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Digital Britain: RAPTOR, a Catalyst for Economic Growth

August 15, 2013 - 2 Comments

I have previously penned a few posts about the projects I am involved with at Cisco, including RAPTOR – the start-up grant program that’s based out of the Greenwich Peninsula.  My prior stories focused on the digital business start-up element of this program, rather than the wider initiatives being led by our United Kingdom and Ireland (UK&I) Strategy and Innovation Team

The Cisco team that supports RAPTOR is also located in Greenwich, London — right next door to the Ravensbourne College of design and communication.  The Cisco team’s charter includes start-up incubation and development, and ongoing research of customer needs and network-centric innovation.

With the help, encouragement and guidance of Rod Halstead, the Cisco Managing Director of Public Sector, a local Cisco innovation and development team is now being established to champion these projects.

The team, led by Gareth Macneachdainn, is a unique part of the Cisco UK&I organization.  Exploring the possibilities beyond our more typical structure of sales, technical or services, their local market research and resulting recommendations are directly targeted at influencing every Cisco customer that is actively engaged in the rapidly evolving UK digital economy.

Start-up Enablement in Action

Driving innovation through the start-up program, RAPTOR has been a catalyst for their innovation strategy. The RAPTOR program is a local stakeholder collaboration between Cisco, Living PlanIT, Infusion and Digital Enterprise Greenwich.

This program is designed to enable start-ups gain access to Technology Strategy Board (TSB) funding, provide expert mentoring to entrepreneurs that helps them develop their products and facilitate introductions to Cisco customers for pilot testing.

This approach to start-up enablement has been hugely popular and they’ve now opened their 3rd round of Problem Statements, which can be found here.

Research and Development

The team’s research approach includes close working relationships with a number of acclaimed universities across the UK.  One example is the partnership agreement that has been established via the Cisco Research Centre and University of Strathclyde in Scotland.

The partnership enables the academics and industry experts to complete research together and provide industry-changing solutions that fit with both organizations goals.   One area of research that is currently underway is focused on the emerging concept of the Internet of Things.

Exploring Smart City Projects

The Cisco team is also focused on the City of Glasgow, Scotland as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.  Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, has recently been awarded circa £24 million of UK Government funding — to enable Glasgow to become the first ‘Smart City’ in the UK.

Cisco has been engaged with the Glasgow City Council, specifically on the current street lighting conundrum.  With no management and no monitoring, Cisco has partnered with a RAPTOR start-up to see if a solution can be established.

Cisco Customer Engagements

One of the final pieces of the puzzle, that brings together all of their related research, is customer engagements and awareness.  The team is currently hosting customers at the Greenwich facility to run innovation workshops; in a Cisco-on-Cisco manner.

The team is demonstrating the way they innovate and provide real business solutions that met the customer’s needs.  If you are interested to find out more, then please get in touch with your Cisco representative.

In addition to demonstrating how Cisco are innovating within the UK, the team also conducts seminars on hot topics.  One of the most recent seminars was about IPv6 and the impact that this technology will have for organisations across the UK and beyond – especially important, considering the predicted increase of devices and things connecting to the internet over the next 5 -10 years.

If you would like to find out more about the Cisco UK&I Strategy and Innovation Team, please reach out to Ersel Oymak, Innovation Technology Manager via

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  1. Andy - excellent introduction of the team with a great insight. Look forward to reaching out to a greater community and raising awareness of CISCO UK&I Strategy & Innovation Team endevours in the ICT industry.

    • Thanks Ersel for your comments, the Strategy & Innovation is a key element to the development of Cisco in the UK&I and increasing Cisco's relevancy its customers in the region. I hope that with greater understanding of the work being completed by the team that more customers and individuals in Cisco will make contact with you.