For the second year, Cisco’s annual event, Cisco Live!, was virtual. The event wrapped up last week, leaving a lot on the table for the industry to digest. Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s chairman and CEO, pointed to it being a unique moment in history—a moment that’s shaping the future. Robbins says technology is foundational to this future. With the innovations announced at Cisco’s event, Robbins said, “Our customers around the world will not only be able to connect, secure, and automate the future of IT, but also leverage technology to truly power an inclusive future for all.”

Cisco’s announcements from the event demonstrate that the company has its finger on the enterprise pulse. Its new solutions (and enhancements to existing solutions) address things like corporate network visibility, customer flexibility in selecting service options, enterprise security, and the need for comprehensive remote work tools. For instance, Cisco announced it’s integrating ThousandEyes with AppDynamics and Cisco Catalyst 9300 and 9400 series switches. ThousandEyes offers network and internet performance metrics and, when combined with AppDynamics Dash Studio or Catalyst switches, offers the visibility and intelligence that entities need in order to see and address critical issues across their networks and applications.

Cisco also enhanced SecureX, its cloud-native platform, and expanded its SASE (secure access service edge) offering, which simplifies security and networking by converging these functions in the cloud. Customers can now purchase all SASE components together, again in pursuit of simplicity. At this year’s event, Cisco also unveiled a new, as-a-service strategy called Cisco Plus, which is designed to give customers flexible buying and consumption models for hardware, software, and services. The company says Cisco Plus will offer best-in-class networking, security, compute, storage, applications, and observability solutions as-a-service with unified subscriptions.

To deliver on Robbins’ “inclusive future for all,” Cisco announced a strategy to help deliver connectivity to everyone, everywhere. Specifically, Cisco says it’s been working with communication service providers and web scale companies to design the building blocks for the “Internet of the Future,” including Cisco’s Silicon One networking silicon architecture, as well as a new network gateway that paves the way for unified subscriber-management solutions and a new application for Crosswork Cloud called Traffic Analysis, which helps optimize traffic at the network edge.

Finally, Cisco made some announcements that address issues arising from the new work-from-home era. Cisco Secure unveiled passwordless authentication by Duo, which will allow users to securely log into cloud applications without using passwords, instead relying on security keys or biometrics. As workforces continue to work remotely in 2021, the ability to bypass passwords and use more secure measures for authentication can cut down on password-related IT headaches for companies that already have their hands full managing the transition to remote work.

Also, to address remote work, Cisco is expanding its Webex solution by advancing its People Insights feature. People Insights helps enterprises take a people-first approach, even in a time where people must work physically away from other people. The feature offers insights from three points of view—personal, team, and organizational—and its goal is to help combat employee burnout and encourage inclusive work experiences. This sort of solution speaks to the need for new ways of engaging remote employees as the future of work unfolds.

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