“We are involved in 13 Smart City projects”
Sameer Garde, President, Cisco India and SAARC
While Cisco no doubt has the lion’s share of the Indian networking market, but is that a profitable business with so much commoditization happening? How would you rationalize then Cisco’s focus shift back to networking?
There is a reason, why we are re-inventing the network right now, or why we are focusing back on the core of our business. That is precisely because customers are asking us to do that. Maybe 7 or 8 years ago, you probably had one device in office, you had 2 applications that you possibly accessed on a daily meeting basis. Today you probably have 3-4 devices, 5-6 locations that you access those devices from; you want to connect to WIFI, probably use 25-30 applications; sometimes your iPad, sometimes your laptop. That makes it a very complex environment. So customers come to us and ask us to manage this complexity. My intent as a business person from the customer’s point of view is how can you help me simplifying this complexity of an individual accessing 25 applications from 5 devices
and 6 different locations at any time. So we have to automate that, because you can’t do this manually now. I need software to automate this process, which possibly could let you could start using the 13th application tomorrow and then you come back to IT and said give me access to this 13th application. So I think automation was required to remove the manual ability to be able to provision employees, who are so mobile and using multifold devices. That’s why we had to invent and that’s why we building a lot more software to given to manage this complexity from a single peer across for a network administrator of or a infrastructure of a network.
So it is not like the traditional the way even Cisco used to play in the networking space. Would you say this comeback in network is more software driven?
It is definitely more software oriented, and it is more automation oriented; it is more data analytics oriented. It helps customer get more visibility in that network. We give more control for the customers to be able to define intent and translate that into an IT policy and then see how the data can be analyzed to back the intent. That circular logic continues to work and it is more software defined nowadays.
What would be your review of last 12 months on the government business? Going ahead, what do you expect with election coming near, the government spending might slow down? What would be your road map accordingly?
I am very optimistic on the government side. That is because digital India is real, so there are at least 60 government to citizen services. National broadband network being rolled out is real. The government is that WiFi will be like what STD, ISD, PCO used to be 15 years ago. So India needs closed to 8 Million WiFi hotspots, typically there should be 150-200 people per hotspot. India only had 15000 hotspots right now, so huge amount of investments is going to happen Smart cities is real, 16 smart cities have been allotted out of 99. Cisco, is incidentally involved in 13 of these Smart Cities.
In a smart city, what exactly internal overall solution Cisco is providing?
Network is one core part of internet, there is a data center, and there is a network part, so this is a core part. But the most important part of the smart city network is the platform play for IOT that we have. So there are a bunch of sensors that are being deployed; there are lighting sensors, there are cameras, and
National broadband network being rolled out is real. The government is that WiFi will be like what STD, ISD, PCO used to be 15 years ago. So India needs closed to 8 Million WiFi hotspots, typically there should be 150-200 people per hotspot.
there is garbage management, huge cases of traffic management. All of these are information, which is coming through different types of sensors. So you need to have a kind of an IOT platform, which is able to take all the data of different types.
All these information are of different types; you need a platform which can integrate all these into one software platform and one protocol. Here multi protocols which gets integrated into one protocol, which is what we call are the smart city platform call it CKP (City Kinetic Platform). So basically it’s a platform, which integrates all of these things and then throws thus data into applications which can analyze it.
One role Cisco is playing is deployment of all these sensors; make sure the application is integrated with our platform and then managing, in case there is a problem we will forward, to whoever is managing that issue, managing the central command center where are all these information is coming . You need to analyze that data and use that data to further improve productivity, efficiency.
SAMEER GARDE, President, Cisco India & SAARC