The Apple-Cisco deal may change the world (not just the enterprise)

You have to hand it to Tim Cook’s Apple. The scale of the company’s ambition is only now being realized.


Apple and Cisco have revealed a key partnership that promises to unleash forces enterprises seek as they engage in digital transformation: Use of the world’s most popular enterprise devices, optimized for key global networks and backed up with the kind of analytical chops you can expect through Apple’s other deal with IBM.

The reason this matters so much is couched in plain sight in the joint press release: “Apple and Cisco today announced a partnership to create a fast lane for iOS business users by optimising Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps, integrating iPhone with Cisco enterprise environments and providing unique collaboration on iPhone and iPad.”

The big news here is that Cisco networks and iOS devices will be optimized to work together “more efficiently and reliably." That’s so important when you consider how essential Cisco is to networks across the planet, with a huge presence in unified communications, SDN, the data center and wireless infrastructure.


This means enterprise users can look forward to better compatibility, performance and kit. More than this, it also means enterprise-focused Cisco-based developers offering digital business processes, network intelligence-based solutions and all manner of arcane-sounding deep technology solutions to their clients -- making it even more likely that Apple is brought into the fold.

Apple’s clear determination to forge a future in the enterprise market (as evidenced by its IBM and Cisco alliances) should also reassure enterprise users the company is in it for the long haul.

Put it all together and it seems likely that over the next 18-24 months Apple won’t just be in the enterprise, it will be inside the enterprise network. That opens interesting opportunities in network intelligence in combination with artificial intelligence -- with implications across the future connected planet.

Inside the network

Being inside the network is critical to the evolution of enterprise technology. We’re already seeing the significance surrounding buzz words like big data, artificial intelligence, SDI, DaaS and so on. The Cisco deal means Apple’s technologies will swiftly become peer players even at the deep end within enterprise IT. Deep  implementation of Apple support within Cisco and IBM solutions will mean improvements for iOS systems at every level of the new enterprise IT, including (crucially) new business development.

This latter can only be good news in the nascent wearables and IoT markets, as it must be anticipated that network integration will be critical, particularly with regard to security and privacy. And while governments globally seem to want to throw security and privacy of the individual against the wall, enterprise customers are unlikely to concede this without a struggle – and Apple has a winning security story privacy conscientious CTOs can now support.

Expect much more

In the short term, you won’t see much from the new Cisco deal. With Apple's support, Cisco will deliver experiences specially optimized for iOS across mobile, cloud and premises-based collaboration tools such as Cisco Spark, Cisco Telepresence and Cisco WebEx. Apple and Cisco will also improve iPhone support for business collaboration tools in Cisco voice and video environments, promising a “seamless experience between iPhones and desk phones."

You have to hand it to CEO Tim Cook’s Apple. The scale of the company’s ambition is only now being realized and it’s so much greater in scope than the Apple Watch. You see, what Apple is doing is leveraging its powerful consumer story to meld its products tightly within the digital transformation of everything. These foundations give it a launch point to enter new sectors; I’m talking smart cars and smart clothing, as well as  smart cities and smart infrastructure. Critics will say Apple is the new Microsoft, but I think Apple’s vision goes far further than Redmond’s ever did. Welcome to the computer world. Mine’s a Mac.

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