By Shaun McCarthy, VP, Mass-Scale Infrastructure Group, Cisco\nJust as people should focus on a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and regular exercise to maintain optimal health as they age, enterprises and service providers must continually invest in their infrastructure to maintain optimal connectivity for their employees and customers as they grow. In the best of times, this was a challenge. Then came the pandemic, which introduced remote work. This elevated the challenge for businesses to reinvent productivity, for consumers who shifted to hybrid work, and for the service providers who connect them all together. \u00a0\nWith hybrid work here to stay, employees require the same reliable, speedy and secure enterprise-grade connectivity they have at the office. The experience must be just as good at home or on the move. Employee productivity demands it. Driving increased digital agility with new hardware, software, silicon, and optics solutions, Cisco is helping companies and service providers transform the future of work.\nLet\u2019s look at how Cisco is addressing hybrid work for companies around the world, starting with the one that comes to mind immediately in terms of global remote collaboration: Webex. This powerful conferencing and videoconferencing tool is the cornerstone of the hybrid work future. People could meet anyone, anywhere, at any time with a click of a button. Recently, it\u2019s seen hundreds of newly-added AI and machine learning-based innovations that ensure an inclusive experience for every employee \u2014 real-time translation (over 100 languages), gesture recognition, background-noise reduction, and many more. \u00a0\nNext, let\u2019s look at security. Hybrid work just doesn\u2019t work without security. Security that\u2019s bulletproof yet simple and straightforward enough for a seamless user experience. Cisco makes it easy for employers to verify identity, enable secure access, and defend remote workers. And we build a unified platform, SecureX, into every security product that helps customers connect our security portfolio with existing security infrastructures to provide simplicity, visibility, and efficiency.\nAs the world moves toward hybrid work, traffic on the \u2018data highways\u2019 will continue to explode. Quality experiences will depend on how well the Internet can handle this growth. Cisco is also changing the game for service providers, enabling them to deliver quality connectivity to as many people and businesses as possible. Cisco innovations transform networking to enable greater speeds and extend quality coverage into difficult areas to meet today\u2019s global hybrid workforce connectivity requirements. Routed Optical Networking, part of the Converged SDN Transport Architecture, is a new network paradigm that delivers improved operational efficiencies and simplicity for service providers. Routed Optical Networking merges IP and optical private line services onto a single layer where all the switching is done at Layer 3. With this single service layer, flexible management tools can leverage telemetry and model-driven programmability to streamline lifecycle operations. This simplified architecture integrates open data models and standard APIs, enabling service providers to focus on automation initiatives for a simpler topology. It is a new paradigm, but it promises to provide the best overall TCO.\nLeveraging Cisco collaboration and security solutions and shifting to Routed Optical Networking for a simplified network architecture and operations process keeps people connected and in business, regardless of where they work. In today\u2019s hybrid workforce world, Cisco is proud to be helping organizations make every experience as secure, inclusive, and engaging as possible for their employees.\nFor more information about how Cisco is helping Service Providers transform their networks to connect more people and businesses and shrink the digital divide visit here.