Cisco Systems will add broadband wireless technology to its portfolio within the next month, according to John Chambers, its president and chief executive.
Speaking at a Telecom '99 press conference in Geneva, Chambers and Don Listwin, executive vice president of new technology, said the company is specifically looking to use wireless technology for broadband access in Europe, where cable TV systems reach only about one-quarter of all homes.
"The U.S. will be the proving ground for broadband wireless, but Europe will be the deployment ground," Listwin predicted.
Chambers pointed to Cisco's earlier investments in wireless, including intellectual property rights in the Local Multipoint Distribution Service purchased from Bosch Telecom, its systems integration arrangement with Motorola and its acquisition of Clarity, with technology in the Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service arena. LMDS and MMDS are both wireless broadband systems but operate in different segments of the radio spectrum.
Chambers also promised to buy and invest in more European countries - as many as 10 more - before the end of the current fiscal year. Listwin told the press the company is interested in software, optical transport, broadband access systems and voice technologies for the enterprise market.
Chambers earlier had delivered a keynote address advising the global audience of Telecom '99 that the jobs of the future will go to the best-educated work force in the country with the best Internet Protocol-based infrastructure.
The current "hottest apps" on Chambers' list are virtual manufacturing - using the Internet to tie together the 42 manufacturing plants that Cisco leases with the two it owns to create a seamless infrastructure for delivering product to customers - and the "virtual close."
The latter refers to Cisco's ability to close it financial books at 24 hours' notice , with the promise of closing the books at an hour's notice within the next year.
"It's the biggest payback application we have," Chambers said. Cisco will be able to determine its profits by product line, market, sales center, customer or other macro, almost instantaneously, and act on that information immediately.
"This will change the way every employee works," Chambers advised.
Chambers also introduced Bill Nuti, formerly in charge of the Asia-Pacific market, as the new president of Cisco's Europe/Middle East/Africa division, replacing Bill Richardson.