Bringing the Good News at Cisco Plus Canada

Two keynote speeches at the 2012 Cisco Plus Canada conference in May highlighted the connections between digital innovation and Canadian business and economic success.

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Innovation in networking technology is a key to Canadian business success – this was the theme throughout the 2012 Cisco Plus Canada conference. Held at Toronto’s Toronto Congress Centre, Cisco’s annual showcase of  IT innovation and thought leadership brought this message home to over 2,000 IT professionals, technology partners and business decision makers.

The program started with a keynote talk by Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers, who spoke via video about the necessity of embracing the new ways of doing business in the digital age. “Companies and countries that don’t constantly reinvent themselves will be left behind,” Chambers said. “Canada is doing the exact reverse.”

In the following keynote, Cisco Canada President Nitin Kawale explored the connections between ICT (information and computer technology) innovation and workplace productivity and economic growth. “As the synergies between business processes and computer networking grow deeper and more co-dependent,” Kawale said, “ICT will be a key enabler of socioeconomic progress.”

Kawale called on audience members to act as ICT “evangelists” in their organizations, educating co-workers and business decision makers about the productivity and business-building gains enabled by collaboration, unified communications and networking innovations.

It’s also about leading the evolution from traditional workspaces to ICT-enabled workplaces. “Workspaces are location and device dependent; workplaces are location and device independent,” Kawale said. “It’s not about when or where you work, but how productive you are: anywhere on any device with any data at any time.”

Canadian workers are embracing those new paradigms at home, where they are very active online, in social media, tweeting and Facebook. It’s time for businesses to catch up to that changing way of doing things.

“If we let people do in the workplace what they are capable of in their personal lives,” Kawale said, “we will grow productivity in Canada.”

The conference itself was a showcase for the technologies and systems that are helping make the any-time anywhere workplace possible, today and into the future. Inside the main showroom, there were demonstrations of next-generation UC, cloud, network and collaboration technologies from Cisco and its technology partners. At the Allstream booth, a demonstration of the Cisco EX60s system brought home how far desktop video technology and telepresence technology has advanced, and how it delivers cost savings and productivity gains for organizations.

The rest of the busy day was taken up with education sessions, seminars and talks from industry experts, with lots of time for networking with colleagues at a Tex Mex lunch and the meet-and-greet that closed out the afternoon events.

One attendee summed up his experience of the day by remarking on the changes he’s seen in his workplace in the last few years and why conferences like this help to keep that evolution moving forward: “The mobility and video apps on display are helping managers to really see what technology can do for the bottom line. That makes them more open to letting employees work in different places and at different times. That’s good for everybody.”

For a full report on the Cisco Plus Canada conference from Allstream’s booth on the showroom floor, read blogger Michael Isenberg’s post here.

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