Coffee, Cisco and John Chambers
The VAR Guy has been spotted at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, loading up on coffee and checking email in the casino’s first floor food court. Free WiFi and caffeine; it’s the perfect combo to get our resident blogger energized for the Cisco Partner Summit. Although the conference program doesn’t start until Tuesday morning, the VAR Guy has private meetings this evening with several of his trusted sources. Here’s what he expects to see and hear at the big event.
First, TelePresence will be everywhere. Some people call it next-generation video conferencing. But that doesn’t do the technology justice. TelePresence combines plasma screens, surround sound and room design techniques to generate “virtual” meetings between multiple offices. Cisco introduced the technology last year, but The VAR Guy suspects it has been slow to catch on in the channel. At $300,000 or more per deployment, TelePresence requires customers who have deep pockets and lots of vision. It also requires monthly support for solutions providers. Expect Cisco to provide an update on TelePresence’s momentum to date.
Second, watch for Cisco to politely–but firmly–describe how it must cooperate and compete with Microsoft in the unified communications market. The big question is who will lead the charge to unified communications: Cisco partners or Microsoft solutions providers? Naturally, Cisco doesn’t want the folks in Redmond to gain an upper hand in this market.
Third, watch for Cisco CEO John Chambers to emmulate Yankees closer Mariano Rivera at this event. Instead of opening the summit, Chambers will close it. The move strives to ensure that Cisco’s partners will stick around for the entire show.
The VAR Guy will be there. But first, he’s got a lot of meetings to attend–including one in five minutes. Check back tonight for more updates.