Cisco's Chambers: 'Nobody Eats Our Lunch'


Cisco Systems may have had a bumpy few quarters, but CEO John Chambers told attendees at the Cisco Live event this week in San Francisco that the company's future looks as bright as ever.

"Cisco has had very, very good growth," Chambers said during his Cisco Live keynote address Monday, adding that Cisco rivals like HP and IBM haven't seen consistent revenue growth throughout the past two years. "We saw emerging market surprises. But watch how we bounce back."

Chambers, addressing the more than 25,000 Cisco customers and partners attending Cisco Live this week, said much of Cisco's future growth will stem from the Internet of Everything (IoE), or a growing network of everyday things -- like cars, refrigerators or street lamps -- that use a web connection to communicate with each other and the people around them.  

[Related: Cisco Continues Collaboration Blitz With New All-In-One Desktop Devices, Hosted Meeting Service]

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco has dubbed the Internet of Everything the fourth major phase of the Internet, following connectivity, the "networked economy" or the e-commerce boom, and finally, the emergence of social media, mobility and cloud.

Cisco for the past year has been touting the Internet of Everything as a significant opportunity for itself, its partners and its customers. The networking giant reiterated Monday that it sees the Internet of Everything as a massive $19 trillion opportunity across the public and private sectors combined.

Cisco Live comes just days after Cisco reported its third-quarter earnings results, which showed the company's revenue dip year-over-year for the third consecutive quarter. On a conference call with analysts discussing the results, Chambers again attributed the drop to sluggishness in Cisco's service provider and emerging markets businesses.

But what sets Cisco apart from its competitors and positions it for long-term growth, Chambers said, is that the $19 trillion opportunity customers stand to gain through the Internet of Everything can't fully be realized without Cisco technology.   

"The simple concept, as you move forward with the Internet of Everything, is that you have to get the right information at the right time to the right device to the right person to make the right decision," Chambers said. "It sounds simple, but it is very, very difficult to do, and is almost impossible to do without our architectures and technology."

In addition to Cisco's new Application Centric Infrastructure, an SDN architecture that leverages a mix of Cisco hardware and software, Chambers said Cisco's vision for fog computing, or a platform for driving compute capabilities to devices at the edge of a network, will help it emerge as the Internet of Everything leader.

The 19-year Cisco CEO also stressed that Cisco has a track record of thriving, and ultimately winning, in major market transitions, such as Voice over IP and video.

"A few] years ago, there was talk of Huawei and Avaya and Juniper, eating our lunch," Chambers said. "Nobody eats our lunch. We can win together."

Cisco isn't alone in its bullish stance  on the Internet of Everything. Industry analyst firm Gartner said in March it expects the Internet of Things (IoT) -- a subset of the broader Internet of Everything that involves machine-to-machine, or device-to-device, connections --  to have a "potential transformational effect on the data center market, its customers, technology providers, technologies and sales and marketing models." The firm estimated that there will be 26 billion IoT-related units installed by 2020, with IoT product and service providers generating incremental revenues exceeding $300 billion.

This week's Cisco Live event is the 25th in Cisco's history and boasts the biggest attendance yet, Cisco said. In addition to the new collaboration devices it unveiled Monday, Cisco said it will reveal new details around InterCloud, its global hybrid cloud strategy, at the event this week. 

PUBLISHED MAY 19, 2014