Peter Golding, Titan ICT’s Networking specialist, and myself recently attended Cisco Live 2015 in Melbourne. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet other network professionals, engage with existing (and hopefully future) customers and learn about new technologies, products and services from Cisco and its partners. The event – it appears a priority on the industry calendar – reportedly had 5500 attendees which by any standard is a fantastic turn out.

As would be expected cloud is very much a hot topic that Cisco is embracing and who is seeing more and more penetration beyond the enterprise, in being able to support process control environments particularly as a way to support the Internet of Things (or Internet of Everything as Cisco likes to refer to it). What was particularly exciting to hear was Cisco partnering with Curtin University, Woodside and SIRCA to form the Cisco IoE Innovation Centre Australia; an innovation centre which should ensure that Australian talent is involved in solving both Australian and international problems through hard work, dedication and inventive solutions.

A conference highlight of mine was the walk-in self-paced labs. It was great to go through the lab evaluations and get your hands dirty playing with equipment and understanding concepts in a step-by-step approach, while being able to talk with subject matter experts to gain better insights into technology. If anyone from Cisco is reading this, please have more spaces available next time around! It must have been great to see the popularity of the labs however as an attendee it was hard to balance waiting for access to a lab against attending those Super Sessions.

Speaking of which, the technology and business sessions which is typically one of the big drawcards were as usual fantastic with Cisco bringing in home-grown and international expertise to discuss problems and issues that customers are dealing with, and how we can take into consideration the lessons learnt for our own deployments and ongoing operations.

Trust of systems and secure/authentic information flows is something very much the IoT ecosystem needs to consider and support in a manner as simple as possible without needing large amounts of human intervention. To support this vision, it was interesting to learn about the ongoing development of Cisco’s TrustSec architecture with the Identity Service Engine. In particular, the ongoing work with the platform exchange grid (pxGrid) allowing other specialist security platforms to query and share information in a way that enriches the information for analysis and control (one example that was explained was a SIEM could leverage identity-based data to associate individuals or systems to an event rather than a device/IP … thought provoking indeed).

The push towards simplifying deployment and management has been an ongoing focus, and it was great to see in the “Hall of Solutions” area the large number of organisations that have products that help make the network ecosystem something that can be supported.

All-in-all Cisco is to be commended on pulling together an incredibly well planned event that supports the ongoing development of technology expertise and thought leadership of this Country’s networking and communications professionals. I, for one, have already saved the date for next year’s event.