The Six Five Connected with Diana Blass, Episode 8: How Enterprises Kickstart AI via Networking

The Six Five Connected with Diana Blass, Episode 8: How Enterprises Kickstart AI via Networking

Inside the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, the home of Real Madrid, everything has become connected thanks to a Wi-Fi 6 network using Cisco technology. The network serves as the stadium’s digital backbone, enabling transformation through AI to drive new fan experiences and operational efficiencies. In this episode of The Six Five Connected, host Diana Blass explores how other businesses can do the same. Learn more in interviews with Real Madrid CIO Enrique Uriel, Cisco’s Bob Everson, Cisco’s Matt Macpherson and AT&T’s Mike Troiano.

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Enrique Uriel: Bernabéu Stadium is going to be a data driven stadium

Diana Blass: Inside the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the home of Real Madrid. Everything has become connected.

Enrique Uriel: from the agronomical area that makes the grass grow in the right way to just a simple sensor to measure temperature. And all that data is coming into a big database.

Bob Everson: All of the training data, all of the data that goes into these models is coming from the network somewhere, whether it’s coming from individual users. Or it’s coming from devices.

Diana Blass: Devices at Real Madrid’s case run on a Wi-Fi 6 network where they power the ultimate fan experience and optimize operational efficiencies capabilities made possible through AI.

Enrique Uriel: Artificial intelligence is going to be based not only in the football part, of course, but building is going to be intelligent enough to take all that information.

Diana Blass: So how can other businesses do the same? Let’s get connected. Here’s what I discovered at Mobile World Congress. I researched a topic through the lens of Cisco, a networking leader who didn’t just advertise its solutions at the conference, but put them to work.

Matt MacPherson: We are operating the entire show from a Wi-Fi perspective. In fact, you can look up in any position anywhere in any of these halls and what do you see? You see Cisco APs and they’re using these antennas to point down to make sure that we can connect anybody everywhere.

Diana Blass: Cisco has been providing Wi-Fi services here for years and it’s interesting to think about how our needs for a network have changed in that time. A conference that once largely focused on smartphones now showcases all sorts of connected devices. From those inside automated factories to the car I got to sit in while chatting with Cisco’s Jonathan Davidson. This is a great example of how cars are changing and the network is playing a big role in making that happen.

Jonathan Davidson: Absolutely. So think of a car as simply a phone with wheels. It’s basically a data center on wheels and you need to be connected. You need to have all the access to information. You need to be able to provide these new services. A car is not just a one time transaction. Because you’ve continued to deliver these new experiences to consumers and users, and so you have an ongoing relationship. That requires connectivity.

Diana Blass: Now, you have a new collaboration with TELUS when it comes to 5G. It sounds like connectivity is finally getting to the stage where use cases like this are possible. So tell us more about what you’re doing with TELUS.

Jonathan Davidson: Absolutely. Well, with TELUS, we are partnering with them to go and enable 5G SA for mobile IoT connectivity. So If you go back just even five years ago, a lot of the leading manufacturers had 3G networks, and now we’re going to 4G, and now vehicles coming off the line are, they have 5G. TELUS is on the forefront of having the latest and greatest technology, 5G SA, so that those, Cars that are on the cutting edge of technology can get the great experiences that 5G SA can deliver.

Diana Blass: 5G was a big topic at the conference as it has been for years and while the connectivity is a good fit for cars, Cisco’s Bob Everson reminds us that Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and 4G can be just as powerful in enabling an AI ready network.

Bob Everson: The thing that’s really important is that we look at what the end user is going to want. So rather than Telco’s build it and they will come, we What they’re saying is, okay, let’s orient around what the end users are looking for and the outcomes they’re looking for. And then 5G is a means to them delivering those outcomes. You know, we have the, the Apple, uh, vision Pro, uh, I found out they put 18 cameras around a stadium to video the, the footage for that. So you think about connecting all of those with 5G. So it’s a great augmentation for Wi-Fi and for other services that they have in there.

Diana Blass: So what are the factors when deciding what kind of network to use and the model to support it? As we learned earlier, Real Madrid, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium uses Wi-Fi 6

Enrique Uriel: with the 5G. That client belongs to the operators with a Wi-Fi decline belongs to you.

Diana Blass: We also spoke to AT&T, which uses Cisco Meraki to set up an SD-WAN network. Operators can use an SD-WAN network to reroute applications when traffic is high or if the equipment goes down.

Mike Troiano: In larger companies, for every minute the network is down, customers can lose up to $45,000 per minute of lost productivity and lost revenue. You start to think if the network’s down for 10 minutes, right? You do the math. That’s a big impact to a business, let alone go down market to a small pizza shop that can really be crippling.

Diana Blass: These are the network considerations that enterprises must think about as the rise of AI adds more data to the network while demanding more energy, higher bandwidth and more memory to support compute. Oh, wait, but enterprises also need to ensure that the data flowing on this network is secure. That leads us to Cisco’s pending acquisition of Splunk, which will open up new observability capabilities, giving network operators a full view into the data as it moves across the network. Observability was labeled a 34 billion opportunity, which is why the acquisition is expected to be a big differentiator for Cisco.

Already, there’s talk of adding generative AI capabilities to the solution so that operators and developers can interact with the tech to speed up detection and response. It comes at a time when the market for network vendors is intensifying. HPE recently announced that it’s acquiring Juniper Networks, speaking to the demand for networking solutions among enterprises. Networking, after all, as we learned at Mobile World Congress, serves as the foundation of change in the age of AI. Now, the challenge for network vendors.

Bob Everson: All of this stuff just needs to happen really. And that’s what the customer is saying. They just want it to happen and happen naturally for them.

Diana Blass: It comes as the AI hype continues to outpace the deployment of AI within enterprises. Could these solutions and partnerships change that narrative? Stay with me and you’ll stay connected. I’m Diana Blass signing off with Six Five Media.

Author Information

Diana Blass is a journalist with a background in technology news and analysis. Her work has appeared on Fox Television Stations, The Discovery Channel, CRN, Light Reading, and other Informa-owned media brands. In addition to her work at The Six Five, she manages Diana Blass Productions, where she develops and produces digital documentaries, podcasts, and commercials for media and corporate brands.


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