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Accelerate Job Creation through Social Incubators

This post was originally featured on Huffington Post ImpactX

This week, I’m excited to be a part of the SOCAP15 (Social Capital Markets) annual conference. This event convenes more than 2,000 impact investors, world-class entrepreneurs, and incubator managers, working together to create a better future through social entrepreneurship and impact investing. When you’re surrounded by the world’s leading social innovators, it’s impossible not to be inspired by the energy and the “what if” possibilities all around us.


For example, what if we empowered a new generation of global problem solvers to innovate rapidly? And then, what if we enabled them to use their innovations to bring creative ideas to market and launch startups that generate more jobs through a global incubator network?

In a recent blog post, I talked about youth unemployment—74 million unemployed youth globally in 2014 (International Labour Organization, 2014)—and a recent Gartner Study that defines the landscape of job opportunities related to the Internet of Everything (IoE). In order for countries to thrive in the new economy fueled by IoE and digitization, we must address not only unemployment but also job creation.

Today, I want to share the UBI Global Social Benchmark 2015 Report developed in partnership with Cisco Corporate Affairs. The goal of this benchmark is to better understand and measure the success of social incubators using over 40 key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success factors, such as the value created for the participating client start-ups as well as the economic and social impact.

According to the UBI report, social incubators have created more than 90,000 jobs over the last five years. Job creation will no doubt play a crucial role in addressing the global unemployment challenge, including jobs created within social enterprises.

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Why Cisco is the Most Strategic Digital Partner

Since taking over as CEO, I have spent a lot of my time listening. I’ve met with customers, partners, government leaders, investors, and Cisco’s employees.   Each conversation yielded new insights and fueled my continued optimism about our future. What I have learned has not only helped solidify my thinking, but has enabled our entire leadership team to move quickly to define our differentiated strategy to lead the digital future.

Today, it’s a given that every customer is using technology to enable their business. But some customers view technology as a real differentiator for their business, and the most progressive define their strategy in the context of what technology makes possible.  In doing so, they drive competitive differentiation and, in many cases, define new business models.

On a visit to our Customer Experience Center in San Jose last week, one of our financial services customers told me he defined his organization as an outstanding technology company that secondarily happens to be very good at banking. This customer, like many others, has recognized the role that technology can play in enabling phenomenal customer experiences. In his case, the reach of financial expertise and the ability to securely deliver differentiated services is only limited by the reach of his private network and the Internet. Based on this understanding, he wants Cisco to be his partner in this digital transformation.

The strong belief in technology’s transformative power isn’t just restricted to business leaders. It extends to governments as well.  India’s Prime Minster Narendra Modi is laser-focused on leveraging technology to improve the lives of India’s citizens, and he recognizes his partnership with Cisco as critical in moving his Digital India agenda forward and creating a fully connected society, a knowledge economy, and unlocking the power of India on a global scale.

Our opportunity is clear: Cisco can be the most strategic partner to cities, countries and all of our customers on this digital journey.  Frankly, every organization recognizes the transformative power that technology can provide, but our research shows that only 25 percent of companies and governments say they have a plan to execute on that opportunity. These organizations that have a plan need our help to deliver the ultimate benefits. The remaining 75 percent need our help in clearly defining the opportunity that exists for each one of them.

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Data Centers: Applications, Networks and Chicken-Salad Sandwiches

You’ve seen the data points: 30 million new devices connected to the Internet each week. A whopping 50 billion connected by 2020. This surge of connectivity – driven largely by the Internet of Everything – is creating vast new opportunities for digitization as industries transform.

This tidal wave of connected devices is also reshaping the data center. Why? Because every single thing connected to the Internet has a MAC and IP address, and this enormous growth will unleash more addresses than anyone can imagine. These addresses need, feed, and breed applications, whether by running an app or providing it data. And as this happens at an exponential scale, the data center becomes the key to making it all work.

We know that the applications will be everywhere, and that’s a good thing. Apps will continue to be in the enterprise data center – the private cloud—where they’ve been running for a long time. And they’ll run in cloud-based data centers. They’ll also run at the edge – whether the edge is a branch office, your home, or even a part of your body.

For applications to perform optimally no matter where they are, the infrastructure has to understand the language of applications. We have to teach it. And this is where policy comes in. For us, policy is teaching the infrastructure the language of the application so that the application can tell the infrastructure, “Here is what I need to run at my best.”

This is an area where Cisco has a lot of skin in the game. After all, no one knows Data Center infrastructure better than we do.

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How the Internet of Everything is changing lives

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is already helping to unlock new possibilities for health care. What’s coming next is a new kind of connected medicine with the potential to save lives.

A networked connection of people, process, data, and things is transforming healthcare through developments like electronic health records that are customized and secured for each user, giving patients more information about their own medical care.

For consumers, IoE has given rise to an ecosystem of user-enabled health monitoring wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch, which deliver personalized, data-driven health insights. And healthcare organizations are developing a range of point-of-care technologies to improve patient care and access to needed healthcare.

As we recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, we celebrate the survivors and honor those we’ve lost to breast cancer. An area of hope against this cruel disease is the ability of IoE to provide us with data insights to help diagnose and treat breast cancer.

The need is more urgent that ever. The World Health Organization says breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer, killing more than a half million women globally in 2011. The rates of breast cancer are increasing, particularly in developing countries where most cases are diagnosed in late stages.

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Cisco Advancing Virtualization with AT&T

Cisco’s secret weapons are our engineers and our commitment to innovation that solves our customers’ business problems.

When we committed ourselves to being the leader in networking virtualization in the service provider industry, our team has been maniacally focused on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to enable our customers to transform their network architectures and prepare their businesses for the future.

We doubled the number of virtualized functions last year, and have done the same again this year, to reach more than 100 – a number that represents the breadth of our portfolio and the scope of the opportunity this new approach to networking brings to service providers.

Today was an important validation of our commitment to NFV and another strong proof point as to how virtualization is moving beyond “proof of concept” and into the largest networks on the globe. Together, with AT&T, we announced that our two companies are collaborating to enhance the AT&T Network on Demand platform by developing and deploying advanced virtualized technologies, including software-based customer premise equipment (CPE), that will deliver expanded benefits to business customers.


AT&T is utilizing Software Defined Networking (SDN) and NFV technologies to create dynamic, on-demand services. In March, we announced our joint efforts with virtualization to connect cars in Europe, and are pleased that we can work again with our long-standing partner, as they lead the shift to next-generation networking by providing customers more flexible and scalable services and experiences.

AT&T and other trailblazing service providers are in an enviable position, bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.

By combining Cisco’s expertise and industry-leading portfolio with AT&T’s vision and industry leadership, together we are working to capture new business opportunities that deliver on the promise of virtualization.

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