking technology every year.
However, Chambers said he doesn't look at the competition, but rather at whether
what Cisco is offering can help businesses.
Other Cisco officials have recently talked about areas into which the
company will grow. In a briefing June 29, Cisco CTO
Padmasree Warrior outlined how Cisco will expand its reach in the burgeoning
cloud computing realm. Warrior pointed to Cisco's UCS and virtualization as the
key drivers for the new virtualized data center, and said Cisco will sell the
various infrastructure pieces that businesses will need for cloud computing.
The company also will offer SAAS (software as a service), as it does already
with its WebEx
However, Warrior said Cisco won't try to take on Amazon.com or Google by
offering its own public cloud infrastructure.
In addition, in a briefing June 30, Doug Dennerline, senior vice president
and general manager of Cisco's Collaboration Software Group, reportedly said the
company-as Google and others already have-may offer software online that would
rival Microsoft's Office applications and would be accessed via Cisco's WebEx
Such comments backed up what Chambers said during his keynote. As he has in
prior speeches this year, Chambers pointed to the Flip
as a key communications tool. Cisco bought Pure Digital, the
maker of the Flip, earlier in 2009.
"Video is the communication vehicle that changes how business will be
done," he said.
Online collaboration will continue growing, Chambers said. Cisco has
migrated many of its own corporate meetings-which in the past would have meant
bringing people from all over the world to a central location-into the online
world, saving millions of dollars in expenses and boosting productivity, he
Cisco also has done the same thing with launches of new products and, as
evidenced by its user conference this week, with how it reaches out to
customers and the media on other levels.
"It hasn't just changed how we communicate as a company, but how we work,
how we learn," Chambers said.
News coming out of Cisco continues to illustrate how the company is using
its combined product portfolio to expand its reach. For example, at the
National Educational Computing Conference June 29 in Washington,
Cisco officials outlined ways that its online collaboration, networking,
security, wireless and media systems offerings can be used by school systems to
increase efficiency, save money, improve security and teach students about the