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Cisco's Pennell Talks SMBs, Wireless and UC at ITEXPO

September 13, 2011

Small and medium businesses are shifting from reactive mode to proactive mode in terms of technology, and new solutions are enabling that to happen. That was the word from Ian Pennell, senior vice president of engineering at Cisco Systems. He was one of the morning keynote speakers today at ITEXPO West in Austin.

“The business enabler of the network to businesses continues to rise, without a doubt,” he said. “I see it every day.”

Pennell said that SMBs represent 65 percent of GDP and 90 percent of the workforce. According to surveys, he said, 94 percent of SMBs feel responsible for the economic recovery, and 28 percent of these businesses are growing. But SMBs need technology to stay competitive, he said.

The convergence of multiple innovations and technologies is creating a new user experience and altering how we all do business together, Pennell said, adding that enterprise customers are no longer at the center of this change.

Wireless is driving change in how we live and work, Pennell noted. Mobile devices are the leading thing driving cloud-based applications, he added. That makes sense because users want access to applications and data wherever they are, and mobility and cloud-based services can enable that.

Wi-Fi and 4G are key technologies on the wireless front, Pennell said, adding that to ensure a quality mobile experience to users, an enormous amount of offload to Wi-Fi networks from 3G and 4G networks will have to take place. If businesses invest in Wi-Fi as they should, he indicated, the Wi-Fi experience should meet or exceed that delivered by 3G and 4G networks.

To build mobile-ready networks, Pennell said, the following are required: more bandwidth, as traffic from wireless devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2015; security, which is the No. 1 barrier to cloud adoption; reliability, meaning service that is always on, enables seamless offload, and is voice-ready; and coverage, involving multiple wireless access points per site.

Pennell also talked about the need for networking solutions that are purpose-built with the business customer in mind. He also touched on the growth of unified communications adoption.

Business adoption of UC in North American and Europe will go from 48 percent in 2011 to 67 percent in 2015, he said. That’s noteworthy given UC boosts productivity an average of 32 minutes per day per worker.

Meanwhile, SIP trunk deployments for business telephony will triple by 2015; web conferencing and collaboration spending will reach $4.1 billion in 2014; within the next few years telepresence adoption will reach 62 percent; and telepresence system spending will double from $2.2 billion in 2010 to $5 billion in 2015, Pennell said, adding that telepresence is becoming less expensive over time.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, happening now, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

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Edited by Jennifer Russell

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