This post was written by guest blogger Vicki Batka, Managing Director, Cisco Partner OrganizationAsia Pacific & Japan. If you missed Vicki’s presentation as part of Women Rock-IT, you can watch the full replay on Cisco’s Youtube channel.

I am so happy to share that I presented at Women Rock-IT on April 18, where I had the chance to talk about not one, but two things that I am extremely passionate about. The first is partnerships, which is something I think about when I wake up every day. How can we collaborate with the close to 20,000 partners in the region, and how can these partnerships create a lasting impact for the generations to come?

For the past 27 years, Dimension Data and Cisco have been partners in delivering on a greater good for the world. However, both companies also share a passion for protecting wildlife heritage through technology. Hence, we launched Connected Conservation, with a goal of protecting endangered rhinos through innovative, connected technology. Its success led to the creation of a 2-part feature documentary, Save This Rhinowhich was produced in conjunction with National Geographic.

This documentary follows desperate efforts in South Africa, where 80% of the world’s critically endangered rhinoceros live. Because of rampant poaching for the rhino’s highly sought-after horn, their population has dwindled below 25,000. Today, three rhinos are killed per day, and if this continues, the animal will be extinct by 2025.

Personally, after visiting one of the areas impacted, Sabi Sands, I saw that this is a very real issue that needs to be addressed immediately. I am extremely proud that Cisco, together with one of our oldest partners, Dimension Data, has creatively used high-tech solutions in the wild to create what could possibly be the future of conservation—a non-invasive technique that tracks humans, not animals.

This is done through a combination of long-distance radios, magnetic sensors, acoustic fibre, CCTV, PTZ, and Infrared cameras, which are helping to stop poachers in their tracks. The pilot deployment of this Connected Conservation solution has helped a private game reserve enjoy more than 436 days without a rhino being killed, compared to almost one rhino killed a day, pre-deployment.

I believe that former English cricket captain Kevin Pieterson, one of the hosts of Save This Rhino, describes the partnership for lasting impact best when he says:

“The effectiveness of Cisco and Dimension Data’s high-tech solutions, highlights that by thinking outside the box, harnessing passion and new technology, we can find solutions to save these animals that are critical to nature.”

I’ve never been more proud. Learn more about Cisco Conservation and Save This Rhino by reading Cayla Yang’s blog.


Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco