This article is part of our Conference Coverage: Cisco Live 2024 conference coverage and analysis

Cisco gears up to cash in on AI innovation and investments

Networking giant plots out artificial intelligence-powered future within networks to build digital resilience and offer secure visibility, observability and insight across digital footprints, with $1bn global AI investment fund

Making the clarion call that artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t just the latest turning point in technology, but an efficient, intelligent source of digital resilience that can connect and protect and power growth, Cisco has opened up Cisco LIVE 2024 with the launch of AI-enriched solutions across its networking, security, observability and collaboration portfolios, along with a global investment fund valued at $1bn to expand and develop “secure and reliable” AI solutions.

Cisco said the AI-enriched networking, security and observability solutions were designed to give businesses the visibility and insights they need to connect and protect their entire digital footprint and build digital resiliency. Moreover, the company claimed it was uniquely positioned to revolutionise the way infrastructure and data connect, protect businesses of all sizes and tackle its customers’ core challenges.

Looking at enhancing core networking in the era of AI, the company unveiled at Cisco Live a Networking Cloud offering AI-native digital experience using technology from its ThousandEyes division to unlock cross-domain assurance. Cisco said with the new solution, businesses would be empowered to see and manage every enterprise, cloud, software-as-a-service and internet network to support digital experiences to every user, everywhere, every time.

In addition, Cisco has partnered with AI hardware leader Nvidia to develop Nexus HyperFabric AI clusters. This is said to be an industry-first, designed to simplify the way business customers deploy, manage and monitor generative AI models and applications without deep IT knowledge and skills. It is said to provide visibility and analytics across the entire AI stack, and simplify the deployment and operation of AI infrastructure.

In the realm of using AI in the now established domain of hybrid work, where customer experience is a key differentiator, Cisco Live 2024 saw the launch of new capabilities in the Webex product line. At the forefront of these will be an enhanced Webex Contact Center that will help organisations design and manage conversational self-service experiences, provide an AI Assistant for contact centre agents and integrate third-party virtual agent solutions.

Looking at making AI boost hybrid working, Cisco announced that an AI Assistant for Webex Suite would soon be generally available to customers. The intended result is for IT admins to benefit from remote device access management in Webex Control Hub, and all-new desk reservation with Cisco Spaces making it easy to find and book desk spaces and Cisco collaboration devices.

Aiming to make AI work with observability, Cisco revealed that it has combined its AI Assistant and Splunk Log Observability with Cisco AppDynamics Application Performance Monitoring. This is intended to offer unparalleled visibility and real-time insights that help standardise the observability practice into solution, allowing businesses to get ahead of future demands and set up for new opportunities.

Regarding the new funding strategy, Cisco is making strategic investments in Cohere, Mistral AI and Scale AI, which are designed to enhance areas including customer readiness, compute infrastructure, foundational models, model development and training.

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