Cisco to leverage 30 focus areas to drive future growth n

Starting with six focus areas in 2003, which it had identified to drive future growth and revenue streams, Cisco has now expnded the number five fold to 30. The common theme underpinning all these is the explosion of data traffic over wired and wireless IP networks.
According to Cisco CEO John Chambers, the company is planning to move at a previously un-attempted speed across these areas.

The company's core business of IP infrastructure mainly routers is expected to remain at the heart of its business, however the company is gearing up for what it calls the zetabyte era that will be driven by the movement of massive amounts and data and multimedia traffic. It is therefore working on the original six directions including wireless, optical, home networking, storage network, IP telephony and security.

The company's wireless activities have focused on consolidation of its market lead in consumer and enterprise Wi-Fi; selling IP core networks to 3G, 4G and converged carriers, initiatives into mobile broadband infrastructure through metro network and WiMAX projects. Also on the cards is a possible shift towards a wider range of wireless IP end user devices, possibly including smartphones.

Cisco has also moved into blade servers and storage. This will support two trends that will serve to ramp up the use of IP networks, the company's lifeblood and also be key to mobile and converged operators.

These include cloud services that store users' data and applications on huge central servers, possibly run by operators and accessed securely over the internet and the emergence of machine-to-machine and 'smart-grid' applications over IP and broadband-class connections rather than the conventional low speed, low power M2M systems.

Public utilities in the US are increasingly pushing for smart grids sparking a bigger interest in M2M potential as a way to bring about greater efficiency in many industries and introduce a new revenue stream for carriers over whose wireless networks all that data could travel.

According to Chambers the smart grid could be a bigger market than the internet which is already dominated by Cisco and could be worth $100 billion in the medium term.

The company outlined its strategy for the electricity grid for the US this week. The company plans to cover routers to grid substation and home energy controllers as utilities look towards IP-based upgrades with capabilities such as smart metering. According to the company's estimates the communications part of that build-up alone would be worth $20 billion a year over the next five years.

This is just one aspect of the new initiative at Cisco. The company is looking at every thing from video surveillance to home media systems to digital to cloud services - just about everything that rides an IP data pipe and preferably also incorporates one of more Cisco devices.


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