2015-May-21

Get to Know
Jonathan Rosenberg





He's lead author and co-inventor of SIP, the cornerstone technology of modern telecomms. Today he's driving our cloud strategy.

At age 6, Jonathan Rosenberg knew exactly what he wanted to do when he grew up: "I want to work on computers," he'd say.

Fast forward three decades. He's a decorated innovator who's played a leading role in various disruptive technologies.

The former chief technologist for Skype, Jonathan returned to Cisco in 2013 as CTO of our Collaboration Technology Group (CTG). Cisco Fellow Cullen Jennings and CTG Senior Vice President and General Manager Rowan Trollope recruited Jonathan to help re-imagine our collaboration portfolio for a cloud future.

His job is to drive our cloud strategy. In the past two years he has been a key force behind our Cisco Spark collaboration product and its underlying hybrid cloud architecture. Both are cornerstones of our strategy to leapfrog the industry in the transition to cloud.

"I need to work at a place that is committed to embracing cloud and changing the world through this transition," Jonathan said. "Cisco is firmly committed to that."

Feeding the Passion

Jonathan taught himself BASIC at the age of 12. By high school, he landed a job building computers.

Next stop was MIT, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees. After that, he was selected for an internship program at AT&T Bell Labs, where he completed his PhD from Columbia University.

Creating Industry Firsts

During his internship, Jonathan was the lead author and co-inventor of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which became the cornerstone technology of modern telecoms. His vision and architecture for IP telecoms are now at the heart of how the industry operates.

By the mid-1990s, he became involved in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). In fact, he currently ranks as the seventh-most prolific author of Internet standards, with 71 RFCs. The impact of his IETF work is ranked fourth highest of any author of Internet standards.

"I love disruption, innovation and change," he said. "Today, the industry is being disrupted by the cloud. I became convinced that the cloud would become the ‘next big thing' and wanted to work at a place that is fully committed to embracing it. I know Cisco is committed to that."

Career Highlights

In 2002, Technology Review magazine placed him on the "Innovators Under 35" list, which included some of the world's top technologists.

He also was named a "Top Supergeek" by CRN and won a Pulver Von Pioneer award for contributions to the VoIP industry.

Earlier this year, he was presented the Ohio University Strowger Award for transformational innovation in the telecommunications industry.


Jonathan with family on their first cruise.

Family Man First

Outside of work, Jonathan spends most of his time with his family. He met his wife, Michelle, at MIT, and the couple has two children, Joshua, 15, and Abigail, 12.

At home, Jonathan is your classic "tech geek" and "hardcore video-gamer." He loves to read science fiction and fantasy novels and is a long-time World of Warcraft player.


Q&A with Jonathan

What do you keep in your office for inspiration?
"A variety of sci-fi and fantasy action figures. I rotate them from the shelf to my desk so that people I video call get to see a new toy each week.'"

What's your favorite book?
"A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. It's a Hugo Award-winning hard science fiction novel. I love the concepts it introduces and the world-building it creates around them."

What's your favorite food?
"Cheese. I'm a foodie and love fine cuisine and wines. In fact, I am a member of the Cheese of the Month Club at my local artisanal cheese shop."

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With Joshua and Abigail in Florence, Italy.

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