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A Digital India is A Possibility Today

Our digitising India vision is one of the most exciting initiatives the country has embraced to leapfrog us to the 21st century. What was once a visionary notion is now the new normal: technology is really as essential as the three utilities: water, gas, and electricity. Our government leaders have made it clear that broadband highways are as important as national highways. Through the government’s Digital India program, infrastructure will be offered as a utility to every citizen, governance and services will be on demand and citizens will be digitally empowered. It is this Digital India vision that inspired us to unveil our Cisco Smart City.

As part of the inauguration of the Cisco Smart City, we demonstrated the possibilities of the government’s Digital India program where infrastructure would be offered as a utility to every citizen, governance and services would be on demand and citizens would be digitally empowered. Over 150 partners and customers joined us at the launch as we showcased how our 2.6 million square foot campus-as-a-city, powered by the Internet of Everything, enables thousands of Cisco employees to work, play and learn with the physical network infrastructure securely connected to devices such as sensors, information access points and mobile devices.  We showcased our latest solutions in such as Smart Buildings, Remote Expert, Connected Learning, Smart Parking and Smart Work Spaces.

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Smart Cities Are a $7.5 Billion Annual Opportunity for Technology Providers

Cities around the globe are beginning to build out new digital services such as smart lighting, traffic, waste management and data analytics to reduce costs, tap new sources of revenue, create new innovation business districts and improve the overall quality of urban life. The previous blog (“How to Make Money from Smart Cities”) identified the great opportunities for the technology vendors and partners to help to create and operate these digitally smart cities of the future.

The Cisco Smart City Business Architecture identifies a set of essential requirements in a number of different business layers essential for delivering and operating a successful smart city initiative.  In order to measure this opportunity, we developed a detailed economic model based on the business architecture.  We chose Seattle in the USA as a representative city, with roughly 3 million people in the greater metropolitan area, to quantify the potential opportunity available to technology providers.  Our model smart city initiative included covering 30 per cent of the city area with a Wi-Fi network and four key smart city solutions – traffic incident management, smart lighting, smart parking, safety & security.  In addition, we included the technology platforms, operational capabilities, and services in the Smart City Business Architecture. All of the services and solutions were modeled as managed services, generating an annual revenue stream to the provider. Read More »

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How to Make Money from Smart Cities

As cities around the world grow in size, we are beginning to see that strained resources, infrastructure, and services are causing natural limits to urban growth, which in turn limits the economic growth opportunity.  To combat this, cities as diverse as Barcelona, Nice, Kansas City and Songdo in South Korea, are starting to leverage advanced technologies and data analysis to create smart, connected cities.  These cities, and others around the globe, are building out new digital services such as smart lighting, traffic, waste management and data analytics to reduce costs, tap new sources of revenue, create new innovation business districts and improve the overall quality of urban life.

Not only will the creation of smart cities generate huge value for the cities and their inhabitants, but great opportunities will also exist for the vendors and partners who help to create and operate these digitally smart cities of the future.  However, the question is where and how can partners such as infrastructure providers, technology and services companies, and communication providers participate?  And, what types of revenues can they generate from helping to create smart cities?

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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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Launching Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence in Europe

I recently wrote about how we are extending Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR)  and our open innovation strategy beyond Silicon Valley through local incubation partners in Chicago, San Diego and Berkeley.  Our presence in these innovation hubs will enable us to discover, influence and learn from new ideas and talent at early-stage startups with potential to disrupt our industry.

Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of Cisco EIR Europe, extending our program to a non-U.S. innovation hub for the first time.  Cisco EIR will be located initially in Vienna, where we plan to launch a small cohort of early-stage European startups by January 2015 – to be supported & incubated by Cisco – drawn from across EMEAR.  As with Cisco EIR in Silicon Valley, we will look for game-changing entrepreneurs in IoE, security, Big Data/analytics, Smart Cities & other transformational opportunities that are in Cisco’s strategic line of sight.  Also as in our Silicon Valley program, the startups will be supported by Cisco engineering & product teams as well as our EMEAR partner ecosystem.  The Vienna-based program is intended to serve as the beachhead – our “Phase 1” – for a broader EU-wide footprint for Cisco EIR.

Key to our success is how we leverage the startup ecosystem that already exists in Europe.  To this end, starting in Vienna, we have partnered with Pioneers, a leading startup community organization in Europe.  More partnerships are in the works.

I know all of you will agree innovation knows no national boundaries.  Europe, with its deep entrepreneurial talent, large market and history of innovation, presents a unique opportunity for usEurope is also one of the key regions for our Smart Cities – as you saw from our recent announcement of a new Smart Cities initiative in Copenhagen, following similar projects in Barcelona, Amsterdam Chicago and Hamburg.

We are thrilled to forge relationships in the European startup community – and support entrepreneurs as partners in open innovation.

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