In one of his rare media briefings, Terry Walsh, Cisco's Australian managing director, identified key growth opportunities for Cisco's channel partners as well as addressing a broad range of issues affecting the Australian Internet economy as a whole.
In discussing potential industry hotspots, Walsh said the channel should not just be about cutting prices, but about delivering true cost efficiencies and business benefits to customers. He pinpointed IP telephony, wireless networks, content delivery and security as the greatest drivers of revenue in the near future for Cisco and its channel partners.
"The best thing [Cisco's partners] can do is take newer technologies, like IP telephony and wireless, and tie them to a business proposition," Walsh said. "If you roll out an e-application, you'll be able to find more effective ways to service your customers."
Following a spate of telco and tier-two carrier collapses, including NetComm's recent withdrawal, Walsh reassured channel partners that there was no backlog of surplus product that was preventing new products from reaching the market. He explained that since the economic slowdown, Australian telcos had not heavily invested on technology that the market wasn't ready for - namely, broadband and wireless solutions.
"When the slowdown happened, the Australian telco market hadn't gone as far in rolling out infrastructure as the European and US telco markets had," he said.
Walsh pushed Cisco's vision for the deployment of broadband and presented an array of methods in which broadband services can be delivered via interactive TV. The deployment of broadband is only stymied by the lack of services offered by carriers.
Walsh was asked whether Cisco was prepared to share some of the investment risks with carriers and service providers considering it was still so locked into evangelising its broadband and wireless "vision".
"We are in the hardware and software business. We are not in the business of becoming a carrier," he said dismissively.
Despite the decline in Internet usage and the economic slowdown, Cisco's message remains largely unchanged: the Internet is becoming increasingly critical to conducting business in Australia.
According to Walsh: "Internet economy firms were 50 per cent more productive per worker than non-Internet economy firms."