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A solo trip to Russia

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When you hear about Russia, what images come to your mind? Grand Palaces, matryoshka dolls, vodka?

Since studying Russian history at school and in my endeavour to visit as many countries as possible during my lifetime (I’ve currently visited 42), I’ve always wanted to visit the largest country in the world and to see the Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral and the Winter Palace with my own eyes. Read More »

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With Cloud, SMBs Will Lead Emerging Economies Across the Digital Divide

By Peter Ford, Director, IBSG Service Provider

Service providers in developing countries have the potential to kick-start economic growth by helping small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) take advantage of information and communications technology (ICT), especially cloud services. The “greenfield” nature of ICT in many emerging economies creates the opportunity to “leapfrog” to cloud computing.

For some time, governments have recognized the role of broadband in supporting economic development. The World Bank states that for every 10 percent of broadband penetration in a developing economy, there is typically a 1.38 percent increase in GDP.

Each year, there have been tangible improvements in broadband networks across emerging markets. However, in Read More »

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Why partner with Russia?

Last month I attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Russia, along with our CEO John Chambers. Together we participated in the Skolkovo Foundation Council Meeting (held quarterly) where we discussed strategies for increased momentum for Skolkovo. During the forum, John reiterated Cisco’s long-term approach to the country and highlighted the growth and potential of Russia within the context of tough economic times elsewhere in the world – a tremendous opportunity both for Cisco and for Russia.

Two years ago we made a commitment to support the Russian Government’s modernization agenda. Since then we have achieved visible progress in promoting a close partnership with the Russian Government by:

  • Aligning our activities in Russia with the country’s government course
  • Supporting Russia’s intention to modernize its economy and infrastructure, building upon the legacy of innovation that is a part of Cisco’s DNA
  • Offering technology and knowledge to help Russia achieve its national goals
  • Putting our positive stance on public-private partnerships and collaboration into action

A global company like Cisco is involved in public-private partnerships in innovating and renewing communities in many countries of the world. In Paredes, Portugal, Cisco is collaborating with Living PlanIT to develop PlanIT Valley, a sustainable community built on technology that transforms the area into a connected community running on next generation technology. Another example is Cisco’s work with McCaffery Interests in redeveloping the Chicago waterfront to revitalize the area.

I often get asked though, why partner with Russia? I wanted to share some of our thinking with you.

At Cisco, we view Skolkovo as a platform for future growth and innovation of new and emerging technologies. Russia is home to world-class talent in basic and applied sciences, offers a great education system that creates a workforce that has the ability to think differently, and a tenacious and persistent work ethic. These qualities in addition to Russia’s rich history and tradition of discoveries in science and research that has extended for centuries, makes it a perfect choice for Cisco’s innovation incubation efforts.

Cisco is invested in the success of Skolkovo. Earlier this year we outlined our Research and Development plans with the Skolkovo Foundation and are already executing on them. We are now beginning to hire our first engineering team in Russia focused on developing new emerging technologies.

Our plans at Skolkovo don’t stop at software development. As a key partner of the Foundation, we are actively involved in many important areas. For innovation to thrive, the right creative environment is required for the free flow of ideas and capital. Later this year, Cisco will support startups with funding through the launch of our second Skolkovo Innovation Award, focused on discovering and rewarding new promising startups in the areas of Healthcare and Education. We will provide technology and tools to all participants and reward the best startups with seed funding. The support for entrepreneurs through venture capital funding is in line with Cisco’s strategy to nurture innovation from talented people all over the world, as our work with the Almaz/Cisco Venture Capital Fund shows. To date, the Almaz/Cisco Fund has invested in 12 companies, of which 2 have residency in Skolkovo, and another 3 are in the process of applying for residency.

In the area of education, we will launch Cisco’s Entrepreneur Institute at Skolkovo Technopark, which will train Skolkovo Residents on how to develop and grow successful IT businesses. Beyond Skolkovo, we plan to partner with Russian educational institutions on joint technology development and research projects for emerging technologies. This will allow graduate students and researchers to co-develop technologies with Cisco engineers and validate their research against the needs of the marketplace. This extends our education investment in Cisco. Another example is our Networking Academy program in Russia, which was refined a year ago when Cisco announced its intention to triple the number of academies in this country, from 217 to 650, enabling 16,000 Russians to be trained each year by 2015. We are well on our way to meeting this goal.

In closing, we believe there is tremendous opportunity in Russia and we applaud the country for investing in its future and its people by spurring innovation, job creation and economic growth.

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Cisco and Sistema JSFC provide “Lift to the Future” for Russian Youth

Guest post from Frantisek Jakab

Frantisek Jakab is the Program Manager of Cisco Networking Academy in Slovakia

Russia’s concerted efforts to grow indigenous talent received significant boost recently. Cisco, the global leader in networking, and Sistema JSFC, Russia’s largest public investment company, have announced collaboration to enhance the quality of ICT education in Russia.

Why is it important? Russia wants to foster innovation locally via projects like Skolkovo that aim to create an ecosystem for innovation. To run that ecosystem, Russia will need local talent: world class technologists and entrepreneurs. The “Lift to the Future” project, launched by Sistema late last year, intends to be a vehicle to groom such talent from schools and universities by offering tutoring on Russia’s first youth tutorage network.

 

Cisco and Sistema JSFC Signed MoU to Enhance Cooperation and Help Modernize ICT Education in Russia
Photo: Elena Shmeleva (Sistema) and Paul Betsis (Cisco)

 

At ‘Social Lifts for Talented Youth -- Best Russian Experience’, a pioneering conference held by Sistema in cooperation with Moscow State Lomonosov University and Vedomosti daily newspaper, Cisco and Sistema have signed an MoU. According to it, Cisco will donate network equipment and provide access to its education programs.  In addition, the company will carry out skills-upgrade courses for teachers of the educational establishments involved in the project.  From its own side, Sistema will help Cisco to expand the Cisco Networking Academy™ program in Russia. Moreover, both companies intend to collaborate in launching student competitions, forums and summer schools to support talented Russian youth.

Elena Shmeleva, vice president of Sistema Charity Foundation, gave Cisco credit for being the first company to support the “Lift to the Future” project, stressing that “Education content provided by Cisco, as well as its unique training methodology will become a basis for training skilled ICT professionals and supporting Russian IT education within this project.”

For more details, please visit

http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=928928

 

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Smart Grid Progress in Russia

Earlier this month, Cisco and the Federal Grid Company of Russia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that establishes a long-term collaboration to improve the reliability and efficiency of the country’s power grid.

This MOU is the latest concrete step that Cisco has taken to help transform Russia’s energy infrastructure. Just about a year ago, Cisco set the mark by announcing a $1 billion investment in Russia over the next decade to drive entrepreneurship, sustainable innovation and energy efficiency. The investment includes the development of a collaboration model with Russian business in verticals such as smart grid.

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