Let The Good (Networking) Times Roll--Again - InformationWeek

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Let The Good (Networking) Times Roll--Again

Cisco CEO John Chambers told an audience of primarily financial analysts that recent advances in technology, combined with a changed mindset among business leaders to grow their businesses, should lead to sustained growth in many communications markets.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Is the "whoopee" back in the Internet? John Chambers thinks so.

By kicking off the company's analyst conference with an upbeat, optimistic view of the networking market's future, Cisco's CEO Chambers may have heralded the start of a new party in technology buying, one that extends an invitation to consumers, businesses and telecom and cable service providers, all to Cisco's benefit.

In his keynote speech here Tuesday at the Santa Clara convention center, Chambers told an audience of primarily financial analysts that recent advances in technology, combined with a changed mindset among business leaders to grow their businesses, should lead to sustained growth in many communications markets.

"Networking is about to have its third wave," predicted Chambers, who said the growing use of broadband networks is allowing applications like videoconferencing and real-time interactivity to become everyday realities, and not just the stuff of future-looking demonstrations. "It's put the 'whoopee' back into the Internet," said Chambers, who claimed to have conducted numerous customer visits virtually over the past year, a first for him.

According to Chambers, the CIOs that Cisco has talked to are now thinking more about growth than about short-term business improvements, which he called a significant mind-shift over the recent past. As such, Cisco said Tuesday it is confident that it can maintain a growth rate goal of around 10 to 15 percent per year, a pace that will require continued execution in its historically strong router and switch markets as well as success in new markets like IP telephony, wireless communications and video.

At the front of the list of game-changing technologies is video, which is moving from being a broadcaster-only phenomenon to something used on a daily basis by corporations and consumers. Thanks mainly to an expected increase in worldwide video consumption, Chambers said it's possible that there may be a 300 to 500 percent yearly growth in the amount of network traffic over the next 10 years, a leap that could obviously benefit Cisco in many markets.

"Video drives the architecture for the next-generation network," said Charlie Giancarlo, Cisco's chief development officer, in a presentation that directly followed Chambers'. And through its recent purchase of cable set-top box manufacturer Scientific Atlanta, Cisco is even better poised to help service providers manage video streams down to end-user devices, Giancarlo said. Cisco also announced on Monday beefed-up capabilities for its flagship CRS-1 router, to better help service providers manage the expected video onslaught.

"It [the S-A purchase] enables the end-to-end service provider quadruple play," Giancarlo said.

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