CES 2014: Chambers Says Partners Will Help Cisco Connect The Unconnected


John Chambers, Cisco
John Chambers

Despite doing away with consumer-focused technologies such as its Linksys business and Flip video camera line, Cisco is making its presence known at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

Cisco CEO John Chambers in a CES 2014 press conference Monday stressed the major opportunities Cisco sees for itself and its partners in the emerging Internet of Everything phenomenon. Chambers also helped introduce the latest, cloud-based version of Videoscape, Cisco's TV services delivery platform for service providers.

Cisco has been touting the Internet of Everything as a game-changer for more than a year, but Chambers told CRN Monday he sees 2014 as an "inflection point" for the technology to really take off.

[Related: CES 2014: Huawei To Prioritize Smartphones, Brand Recognition In New Year]

"In the next decade, the Internet will come further than we have in the last 30 years by a factor of five- or tenfold, and it will be all around the Internet of Everything," Chambers said.

The Internet of Everything, or the concept of Internet-enabling everyday objects ranging from cars, to sensors, to home appliances, represents a $14.4 trillion potential "value at stake" for global private-sector businesses, according to Cisco. That figure, coupled with the potential value at stake for public-sector businesses, also represents a major opportunity for Cisco channel partners, who will inevitably be a key driver behind Cisco's goal of connecting the unconnected, said Chambers.

"I think our channel strategy plays right into our sweet spot," Chambers said. "And you will see us stay very committed to our channel and partners."

To be successful, Chambers said, Cisco and its partners will have to evolve their businesses together, focusing less, for example, on selling Internet of Everything technology and more on the business outcomes those technologies drive.

"It's very important for us to say, 'How do we move fast with our channel partners to achieve these goals while each of us is transforming ourselves?' Chambers said.

At Cisco's 2013 Partner Summit in Boston, Cisco highlighted services opportunities for partners around the Internet of Everything. Referring to them as "industry services," Cisco said partners could, for example, help businesses remotely manage things such as heating or cooling systems using the technology it gained through its acquisition of JouleX, an energy management specialist.

According to Chambers, while the technology is still early on, Cisco already is widely recognized as a trailblazer in the Internet of Everything market.

"The ability to really make a difference here, we see as our chance to really become the No. 1 IT player," Chambers said.

NEXT: Cisco Unveils Videoscape-as-a-Service