Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Regional connections and offline reflections on IP Expo Manchester 2019

April 11, 2019

The power of networking is evident in everything we do. But there’s nothing quite like meeting in person to talk face to face, share experiences, and understand each other.

With the iconic Manchester Central as the venue for IP Expo 2019, the team at Cisco UK and Ireland was excited to take part in what proved an excellent two days of meeting friends old and new, talking innovation and opportunity, and spreading the word on the latest and greatest in technology.

While digital business was the first order of the day, there were two examples of what make these events so powerful for people at a time when so much is done online.

Making a difference

No sooner had the doors opened to IP Expo than a familiar face arrived on our booth. Daniel, a student and technology enthusiast visited us last year looking for advice on trends and guidance on how best to forge a career in the industry.

This year we were delighted to learn that he was now an Informatics Apprentice with the NHS. He came with a thank you card for our Systems Engineer, Rob, who’d helped him hone his CV and been through key trends (minus the minutiae of software defined networking, although Rob did give an excellent session on this in his keynote later).

Daniel, if you’re reading this, thanks again for taking the time to come back and see us, you truly made our day!

Not long after Daniel had left to catch the opening keynote, we had another visitor.

Janet, who is the employer engagement officer at Ashton Sixth Form College, popped in to say thank you to Cisco for supporting its graduate training scheme and let us know that two students had subsequently attained full apprenticeships. One was with Cisco, the other was with the Mayor of Manchester’s office and focused on projects using technology to help address the issue of homelessness.

These examples are testament to the value of nurturing local relationships to drive positive change and how both people and technology play such an integral role when actioned in the right way.

Change is worth it

The impact of technology-driven change is of course, objective. Like any form of change, it brings both opportunities and threats, depending on the position from which you view it.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for example, offer compelling new ways for organisations to enhance the way they work and achieve new levels of efficiency and efficacy.

Aside from self-driving cars and robots that perform all the heavy-lifting or repetitive tasks we do, consider the real examples in action today: the search results from the web and the apps we use that get better as they learn from the actions we take.

Yet some people may view the automation and digitisation AI and ML bring as a threat to their roles, while organisations face growing competition from digital disruptors that harness these capabilities to gain an edge.

Like King Kanut however, one cannot plant themselves in the sand and ‘command’ the tide retreat. Change is constant. And as the pace of change is only getting faster, it’s your ability and willingness to catch the wave that counts.

As our Joachim (a rumoured descendant of King Canute*) explained in his keynote, change is hard, but it’s worth it.

Toe much visual information, Joachim?

A model for success

Digital transformation is an ongoing process. As a noun it’s safely consigned to the ‘buzzword’ category. But as a verb it describes the process almost any organisation must embrace if it’s to prosper.

The concept of perpetual evolution and hybrid IT was central to the session delivered by our Systems Engineer Neil, while our Commercial CTO Jon explained the steps you can take and the technologies you need to help you achieve your vision.

An inability to accept or embrace change has proved the downfall for many an incumbent – whether in business or in life. Conversely, those that embrace change as a means for self-transformation and competitive differentiation ensure they continue to open the door to new opportunities.

Security must have

Technology has also opened the door to many new forms of cyber threat. The more innovation you adopt, the greater the risk.

Risk can be mitigated, but again, the solution comes with caveats. Using encryption to secure network traffic brings greater privacy and security. However, attackers also use encryption to conceal malware and evade detection.

Cisco security guru Mustafa gave a session on how to take on this growing risk by detecting threats in encrypted traffic without having to decrypt it.

Mustafa talks detecting threats

From security and networking, to cloud computing and collaboration, it’s possible to bridge all your IT transformation needs with a single vendor.

It was great to meet you all in Manchester and we look forward to hearing about your transformational journeys next year.

Thank you, Manchester, for a brilliant IP Expo 2019 from all the team!

*Statement made for artistic license, apologies Joachim…

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