Archive for December 2012

All eyes were on Cisco last Friday, December 7th as the company held its annual Financial Analyst conference in New York. Cisco, the undisputed 800-pound gorilla in networking, has been rapidly transforming itself into a broader IT company. At the event, CEO John Chambers made the bold claim that the company’s goal is to not just be an IT company, but indeed the No. 1 IT Company. Chambers did clarify that this would be accomplished by improving overall value as an IT partner versus total revenue. Chambers also re-affirmed to investors that the long-term growth target remains 5%-7% and that gross margins would remain constant during that timeframe. So summarizing the “Cisco plan” – No. 1 IT company, long-term growth of 5%-7% off the already massive $46B or so in revenue, and steady margins – makes it a pretty bold statement to throw out there.

I do, however, think Cisco has a good shot at reaching these goals, for the following reasons:

A couple of years ago, there was great debate as to whether Tom Brady-led Patriots or the Peyton Manning-led Colts were the “team of the decade” for the decade ending in 2010. In tech, though, we have no ESPN or JT the Brick to pose such questions, but if we were to give an award to the “technology of the decade” for that same time period, there would be no question as to what the winner is.

Virtualization, without a doubt, was the single-most disruptive technology that we’ve seen in IT a long time, maybe ever. Continuing with the sports analogies, it could be looked at as the Bobby Orr of IT, in that the game significantly changed because of it and set the future direction for years to come. 

It’s the holiday season and soon we’ll all hear the Bing Crosby or Perry Como song “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” over and over again. You can tell it’s looking like Christmas, at least in Massachusetts. The malls are over-crowded; I have bags of ice melt in the garage; the usual rudeness you see on the roadways has been escalated; I have pine needles all over my house and the Patriots are running rough shot over the rest of the AFC East (you poor Jets fans).

Well, the same thing is happening with wireless LAN, as it’s starting to look a lot more like wired. Over the past few years or so we’ve seen better failover times with controllers, better connection resiliency, and today Aruba announced the first wireless LAN platform with optimized application delivery.

Plivo’s cloud-based API service is another step in the direction of moving communications to a true software model.

It’s December and that means “tis the season” to give and receive, and receive is what startup Plivo did this week. The company announced on Monday that it had closed a $1.75M seed round financing from the investment firms Andreesen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Qualcomm and SV Angel. Plivo has a Unified Communications platform that’s delivered as a service and, if executed upon, could disrupt the (already disruptive) hosted telephony space.

Founded in December 2011, and live now for several months, Plivo claims to have dozens of enterprise class customers. Considering that they’ve managed to acquire these customers a single year after launching the company (not the service), it makes sense that high-profile investors would be eager to take a chance on Plivo.



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