Cisco Live 2020: CEO Chuck Robbins pledges "To power an inclusive future for all"

The keynote dives into the current social and economic climate and touches on new Webex and SecureX features.

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Cisco unveiled its new company mission statement during the Cisco Live keynote on Tuesday. Hosting the keynote, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins pledged that he and the organization will work "To power an inclusive future for all."

SEE: Managing AI and ML in the enterprise 2020: Tech leaders increase project development and implementation (TechRepublic Premium)

Cisco Live is another major tech conference forced online by the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than being hosted in major cities like San Diego, Orlando, FL., or Las Vegas, as it has been in the past, the event moved to the small screen.  

During this era of uncertainty, Robbins said reimagining apps, securing data, transforming infrastructure, and empowering teams through tech is more important than ever. Some of the tech Robbins is referring to is the new Webex and SecureX features, which are noted later in the presentation. 

The majority of the keynote didn't focus on new announcements, but rather openly discussed the chaos ensuing around the globe, introducing the keynote's main theme: Possibilities.

"2020 has been a difficult and challenging year," Robbins said. "We started out with a new decade with hope, and we never imagined that in June we would have experienced what we've experienced this year. 

"The pandemic that we started the year with, the fundamental change to business and how we work, and the daunting tasks that particularly all of you and we were faced with by getting all of our constituents up and running and productive in a different world, working from home.

"Then, we faced the unfortunate deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arber, George Floyd, and even this weekend Rayshard Brooks," Robbins said. "It reminds us of the need for dignity, respect, fairness, and equality, and all of our societies around the world."  
Despite all of the pain and anger endured this year, Robbins said he believes we can shift these setbacks into progress. He urged the public to take these challenges and view them as an inspiration to look ahead and see what is possible. 

"We're here this week to talk about possibilities, but we still face extraordinary challenges. Some of the challenges we face are the same ones we faced six months ago; some of those have been accelerated; and we have new challenges that we're all dealing with on a daily basis," Robbins said. 

One of those big challenges included shifting office workers to a remote work style. This stark change, on top of all of the exterior issues, has taken a toll--both on the enterprise and individuals. 

Robbins said that 75% of organizations around the world have had a disruption in their supply chain, and some 73% of adults said they are feeling some level of anxiety or struggle with mental health issues. 

"We've been working on offers, and we've announced some of them today, that are going to help you continue to navigate this world," Robbins said. 

Additions to Webex and SecureX 

Robbins introduced Javed Khan, vice president and general manager of collaboration at Cisco, as well as Gee Rittenhouse, senior vice president and general manager at Cisco, to discuss some of the new features added to Webex and SecureX. 

With so many people working from home because of the coronavirus, video and web conferencing use has skyrocketed. By April, Cisco hit more than 25 billion meeting minutes, which is three times the size of the normal monthly average, according to Khan.  

"We have the unique opportunity to use our collaboration technology and our amazing people to help power an inclusive future for all," Khan said. 

With that in mind, Khan announced the addition of Webex Assistant, a personal digital assistant that can be used within the Webex platform. Users can ask the tool to record the meeting, take notes, and send highlights to attendees when the gathering is done.

Khan also mentioned the Webex Desk Pro, artificially intelligent (AI) collaboration device that features a 27-inch 4K display,  71-degree HD camera, digital whiteboarding, and more, to make remote work simple. 

"Moving forward, we are doubling down on AI, adding even more intelligence into our contact center, converting customer support agents into super agents with all the right information at their fingertips, solving issues faster than ever before," Khan said. "The end result has been improved customer satisfaction and improved customer loyalty."

On the security side, Rittenhouse discussed some of the optimized features in SecureX, "the most comprehensive cloud native platform in the industry."

"In one place, you can see your entire environment, threats and incidents, and resolve policy changes," said Rittenhouse. 

Through a demo, Rittenhouse showed how within SecureX, users can directly see all of the possible security threats within their network. By clicking on a threat, the system generates a relationship graph so that the user can see everything happening with that incident, with the ability to then block it across the enterprise with a couple of clicks. 

"Because the entire system is integrated together and open, so you can bring in appliances for yourself, you have faster time to savings," Khan said, "Because of the automation in the workflows, you reduce your costs. And then finally, because you can turn on services very easily, you have faster time to value. 

"Today's dynamic environment is the new normal," Khan added. 

For more, check out Cisco Live 2020: Webex gets new security features and integration with Box and Epic on TechRepublic. 

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