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India: Transforming Promise into Performance

Seven years ago, many people (including my mother-in-law) thought I had made a career-ending decision to accept a high-risk assignment and relocate to India. My mission:  build from the ground up Cisco’s second headquarters, a Globalization Centre East in Bangalore focused on innovation, talent and partner development that envisioned 10,000 employees in three years, including the top 10% of worldwide talent. My charter included developing a world-class technology campus that also served as a showcase for incubating and advancing Smart City services worldwide, and to become the most relevant ICT company in India.

Was it the right decision?

Wim #1Although half a world away from Cisco’s corporate headquarters in the Silicon Valley, I thought the new job was still full of great promise. India was and still is the world’s largest democracy, had a growing talent pool, a zest for innovation, a co-operative government, aspirational middle class and a potentially huge economy purring along at 8% annual growth.

In four years, we partnered with national and local governments as well as an ecosystem of commercial businesses to architect and develop a fully networked campus.The Smart + Connected Community inBangalore integrated building systems with IT systems and applications onto one IP network, enveloped by artfully designed buildings and collaborative work spaces.

Today, the 1-million-square-foot Globalization Centre East campus employs more than 11,000 people, houses Cisco’s Research and Development, IT and customer support teams with the best talent in industry. The campus also meets my original charter Wim #2as the incubator for validating our industry-leading Smart + Connected Communities, especially Smart Cities, which today has projects on nearly every continent worldwide, encompassing more than 90 engagements.

All that has been extremely rewarding to see, but was it the right decision?

We achieved every critical objective except one: growing ICT technology throughout India itself. In my four years of living in India and after a number of subsequent trips revisiting there, I now realize that the promise and opportunity of India can be unpredictable.  After several years of nearly double digit growth, India’s economy spiraled down, experienced high inflation, a weakening rupee, allegations of government corruption and financial policy decisions that spooked the international investment community.

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Summary: Renewable Energy Agency Deploys Scalable, Power-Resilient Network

With its fast-growing economy, India faces significant challenges in meeting the energy needs of its population and industry. And given the growth of the renewable energy sector, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) was established in 1987  to promote, develop, and extend financial assistance for projects involving renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, and conservation. IREDA recognized the need to optimize use of its resources and leverage technology advances to better serve its constituents.

To improve the efficiency of its increasingly complex operations, IREDA sought to replace its aging heterogeneous campus network infrastructure with a scalable, unified solution. Key requirements included superior reliability and security as well as energy efficiency to foster the agency’s values while providing cost savings. There was an immediate benefit in lowering network energy consumption and the network would be the tool to both help ensure the security of confidential information and provide high performance for applications such as video.

How did this renewable energy agency approach deploying a network that would be scalable and power resilient while optimizing network efficiency? Click to read the full blog

 

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Trading Up to Lower Carbon in Bangalore

March 25, 2014 at 8:00 am PST

Electric trading markets that allow consumers to procure blocks of energy directly from generation providers have existed for a long time, but have tended to be in areas with highly stable distribution systems with access limited to large consumers.  Customer segmentation within electricity markets has therefore been limited, with utilities defining tariffs and establishing service reliability based on customer type: residential, commercial, or industrial.  However, technology platform enhancements have enabled smaller consumers to participate in electric trading markets and enabled system operators with a less stable grid to provide this service.

The result is that consumers, and not just the utility companies, can define the characteristics and pricing for their electric service. 

For Cisco, this change is allowing us to purchase electricity in one of our most important, but least reliable and highest-carbon locations — Bangalore, India — in a new way that reflects our requirements for availability and environmental impact.

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Increasing Business Investments and IT Opportunities

Charting a New CourseAs business groups increase their technology investments and gain more access to new technologies and consumption models, IT’s balance between operational excellence and innovation is shifting. Technical innovation can now happen anywhere. This change presents a huge opportunity for IT to drive innovation in new ways. So which organizations are seizing this opportunity?

To find out, we recently conducted the Cisco Business and IT Priority Survey to determine how these groups manage innovation, and how their business and IT priorities are linked. See the info graphic and previous blog for global results and observations, and see how your priorities compare to your peers by taking the survey here.

As today’s innovation and technology investments can dramatically impact tomorrow’s business results, the investment levels by region are particularly interesting.

For example, 50% of business leaders in China see technology innovation as a critical differentiator to their business, whereas in the US, only 21% rank innovation as critical. Multiple times in the survey, the responses from China indicated a collective interest in innovation as a top business priority. In Germany, 23%, and the UK 25% of business leaders also see innovation as a business priority as critical.

Companies in India and China also indicate that their investments are growing faster than other regions’. About 81% of Indian business leaders surveyed, and 75% of Chinese ones expect their technology budgets to increase next year – many by more than 25%. By contrast, 54% of UK businesspeople, 48% in Canada and Germany, and only 41% in the US expect their technology budgets to grow.

Indian and Chinese business leaders also indicate that they’re spending a bigger proportion of their own growing budgets on technology. In China 82% of those surveyed plan to spend at least 25% of their business budgets on technology, and in India 71% are doing the same. By contrast, only 41% of US and 45% of Canadian business leaders are spending more than 25% of their budgets on technology.  Read More »

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Feeding the Children: Cisco’s Global Hunger Relief Campaign in India

December 17, 2013 at 9:00 am PST

Rohini KamathThis post was written by Rohini Kamath, who works for Cisco’s Community Relations team in Bangalore, India, helping employees give back to society.

As we inch closer to the final week of Cisco’s signature fundraising campaign, the Global Hunger Relief Campaign, we look back and feel proud about the 150,000 children we have fed over the last 6 years through our exclusive nongovernmental organization (NGO) partner Akshaya Patra Foundation.

Akshaya Patra, one of the largest mid-day meal programs in the world, serves meals across 10,000 schools in India. The Global Hunger Relief Campaign this year aims to fundraise to benefit 40,000 children for an entire year. To add momentum to the effort, the Cisco HR team in India organized a marathon in support of the campaign. With the mission of “achieving miles for smiles,” over 300 employees participated.

Food packages that Cisco employees put together are delivered to students at a government-run school.

Food packages that Cisco employees put together are delivered to students at a government-run school

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