Thursday, July 05, 2012

Are We Evil Now?

Last night I woke up at 3 am, and found that Cisco has become the new evil. The new big brother. The one who tries to control the world. At least that's how the blog post in here and here see the recent changes with Linksys routers for home networking.

To make the story short: Cisco announced the cloud service for Linksys routers. It dramatically simplifies how users connect, control and interact with their connected devices, including personal entertainment and home appliances. It also offers mobile app which provides easy access to the router using a smartphone or tablet, make it possible for the users to connect devices to their Wi-Fi Router with as little as one tap of a button or with a quick swipe, as well as the Internet content filter app to protect all users and devices from accessing content from security vulnerable sites, adult content and other non-family friendly sites.

That sounds good to me! Cisco seems to change the game, one more time, and this time Cisco shows the world how by utilizing the cloud it can bring home networking to the next level.

But for some others, they see two major issues:
1. After the recent automatic update to the latest software version that supports the cloud service, users now must login to their router using Cisco Cloud Service account. For some people they feel like Cisco is forcing all Linksys owners to subscribe to the cloud service.
2. Those who like to spend time to read a long Term of Service from the cloud service, found some confusing wording that may lead to "Cisco can monitor everything you do and sell your information" kind of thing. Or shutdown the router when the users are accessing warez and porn sites.

Perhaps Cisco should inform the users that with the latest software update their Linksys routers will be connected directly to the cloud. But accusing Cisco is the new big brother? I think it's just too far.

Many people sign up to Facebook and willingly provide their personal details without questions. Google recently changed their term of service that makes it possible to target ads you based on the information you provide. Those companies are "selling" your information in a way, because information is somehow their key product.

But Cisco?

I've been in the company for only 6 years but one thing I know for sure: everyone is damn busy. We have lots of networking products and we are so busy with them. Some of us are busy developing the products. Some are busy selling and marketing them. And some like me are busy deploying them. If you are in the company and not part of the team who either develop, or sell, or deploy the product it means you are a cost center. I don't think we have a big team, who has not generated any money hence the cost center, with daily job to monitor Internet usage of hundred thousands of Linksys owners. Heck I'm not sure even if have a big team to monitor the Internet usage of Cisco employees!

And to date Cisco still makes the revenue from the products and services. And the company focus now are with core networking, data center cloud, video, collaboration, and business architectures. I don't see "targeted advertisement" there. And what Cisco did last year by offering early retirement packages to thousands of employees and shutting down consumers division of Flip, is to become more efficient and inline with the company focus.

So I don't think Cisco is planning anywhere soon to become over-the-top technology company. And I don't see any recent jobs opening for that. Do you?

So what do I personally think about what happened?
Great idea, that introduced with small glitch.

Perhaps the Term of Service needs to be reviewed and scrutinized word by word to avoid the confusion. But that's it.

So is Cisco evil now? No, I don't think so.
At least not with this case.

Instead we are actually ahead of the game in home networking. Think about most people who don't want complexity in managing their wireless connection. Those who want to put parental control to filter Internet connection for their kids. And to monitor their home appliances from the phone.

That's. Freaking. Awesome.

Disclaimer: Yes, I work for Cisco. And yes, I'm proud to be part of the company that changes the way we live, work, play and learn. But the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I was not asked nor forced to write this post by anyone. And if Cisco wants to counter those blog posts they have much better team of writers for the job, as shown from this post.


Anonymous said...

Regardless of their good intentions, the update did force owners of these particular routers to subscribe to the cloud service and its terms of service. Is this not issue enough? It was a shiesty move on Cisco's part no matter how you slice it.

Anonymous said...

Have you checked the exec compensation vs value added (destroyed in this case) to shareholders in all these expansions away from your core business.. This is what you should focus on when you grow up

Not " I'm proud to be part of the company that changes the way we live, work, play and learn.".

its not evil but its far from saintly.

/evil troll