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Internet of Everything is the biggest thing on our horizon: Cisco (Part II)

Sathya Mithra Ashok | Dec. 17, 2013
In the second part of the interview, Geoff Lawrie, NZ country manager at Cisco Systems, shares his thoughts on how the Internet of Things can improve productivity across important sectors in the country, and thereby assist with economic growth.

Quite a bit of work going to consolidate and streamline all those acquisitions, so you get a coherent portfolio that works overall. In every element of security, filtering, intrusion detection and prevention, we have got a good portfolio now.

It is starting to go very well for us. It is a very competitive part of the marketplace but I think we have got ourselves into a position where we have a very comprehensive portfolio. Security is not about a point solution, it is about understanding the different elements of security and making sure you have got that covered in a coherent way. Cisco is one of those companies that is at that point.

Q: What are the challenges that face Cisco in the country?
GL: There are a number of challenges for our industry, not specific to Cisco. I think the biggest disruptor is the Cloud. Not for the technology, but for the implications it has in the way consumers are going to access, and consume and pay for technology that we sell. That's the biggest sea change that we have seen in this industry- that customers want IT as a service.

Every IT company, Cisco included has a business model that is based on the transactional model. There are a few new entrants like Amazon, who have built from scratch around the service proposition. But for most companies, their balance sheets, revenue reporting — all of that is based on the transactional model.

And that means a couple of things. One is enormously disruptive to organisations in that space — us, our core competitors like Juniper, IBM, HP — in terms of how they transition all of their systems and processes and balance sheets to accommodate that.

Secondly, it opens up the market to a whole lot of innovation and disruption. New players can come in and win business without making any investment whatsoever. They can come and compete like a NZ company — offering a service out of a datacentre in California or Singapore — at aggressive price points.

Fortunately, we recognise that, we understand it, we are evolving our model as quickly as we can to do that. But there will definitely be some companies that do not manage that transition and so we are going to see some big names consolidate and disappear in the marketplace in the next five to ten years.

Q: What do you see as the role of the government in this changing marketplace?
GL: The government has a significant role. People tend to look at the government and say the government needs to do this stuff. The current debate around the copper pricing for instance. They are looking to the government and asking how are you going to fix my problems. I am not of that view. But I do think they have a significant role to play.


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