Cisco's chief executive Chuck Robbins has pledged his commitment to the channel at the firm's Partmer Summit, at which he urged them to get on board with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Some 2,000 partner delegates from more than 1,000 companies from 88 countries have gathered in San Francisco this week for the firm's second partner bash of the year. The first was held in San Diego in March, but the company decided to move the date of the event to better align with its fiscal year and sales kick off. Rather than leaving it 18 months before having another, the firm decided to have two this year instead as a one-off.
During his keynote address to partners, Robbins (pictured) talked up the IoT opportunity and stressed that although the trend is far from widespread, it is most certainly happening already.
"Every company is looking to drive more efficiency," he said. "Did anyone here set out your goals this year and say ‘we would like to be less efficient'? [In] fast food restaurants all the ordering process will happen on your mobile device and location-based analytics in the network are going to tell them where you decided to sit when you walked in, and the food will just be delivered to you. You're thinking ‘that's not revolutionary, it's happening today'. That's my point.
"In Q1 of this calendar year there were more cars connected to the internet than mobile phones. That was Q1 and we're in Q4 now. Think about that."
"Many of you have heard me joke that elevator companies - they don't want to tell elevators, they want to sell vertical movement as a service. Or I am not selling a traffic light to a city - I want to sell traffic management. Think about what it's doing to our businesses. Customers don't necessarily want to buy a product all the time - they want to buy the outcome that product creates. This is fundamentally changing everything we think about our customers and how we engage with them. And it's happening now. And it's happening faster than ever before.
"Here are a couple of statistics and when I read them they were astonishing. In Q1 of this calendar year there were more cars connected to the internet than mobile phones. That was Q1 and we're in Q4 now. Think about that. Fast forward to Q2 and machine-to-machine connections were greater than phones and tablets combined. It's happening. We're connecting vending machines, we're connecting vehicles, we're connecting remote POS terminals, we're connecting solar machines - we are connecting everything. And the energy around the ideas of what's possible is astonishing."
Around ninety per cent of Cisco's business goes through the channel. Robbins reaffirmed the company's channel commitment in his presentation.
"As we're embarking on the biggest technology transformation of our lifetime, when we talk to customers who are talking about connecting a million elevators, do you know what they care about? Who are they going to partner with," he said. " They're thinking about it because they are betting their future on this transformation and they know things are moving faster than ever before.
"You should trust that we're going to deliver innovation across all the areas that I talked about today and that we are going to continue to invest in helping you and your customers. But as this transformation occurs and as markets are moving faster than they have before, there is one thing I know: partnerships matter. No one can do this alone. We can't, you can't. Just like our customers are having to decide who to bet on, we, much like many of our competitors, have to decide who are we betting on.
"That's easy because we have history. We know each other. We're not perfect, but we don't have to convince you we're going to do something because we have done it for 20 years. We trust you. You trust us. Our customers trust both of us. Because of this history and this trust, we have had tremendous success. So I want you to know one thing - we've navigated every transition over the last two decades and we are going to navigate the next one."
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