Wednesday, October 13, 2010

VIP Tour of Cisco Systems

Today was a visit to Cisco Systems in San Francisco.

We were honored with the royal treatment for the entire day. About every 90 minutes we were given a new presentation from top managers on emerging and disruptive techlology and innovations. It was truly amazing to be allowed the kind of up front and inside access to the most powerful and innovative tech company on the planet.

Some of what we saw and were told about I cannot repeat due to Non Disclosure Agreements but without giving away too much I have to tell you of one fellow who came to speak to us. He was a top VP in charge of Innovation at Cisco. He reviews hundreds of deals and looks for technology that is truly life changing and disruptive to the market. Here is his criteria and actions he takes when he finds an idea.

  1. The idea must have the ability to be a Billion Dollar business
  2. He will spend $10,000,000 on the start up to fund it
  3. He will hand pick Cisco employees to build it out
  4. The team has 18 months to get it to market
It seems a tall order but he is responsible for launching a half dozen businesses in the last 4-5 years and he has several in the pipeline. Personally I would be happy to look at the deals he tosses in the trash if those are his standards.

Here is one such innovation. Video conferencing, where the operator is located in a data center and they can greet visitors who walk into a lobby of an office building. Kind of like a video concierge but the concierge can manage several building at once. The can give directions, pass people thru security and other functions, all 24/7 and global. This technology is also rolling out to other applications such as boardroom conferencing and even kiosks that can go in shopping malls and you can have visit with a doctor while you are shopping. The applications are limitless. Have a look and you'll see.

And at the end of the video you can watch me walk right behind an operator who is on a conference. So from the guy's view in the lobby, he would see a pair of pants walk on screen behind the operator - - Doh!