Cisco looks to expand its Smart+Connected partnerships

SAN FRANCISCO – Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO)executives used this year’s annual Partner Summit to highlight the power and importance of video and collaboration, which together, tie into its global Smart+Connected strategy.

The company first introduced its Smart+Connected Communities vision last July at its Cisco Live conference, which was also held here.

Rick Huijbregts, director of vertical sales and industry solutions at Cisco, said the Smart+Connected vision is a network approach that helps to change life within the home, community, city and country, using the power of technology. As part of this vision, Cisco has defined several communities which it believes can be connected and will improve the overall lifestyle of individuals. These communities include home/residential, sports/entertainment, office, education, shopping, wellness, transportation and government.

Cisco relies on its traditional community of channel partners, vendor partners and systems integrator (SI) partners to help deliver solutions and services, as part of this holistic vision, Huijbregts said.

Huijbregts says Cisco is working with IBM and its Smarter Planet initiative since it ties in well to its own Smart+Connected strategy.

“We’re also starting to pursue innovative partnerships to help contribute to the bigger picture,” Huijbregts said. “We’re investing big in this area with our own services department and in North America, we have a group of employees that are dedicated to Smart+Connected.”

So far, Huijbregts says the amount of traction around this strategy in Canada has been “significant,” especially with more service-led opportunities now coming to the forefront.

“Partners should look at at aspects of the (customer) opportunity from services and advisory, to managed services,” he said.

Since Cisco has already identified several key communities, Huijbregts says partners can realize more opportunities in a particular vertical space.

For instance under the healthcare community, he says partners can deploy HealthPresence for their customers, which connects patients to medical providers using HD video, audio and medical data that’s transmitted over the network.

On the sustainability front, Huijbregts said partners can also offer their customers Cisco’s Network Building Mediator solution, which arms customers with information intelligence so they can make better use of their building’s energy consumption.

In other community areas, using the right technology and tools, customers can also potentially renew their passport, look for jobs within the government and renew their drivers license, all without having to leave the comfort of their home.

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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