Tony’s Top Ten Tech Trends from Cisco Live! Europe ’18
By Tony Cuevas, Practice Lead, Collaboration and Network, CDI Southeast
Tony Cuevas is back from Cisco Live! Europe with a brand new blog that captures his top ten takeaways from the conference.
It’s a good 10-hour flight back home, so I had plenty of time to jot down my thoughts and reflect on the amazing week I experienced at Cisco Live! Europe.
“How did I end up going to Cisco Live! Europe?” you ask…
Let me give you a quick backstory. Not only am I a Cisco Champion, but I’ve also been selected to serve as a Cisco Spark Master Ambassador. Before I expand on what those two challenging but rewarding roles entail, let me just say my first taste of Cisco Live! Europe was absolutely amazing. I was proud to represent CDI Southeast in Europe.
Back to the story…
- Cisco Champions: The people in this group of talented and highly influential technical experts from all over the world enjoy generously sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web with other thought leaders at Cisco. The Cisco Champion program encompasses diverse areas such as the evolution of the data center, Internet of Things, enterprise networks, collaboration, and security.
- Cisco Spark Master Ambassadors: Similar to the Cisco Champion program, but focused almost exclusively on Spark, the Cisco Spark Master Ambassadors are an elite group of individuals who are very active within the Spark Ambassador community. Master Accreditation is reserved for the top five percent of qualified applicants, beyond both the Select Certified and Advanced Partner levels. A nomination from the business unit and account teams, a completed application, and an interview are required for consideration into this program. Spark ambassadors are distinguished experts and early adopters of next-gen collaboration solutions. They deliver business outcome demos with our ISV ecosystem, speak at events, run conferences and meetups, attend hackathons, write sample code, learn about artificial intelligence, discuss machine learning, work with developers, engage with startup entrepreneurs, and evangelize all things Cisco Spark.
After months of ambassador activities, and over a year as a champion, my group of Spark ambassadors was selected to attend Cisco Live Europe in Barcelona, Spain. We were honored to attend the conference on behalf of the entire Cisco Spark Ambassador community. During my week in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to attend the opening keynote and was asked to give a quick recap during an interview later that same day with another Cisco Spark Master.
My adventures in Europe continued. Two other Spark Masters and I were asked to host two Cisco Champion podcasts throughout the week. In our first podcast, we interviewed two other Cisco Spark Masters. The podcast provided fresh insight and unique opinions about both programs. A second podcast with another ambassador and champion explored industry collaboration trends. This podcast offered open discussion, expert observations, and a complete overview of what we are seeing and hearing out there in the competitive global team space and collaboration market.
It was an exciting week – when I wasn’t doing some sort of social media event, I spent most of my time at the DevNet Zone, networking and making new friends. I was a sponge, soaking up as much knowledge as I could about the wonders of integrations, bots, coding, and APIs. I plan to apply the knowledge I gained towards improving my skills with DevNet. The future of IT is coding. It has been that way for over half a century, and now is the time to embrace it and elevate teams to the next level.
(But who knows for sure who will be impacted by tomorrow’s apps and who will be the one coding the next big thing… my next blog could be written by me about bots, or it could be about me written by bots.)
Every major industry event gives you a couple of things to take back with you after it’s over. For example, some highlights that were announced, or, better, new ideas to be envisioned and refined. As thought-leaders, we concentrated our collective attention on the overall vision for the communication and collaboration market over the next couple of decades. Building on what was announced at Cisco Live Europe, here are my top ten takeaways from the action-packed week-long event:
- We heard from industry professionals who were creating new business policies for identity management with configuration requirements for user administration, security, access, service levels, compliance, and governance.
- Attendees I spoke with wanted to see more automation for the installation, provisioning, configuration, and maintenance of the network in a holistic end-to-end model. They said Cisco solutions were simple and efficient, and they could appreciate the coordinated orchestration of IT processes that minimize demands on resources, speed implementation times, and reduce their workload automation and delivery efforts.
- My colleagues and I learned how Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) is integrating hardware, security, and software all in one. This is a trend I believe will dominate over the next five years with security embedded inside the entire network, from the MAC ID to the agent and out to the furthest fringes of your WAN, all the way to the network edge.
- People were concerned about threat detection and speed. They want their network to be responsive and enforce policies anywhere, especially with traffic that must be encrypted as a business policy.
- During the conference, there was some discussion about leveraging the new Cisco intent-based technology into a series of network sensors to provide insight through their Stealthwatch and Identity Services Engine offerings. Network engineers often discuss the fine line between the visibility gained through contextual information about who and what is on the network versus keeping up with ethical and privacy concerns.
- We saw network assurance emerge as a popular theme. Cisco is leading the way in the monitoring, correlation, and presentation of data about apps, users, devices, and the network itself. Analytics can provide real-time reporting and dashboards that showcase operational imperatives. Cisco announced ways to perform real-time network health verification and demonstrated new paradigms where network diagnostics detected exactly where issues were concentrated.
- As the network topology continues to evolve, attendees seemed especially interested in Cisco DNA Center Assurance to help them to continuously verify their enterprise network architecture. They want to partner with CDI and apply Cisco technologies to help keep their business running as intended. Cisco often uses the phrase intent-based networking to symbolize a new age of machine learning, contextual clues, and other weighted factors that enable IT groups to manage millions of devices by attempting to classify, predict, and automate their networking landscape.
- With this new approach powered by their Network Assurance Engine, Cisco is changing the definition of networking. A movement away from hardware (although acknowledged as still important) to software-driven networking was another common message. The benefits included better performance, customer empowerment, and quantum leaps in productivity.
- We learned more about 100% cloud-managed Cisco Meraki wireless network deployments. I spoke to a few seasoned champions who really liked the central management in the cloud because they had enough of the legacy problems associated with older wireless controller technology, including their time to deploy and substantial costs. With Cisco Meraki, administrators can add wireless capacity, throttle bandwidth, and block applications. It can also monitor wireless devices. Cisco Meraki even includes a mobile app for flexible network management.
- In response to customer requests for on-prem and public cloud parity, Cisco announced a new turnkey Container Platform that promises to accelerate the configuration and management of container clusters with 100 percent upstream Kubernetes, which you can think of as a portable open source container platform. Kubernetes microservices are also extensible. We discovered how it can help us manage containerized workloads and services. Kubernetes services, support, and tools are widely available and still growing in new directions that will improve the way user workloads for compute, storage, and network are managed.
And that is my top ten list, in no particular ranking order. Actually, taking the top spot might be the Cisco headsets. I enjoyed the luxurious opportunity to demo the new Cisco 500 Series headset for collaboration endpoints. I was truly amazed! I did not expect this level of audio quality from a routing/switching company. Once these are available to the public, I intend to get a set for my own daily use.
I hope to see you next year at Cisco Live Europe!
Until next time… Cuevas Out!
To view his Cisco Live Europe post-keynote interview, see: https://youtu.be/Tr2Hie-DvvM
To tune in to Cisco Champion Radio, Season 5, Episode 2: Cisco Spark Ambassadors, download the podcast at: https://blogs.cisco.com/perspectives/ciscochampion-radio-s5ep-2-cisco-spark-ambassadors
To tune in to Cisco Champion Radio, Season 5, Episode 5: Trends in Collaboration, download the podcast at: https://blogs.cisco.com/perspectives/ciscochampion-radio-s5ep5-trends-in-collaboration