Cisco Live 2020: Pandemic Brings Opportunities for Innovation

Partners will be instrumental in helping with COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

June 17, 2020

5 Min Read
Business Innovation

At this week’s Cisco Live 2020, the IT giant said it’s been proactive in helping its partners, customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is focused on investing and building the best technology going forward.

More than 100,000 customers, partners and members of the public are participating in Cisco Live 2020, it’s first virtual event.

Cisco Live 2020 was postponed from earlier this month amid the combined escalation of U.S. racial tensions and the worldwide pandemic.


Cisco’s Chuck Robbins

“While 2020 has brought a lot of pain, a lot of sadness and a lot of anger, I do believe that we can take these setbacks and turn them into progress,” said Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s chairman and CEO. “We can take the challenges and turn them into opportunity, and take some of the hate that we see in the world and turn it into hope. We believe in what’s possible and we’re here this week to talk about that — possibilities.”

And partners will be instrumental in helping with recovery efforts, he said.

Cisco announced a new portfolio of products and services focused on business resiliency. They address the need to help a secure remote workforce and the requirement to support a trusted workplace.

The company also unveiled key Webex enhancements, including security and compliance capabilities, insights to deliver consistent user experiences, and an integration with Box. There’s also new intent-based networking offerings that will help optimize business and network operations.

COVID-19 Response

Since the pandemic began, Cisco has delivered free collaboration and security offers to make sure “everyone had the tools they needed to execute during this challenging time,” Robbins said.

Keep up with the latest developments in how the channel is supporting partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We came out with new bundles around teleworker, mobile health care, pop-up branches, and we put $2.5 billion into the marketplace for business resiliency, helping many of our customers who may be facing short-term liquidity challenges, deferring payments on needed technology until January of next year,” he said.

Cisco has contributed roughly $500 million to COVID-19 response, Robbins said.

“I saw a survey that said 75% of the companies in the United States will accelerate their technology transformation as a result of what’s just happened,” he said. “And that’s because they believe in the importance of what you and what we do every day. And we will continue to build the right technology and continue to deliver the capacity so that you can connect, secure and empower all of your organization and continue to drive productivity and communicate with your customers, your partners and your employees effectively as we move forward.”

As employees begin returning to work, companies will want trusted workplace solutions, Robbins said. Those include social distancing monitoring and insights.

“We have the ability to help let you know when your employees or your organization has people that are spending too much time in too close proximity, in the spirit of social distancing that needs to occur right now,” he said. “We even have partners that we can actually send alerts to in a badge that you’ve been too close for awhile, if that’s what you like to do. There are so many of these; remote office connectivity. And then we’ve extended …

… the business-critical services that so many of you have been dependent on.”

Collaboration Leader

Javed Khan is Cisco’s vice president and general manager of collaboration. He said when shelter-in-place began, Cisco already was the leading collaboration provider on the planet with WebEx. Half of the world’s video traffic was running on its network.

“But by April, we would hit 25 billion meeting minutes. That is three times the size of our normal, monthly average,” he said. “I know some of our competitors’ products; they are useful for leisure activities like yoga and happy hour — and I’m all for happy hour too. But when it comes to business meetings, learning classrooms, doctor appointments, government hearings — those need safeguarding.”

Security has to be “core to who you are as a company,” Khan said.

“It is not something [you] can bolt on top as an afterthought,” he said. “Cisco WebEx has always been the most secure, the most reliable and the most trusted platform in the world.”

Cisco also introduced SecureX, an integrated cloud-native cybersecurity platform. It connects Cisco’s integrated security portfolio with customers’ entire security infrastructure for a consistent and simplified experience.

Gee Rittenhouse is senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s security business group. He said there’s been a massive shift to simplicity and automation in cybersecurity. Cisco has been working on this simplicity journey for quite some time, he said.

“With SecureX, in one place, you can see your entire environment, threats and incidents, and resolve policy changes, all in one place,” he said. “SecureX is the platform to secure what’s now and what’s next.”

Stay tuned to Channel Futures for more coverage of Cisco Live 2020 this week.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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