Published: November 19th, 2018

Two of Canada’s big four telecoms picked up a total of four awards last week at Cisco System Inc.’s partner summit in Las Vegas.

Telus and Bell Canada are regulars at Cisco’s partner awards and well-versed in Cisco’s collaboration and SD-WAN technologies. The collaboration portfolio, in particular, has been a big growth area for Telus, according to Benoit Simard, vice-president of business solutions product marketing for Telus, and it helped them earn Cisco’s Architectural Excellence Partner of the Year for Collaboration award.

Telus also walked home with hardware in 2016 and 2017 thanks to its work with Cisco’s collaboration line of business. While Cisco is just one of many partners that Telus works with, their relationship has grown over the years.

“It’s evolved from the reselling years to partnering with Cisco to deliver managed services together,” Simard told CDN. “It’s not just Telus, it’s an industry trend. People are moving to the cloud. It offers us an opportunity to offer cloud-based services that are simple to acquire and manage.”

When it comes to SD-WAN, Cisco Meraki, one of the more recent additions to Telus’ Network-as-a-Service offerings, has been gaining traction among Telus customers, indicated Simard, especially among smaller businesses with 10 or 20 employees. Meraki’s integrated security features and ease of use have been a perfect fit for businesses putting a premium on simplicity.

Bell Canada makes history

At this year’s partner summit, Bell became the first Canadian service provider to win Cisco’s Americas Partner of the Year Award.

Bell launched its new Virtual Network Services (VNS) platform Oct. 18, giving business and enterprise customers on demand network functions, such as security and routing, eliminating clunky hardware performing similar functions.

“When we launched the Bell VNS, we had already been working with a number of early pilot customers, approximately half-a-dozen of them. And we continue to see a healthy stream of interest from clients,” said Jeremy Wubs, senior vice-president of marketing. “Some of them are larger customers with a national footprint, lots of retail locations with a complex national network. The other profile customer tends to be one with a heavy data centre footprint.”

Rola Dagher, president of Cisco Systems Canada, said the partner ecosystem in Canada has grown steadily over the year, and partners such as Bell have broken new ground with emerging technologies such as SD-WAN.

“They were able to provide the market with state of the art technology and simplify the way services are delivered around it as well,” said Dagher.

In addition to Americas Partner of the Year, Bell scooped up the awards for Canada’s Partner of the Year, Service Provider of the Year, and Architectural Excellence Partner of the Year for Enterprise Networking.