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Cisco CEO: Company Saw ‘Great Traction’ with Intent-Based Networking Solutions in Q1

Cisco’s intent-based networking solutions that use machine learning and automation provided the company with a boost in its fiscal first quarter (ended Oct. 28), according to CEO Chuck Robbins.

“We are seeing great traction with our new intent-based networking solutions, delivering accelerated innovation across our portfolio and offering a broader range of new consumption options to our customers, resulting in strong increases in our software and subscription revenue,” he said Nov. 15 in an earnings call.

Cisco is “well-positioned to capture long-term growth opportunities ahead,” he said. For example, within the company’s applications business, Cisco is “enabling new capabilities based on advanced” artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning across its portfolio, he said. An example of that was Cisco’s recent acquisition of Perspica, which he said provides deep machine learning-driven analytics to “further extend AppDynamics’ leading capabilities in application intelligence.” Cisco bought AppDynamics earlier this year.

Cisco also recently announced the latest innovation on its Spark platform, Spark Assistant, which he called “the world’s first enterprise-ready, AI-powered voice assistant” and an innovation that will “further enhance our customers’ meeting experience,” he said.

Cisco’s planned purchase of BroadSoft, meanwhile, stands to “enhance our subscription and cloud-based business,” he said, adding BroadSoft has 19 million subscribers in “the growing cloud voice and contact center space and will enable Cisco to offer an even broader portfolio of collaboration solutions to our customers, on-premise and in the cloud.” Cisco expects that acquisition to “accelerate the pace of innovation in our collaboration business and we see many opportunities to extend the reach of the BroadSoft portfolio,” he said.

The company is also taking advantage of the growing need for cybersecurity. “With an expanding threat landscape, cybersecurity is the number one priority for businesses worldwide and is at the heart of every company’s digital strategy,” Robbins said, adding: “In a multi-cloud world, as our customers’ environments become increasingly distributed, security requirements only increase. At Cisco, security continues to be a strategic imperative and fundamental to everything we do. As customers adopt and advance intent-based networking, our end-to-end security is the foundation to keep our customers protected from advanced threats.”

Cisco’s first-quarter profit grew to $2.4 billion (48 cents a share) from $2.3 billion (46 cents) a year ago. But revenue dipped to $12.1 billion from $12.4 billion. Security revenue grew 8% from a year ago, to $585 million, while applications revenue increased 6% to $1.2 billion and services revenue inched up 1% to $3.1 billion. However, infrastructure platforms revenue fell 4% to $7 billion, while revenue from other products decreased 16% to $296 million.

Cisco shares were trading more than 6% higher, at $36.30, the afternoon of Nov. 16.