A Few Of Our Favorite Things About Cisco Live 2020

by John Mark Ivey

I’ve always been a huge fan of Cisco Live! Since my first event in Las Vegas back in 2011, all other IT conferences have paled in comparison. Sorry InterOp, sorry VMworld, sorry Microsoft Ignite, sorry IBM whatever – my business-traveling heart belongs to Cisco Live!

Even after organizers pared the conference down to a two-day digital event due to COIVD-19, and then announced a two-week postponement due to racial unrest across the US, the virtual Cisco Live experience turned out pretty solid.

“I would much rather be with all of you doing this in person but we’re unable to do that for obvious reasons and we’re still thrilled to spend time with you,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins during the opening Cisco Live keynote. “We got a great couple of days ahead where we’re going to talk about what we love most – our technology and I just want to start by saying thank you. We’re so grateful that you all have decided to spend your time with us.”

Like many regular Cisco Live attendees I talked to, I wasn’t able to view as much of the delivered content during the two-day event as I wanted, but what I did catch was awesome in my book. If you don’t believe me, I asked some other Cisco Live fans what they thought.

David Alicea is a Network Engineer with Griffith Foods. He has a master’s degree in Network and Communication Management, is a CCNP, and blogs at https://zerosandwon.blog/

“Ease of access was one thing that stood out about Cisco Live to me this year. I was booked to go to my first Cisco Live and it was cancelled. I was disappointed but understood that it needed to be done. However, I was delighted to hear that there would be a virtual conference. This was great because more people would be able to attend, participate and learn. I still had the opportunity to go. I was not able to take the days off to attend the virtual conference, but I had a second laptop right next to me during Cisco Live. I was able to listen to what was coming down the pipeline. Even during the times I had to run into the office during Day Two, Cisco Live played on my cell phone. No matter where I was, I was able to see or listen to the conference. This was a huge benefit and I appreciated it. I am hoping to attend in-person next year, but I am not disappointed with what Cisco accomplished this year.”

Deirra J. Footman is a Title Network Engineer for Data Center Operations at 14 West. She is a CCNA, Cisco Champion, and blogs at https://www.ccieby30.com/

“This was actually my first Cisco Live and it was awesome to be able to participate in the conversation. Unlike most of the virtual conferences I’ve attended during the lockdown, I feel that Cisco set the bar high for me. They did a great job of keeping the audience engaged in the sessions with trivia and on Social Media. Another poignant part of the conference was Chuck Robbins’ keynote. I was really proud to be a Cisco Champion as he addressed the current events happening and made Cisco’s stance on racism clear. From a technical aspect, I’m most excited by the Cisco SecureX platform. It’s going to be great to have a single pane of glass tying everything together. I’m looking forward to demoing it for myself!”

Gustavo Leon is DXC Bionix™ AMS Regional GSD PM Lead at DXC Technology. He has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and holds the CompTIA Network+, Security+ and Project+ certifications and is PMP and PMI-SP certified. He tweets at https://twitter.com/gustavoleon

“It hasn’t been long since Cisco Live US 2020 was unveiled to the world in a totally different scenario than the usual “live” event at a US location. The pandemic forced the event to come to us in a “virtual” format. There were high expectations if this event could even take place. Undoubtably, six months ago the world seemed to follow its normal course. But suddenly major disruptive events worldwide had turned our world into a chaotic environment. Additionally, these events had fueled a turbulence of emotions that brought anxiety, pain, anger and frustration. My main expectation going into Cisco Live US 2020 was not so much the major announcements, but to listen actively to Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins and the keynote speakers and to understand their vision on how we could navigate forward through these global setbacks affecting all of us.”

“The registered audience of 125K was for me a confirmation that there was an audience eager for information and with high expectations. Fortunately, the message delivered by the keynote speakers was full of words of encouragement and positivism, so much needed in these times. Chuck Robbins’ message was clear, authentic, powerful and direct. An honest inclusive message from a leader capable of providing a sense of psychological safety to all of us as an audience. A type of message that not many leaders worldwide have been able to deliver in these times of uncertainty and chaos. I also got to learn of the new Cisco Meraki 390 and CBS350 series switches, the new Nexus Dashboard, the Cisco CyberOps and DevNet certification announcements. But most important for me was the honest and inclusive messages given during the event that was helping us heal and move forward in this changing world. Our mission now is to help democratize technology in this new dynamic world to make it more agile. Cisco has gotten into action and taken the leadership of these efforts, because it’s the right thing to do. We need to help build a culture of tolerance and respect, full of possibilities for everyone. We can do it together!”

A.J. Murray is a Network Deployment Engineer at Red River. He is a Cisco Champion, VMware vExpert, an Adjunct Professor at Champlain College, and blogs at https://blog.noblinkyblinky.com

“One of my favorite things about Cisco Live was the Social Media team and the Networking Community on Twitter. Every year we all come together and engage on various social platforms, but most notably on Twitter. We discuss in real-time what’s going on around the Cisco Live campus. The sessions we’re in, the fun events happening, the cool giveaways in the World of Solutions, our triumphs at the onsite test center, the exciting news from the keynotes, pictures of Chuck on stage, selfies with our favorite YouTubers and bloggers, and how much fun we’re having at the CAE. This year, though, at a time when we’re supposed to be apart, I couldn’t have felt more together! The amazing Social Media team behind Cisco Live engages with us all on Twitter. The interactions from the Cisco Live media team mean so much to us. The likes, the comments, and featuring our tweets in the social media lounge, the friendly competition going on on the Leader Board, it just made this year feel like we were all in Las Vegas together watching the keynote unfold, but yet somehow from the comfort of our homes. I truly felt the first all-virtual Cisco Live was a huge success largely due to the social media presence. Thank you all for making Cisco Live, yet again, a fantastic event!”

Teneyia Wilson is Network Administrator for DXC Technology. She is a CCNP, CCNA, and holds CompTIA’s Network+ certification. She tweets at https://twitter.com/TeneyiaW

“Cisco Live 2020 turned out to be an amazing event! I’m incredibly happy that Cisco decided to transform digitally instead of cancelling during these challenging times. It being a digital event was my favorite thing! I’ve been wanting to go for years but never had the opportunity. IT professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world were able to come together to learn, empower and be a part of history as Cisco changes the world.  There was so much energy, motivation, and inspiration. It was very interactive, I got so engaged in the social feed, energy, and music that I forgot I was at work. The presentations and presenters were great. There was so much content and exciting news I was bouncing from channel to channel to channel. I’m already looking forward to next year. In the meantime, I’ll be watching On-Demand presentations.”

JMI: I want to thank those Cisco Live fans that contributed to my blog this year, and hopefully I’ll be seeing you and everyone else in person at Cisco Live 2021 in Las Vegas next June 6-10.

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