Technology will be about improving productivity in the western word said Cisco CEO and chairman, John Chambers. He said that business leaders and politicians were all looking for ways to incorporate technology into their organisations, although Chambers warned there was a need for companies to push through structural changes too.

Chambers, who was giving the keynote address at Cisco Live Europe, said that there was a need for western economies to address the threat from an educated Asian workforce costing a third as much. But, he said, such changes were possible, "Economists say that productivity can grow five to ten percent a year, that's never been possible before."

But, he warned, companies shouldn't focus too much on technology itself. "Governments and businesses don't care about data centres or the cloud - all they want to know is how networks can solve your problems." He said that Cisco was adapting this process and taking the long view. "We have to bet three, five or seven years out."

In the short term, he reiterated that Cisco would focus on three key areas: video, collaboration and data centres but emphasised that security would be the number one focus for the company. He said that in the medium term, efforts would be on moving to the cloud, while the long term view would be on smart grid technology.

Chambers claimed that research and development was underpinning Cisco's advances. He told conference delegates that the company had spent 13 percent of its revenues on R&D in the past year, although there was an admission that it wasn't all about cutting edge. "We made $6bn worth of acquisitions last year and a lot of what we do it about the marketing power on bringing the products together."

Cisco Live Europe is running from 31 January to 3 February.