Cisco Live 2016: 10 Innovation Areas To Watch For

Here's What To Look For During Cisco Live

Tens-of-thousands of Cisco customers, employees and channel partners will descend upon Las Vegas next week for Cisco Live where executives will sound off on the networking giant's future and innovation around security, Internet of Things, collaboration and the future of the network.

Attendees are seeking to get hands-on experience with Cisco products as CEO Chuck Robbins is expected to set the tone of the event in the opening keynote on July 11. If history is any indication, the San Jose, Calif.-based company will unveil several new products as well.

Here are 10 innovation areas to watch for at Cisco Live at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas running from July 10 to July 14.


Many eyeballs at Cisco Live will be fixated on hyper-converged systems with Cisco's first hyper-converged infrastructure product, Hyperflex, being featured during the event.

The product began shipping to customers in March, although several partners told CRN in April that shipments to solution providers would be delayed. Cisco will hopefully provide numbers about how HyperFlex is selling in the market. Cisco executives will likely talk about HyperFlex during one of the "Innovation Talks: Next Generation Data Center," scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on July 11 and July 13.

Hyperflex combines Cisco UCS servers, networking and software-defined storage technology from its strategic partnership with SpringPath.


Security is top of mind for Cisco in 2016 and there's little doubt security will be front and center during Cisco Live. In June the networking giant announced a deal to buy CloudLock, a cloud-based security provider, for $293 million, its fourth security vendor acquisition in the past 12 months

With its security business booming, expect Cisco to possibly have a new product up its sleeve ready to unveil during the event. The keynote speech around security will be held at 9:00 a.m. on July 12 led by Cisco's security executives.


Cisco's popular developers program, DevNet, is hitting the road for Cisco Live, where attendees will get hands-on experience using Cisco technology alongside support from the developer teams. The company has set up an interactive space, dubbed DevNet Zone, where people can play with Cisco technology and open-source SDKs and APIs to build network-enabled solutions. There are currently over 300,000 people enrolled in Cisco DevNet, according to Cisco.

Susie Wee, CTO and vice president of Cisco DevNet, will host a can't-miss lecture on the main stage on July 13 at 12:00 p.m. for her talk "Unleash Your Geek with DevNet – Everyone is a Developer in Today's Innovation-Driven Economy."

Cisco DNA

One of Cisco's biggest initiatives in decades is its Digital Network Architecture (DNA), unveiled in March, with the goal of changing Cisco from a hardware company to a software- and service-centric leader. DNA will be key to Cisco's new software subscription model that will eventually change the sales model of its channel community.

At 9:00 a.m. on July 13, Cisco networking leaders Jeff Reed, Todd Nightingale and David Goeckeler will host a program on the main stage titled "The Future of the Network Is Here." Partners should keep an eye out for any new details around DNA.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is near the top of Cisco's list of markets it wants to be the leader in, as Robbins says IoT is the biggest opportunity the company has had in decades to drive revenue. Cisco is betting big on IoT as seen in its $1.4 billion acquisition this year of IoT platform provider Jasper Technologies.

The network giant, as well as its channel community, say IoT sales are increasing in 2016 while Cisco consistently unleashes new IoT products. Partners interested in learning more about Cisco IoT opportunities should attend "Driving Digital Value with Analytics and IoT" at Cisco Live on July 12 at 9:00 a.m.. The talk will be led by Cisco's collaboration and IoT superstar Rowan Trollope.

Watch Out For Acquisitions

Don't be surprised if Cisco uses the event as an opportunity to unveil an acquisition or two. At Cisco's 2016 Partner Summit in March, a three-day event, the networking leader announced its plan to acquire cloud management startup CliQr for $260 million, as well as Leaba Semiconductor – an Israel-based networking chip designer-- for a price tag of $320 million.

Under Robbins leadership, Cisco has been on a massive acquisition spree around the cloud and security.


As hyper-converged systems gain more traction in the market, partners say Cisco needs to step up its storage game. The networking giant closed its Invicta storage business last year after a failed attempt to enter the storage market following its acquisition of Whiptail in 2013.

In an interview with CRN, Robbins said Cisco's strategy around storage is to form strategic partnerships with storage vendors. "Right now I think we're very pleased and the partnership model seems to be working," said Robbins in May, regarding Cisco's storage strategy.

Although storage won't be the top buzz at Cisco Live this year, partners should be on the lookout for possible partnership announcements around storage. In June, Cisco revealed a new investment in the storage company Elastifile.

Service Providers

Cisco is shaking up its service provider business this year as partners say the company is shifting its service provider sales model to a more enterprise approach – recognizing the need to focus on a new way of providing services to cloud-focused businesses. Cisco's global service provider business has reportedly been undergoing a reorganization and Nick Adamo, senior vice president of Cisco's global service provider practice, is scheduled to leave later this year.

Partners interested in the new way Cisco is targeting the service provider market should attend Cisco's program on the mainstage on July 14 at 11:30 a.m. titled, "The Future of SP and Your Role In It." The speech will be led by service provider leader Yvette Kanouff.


Cisco has been known to unveil new technology partnerships during their major events and Cisco Live will likely be no different. The network leader recently formed an IoT partnership with IBM targeting the IoT and collaboration technology markets, which company executives are also expected to discuss during the event.

Partners should expect to hear that Cisco has formed some new strategic alliances during the four-day event.

Chuck In Charge

Robbins will set the tone for Cisco Live as the opening keynote speaker on the main stage on July 11 at 10:30 a.m. to address thousands of his employees, customers and partners. Robbins, who's been at the helm for nearly a year now, is set to talk about how Cisco is leading the digital age while outlining his vision and strategy for the company.

It will be interesting to hear the key pillars in Robbins speech, whether he talks broadly about transitioning customers to the cloud or if he pinpoints specific areas he wants Cisco to focus on in becoming the dominant market leader in such areas as security or IoT.