A Vision of Radical Networking Simplicity

In networking today, complexity reigns.

Tapping an app on a mobile device at home relies on many connections. Count them: the home Wi-Fi, the ISP, the Internet, a Domain Name System (DNS) provider, a content delivery network (CDN), applications distributed among multiple providers in multiple clouds, credit authentication companies, a private customer information database.

This complex web of interconnectivity and dependencies can create operational chaos. Blind spots between different on-premises, cloud, Internet, and other operational silos and organizational teams are opportunities for failure and security vulnerabilities. Problems often take a long time to identify and resolve. The result is that when the operational experience suffers, a user’s network experience suffers.

Unified Experiences

The antidote to spiraling operations complexity for enterprise networks is radical simplicity. By adopting a radical approach to simplifying operations you can deliver the unified experiences your organization needs.

What is a unified experience?

Unified experiences are seamless digital interactions that rely on bridging the boundaries between different technologies, locations, teams, and things. They are remote or hybrid work experiences that empower individuals to do their best. They are connected industrial and Internet of Things (IoT) experiences that drive optimization of operational productivity and flexibility without compromising security.

At connected smart factories, work instructions and data delivered from augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets, robots, warehouse and factory machines, people, and networks all come together in unified experiences. Plant operators use predictive monitoring to keep connected machines from breaking down, increasing uptime and product output. Real-time data from end-to-end network visibility, combined with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and analytics, is used to optimize processes, reduce waste, identify manufacturing deviations, improve safety, save energy, and strengthen physical and digital security.

Those are all examples of unified experiences. But these experiences cannot be achieved or sustained in an environment of operational complexity. They depend on an approach that delivers consistent end-to-end visibility and control across diverse platforms, networks, devices, and cloud services. They rely on the ability to provide automation and assurance from every endpoint to every application or service, wherever they are located. It’s an approach that delivers consistent policy across network and security domains; an approach that radically simplifies operations with networking platforms that can support both on-premises and cloud operating models.

From Vision to Reality

Cisco Networking Cloud is a vision and a journey toward a unified platform that is outcome driven and delivers greater simplicity, control, and predictability. The journey is well underway.

Solar, an electrical, heating and plumbing, ventilation and climate, and energy sourcing and services company in Denmark, has adopted cloud operating principles to simplify their complex and outdated network. By introducing a cloud-based management platform for centralized automation and end-to-end network service visibility, they bridged gaps between teams and reduced provisioning and remediation times from hours to minutes. Telemetry data is used to precisely predict the need for future system upgrades, enabling the company to purchase only the capacity needed and to scale incrementally along with supply and demand to avoid wasting energy.

With a network platform approach that enables unified experiences, retailers can now connect wireless access points, security cameras, fuel pumps, ATMs, kiosks, and more to dramatically simplify, secure, and improve their network operations and customer experience. The cost savings and other benefits from automation and improved efficiencies across thousands of stores, gas stations, hotels, or restaurants can be significant.

In manufacturing and supply chain operations, a unified experience can facilitate real-time data collection, inventory management, and logistics tracking. The list of use cases and industries that will benefit from an infrastructure that drives unified experiences goes on and on.

Operational Impacts

At Cisco, we have promoted the viability of a cloud-based management platform to radically simplify operations and enable unified experiences. The platform includes powerful cloud-based tools and technologies―like automation, AI, and analytics―to handle connectivity, network management, and security.

At a time when experienced network practitioners are in short supply, IT administrators across networking, cloud services, security, and operations can benefit from such a unified operational environment and easy-to-use, centralized management tools. This will reduce troubleshooting times from hours to minutes and transition operations from being reactive to more predictive. This is possible with real-time and historical telemetry gathered from network connections and the use of AI and ML techniques.

The infrastructure and solutions behind unified experiences eliminate tool sprawl and fragmentation while delivering convergence of technologies, automation, and the strategic use of end-to-end data across each experience.

Big changes are coming to how enterprise networks are deployed, managed, and optimized. Administrators across networking, data center, cloud, and security domains can now choose from the best of cloud and on-premises solutions and deliver and manage unified experiences that are more connected, protected, and predictable. 

Read more about unified experiences as part of the Cisco Networking Cloud vision.

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