In the blink of an eye, it seems that we entered a new normal. As we navigate this new reality, two things become clear: first, there has never been a greater need for global problem-solving; and second, the ubiquity of technology and secure digital infrastructure has never been more essential.
Cisco has risen to the occasion during this time, pledging to help our customers, partners and communities, as well as governments, securely harness the power of technology to reduce the impacts of COVID-19. We have joined forces with federal, state and municipal governments across the Americas to address the coronavirus emergency.
Like our CEO Chuck Robbins recently said, “This crisis requires a global response, and we are incredibly fortunate that technology is connecting our efforts during this challenging time.”
How We Can Help
As citizens adjust to remote work, education and health care, our communication and security tools are allowing citizens to stay connected and productive in new, secure ways. To support these efforts, we have provided our technical expertise along with free video conferencing solutions (Webex), free security offerings and advice on how we can stay connected to each other during this period of physical distancing.
We will do everything we can to keep people and organizations secure and protect their privacy. At Cisco, we respect users right to privacy and believe security is never a tradeoff. As the largest enterprise security company in the world, we are uniquely positioned to protect our customers as their workforces go remote.
Helping Government Leadership in the Americas Stay Connected
Across the Americas, governments at all levels are embracing technology solutions offered by Cisco. The widespread adoption of virtual collaboration is sending a strong signal to citizens and financial markets.
Seventeen Mexican government agencies have adopted Webex to continue their operations virtually. Cisco supported the Office of President López Obrador by re-launching the TelePresence network that Cisco donated during the H1N1 crisis 11 years ago. Now, in this new time of crisis, the president and his government can again remain operational and serve their citizens.
In Costa Rica, Remote Consultation solutions are helping hospitals, and the public health agency is utilizing Webex to coordinate efforts. In Colombia, President Iván Duque and key members of his cabinet are using TelePresence and Webex to hold cabinet meetings and meet with governors and mayors.
In neighboring Ecuador, President Lenín Moreno continues to use Webex to deliver national addresses during this pandemic. Further south, the Senate in Paraguay has adopted Webex to hold regular sessions and committee meetings. And in Argentina, President Alberto Fernández is using Cisco´s Telepresence and Webex in his office, in addition to the House of Representatives, Ministry of Education and several local governments.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been using a Cisco EX90 endpoint to communicate with world leaders including for the G7 and G20 virtual meetings. And Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Navdeep Bains, convened a meeting to discuss advances in Canadian COVID-19 vaccine research using Cisco technology in Toronto, Ottawa and Saskatoon.
Supporting Those on the Frontlines in Healthcare
We have brought video conferencing and networking solutions with help from our partners to medical facilities and doctors around the world, allowing them to conduct emergency video communication and remote diagnosis with hundreds of collaboration devices.
In Costa Rica, for example, we are enabling remote consultation solutions in two major hospitals treating COVID-19 cases. In the United States, we repurposed and sanitized valuable Cisco DX80 video units and shipped them off to facilities in New York, Virginia, Washington and California to support emergency medical services efforts. And in Canada, hospitals and healthcare institutions are hosting virtual town halls with thousands of participants using Cisco’s Webex Events videoconferencing technology.
Keeping the Justice System Up and Running
We have been amazed at the new ways our collaboration technology is being used by governments across the world. One new application gaining praise: keeping justice systems functioning.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, judges in Brazil were required to suspend their judicial proceedings – in effect halting key elements of the country’s justice system. Through Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Program, in partnership with the National Council of Justice, and under the leadership of the President of the Supreme Court, the courts were able to return to business as usual and hold virtual hearings. In neighboring Paraguay, the Supreme Court of Justice held its Plenary Session virtually via Webex on April 1st. And in Canada Cisco is substantially expanding its video footprint in the Province of Ontario’s Justice Video Network Service, doubling capacity for remand visits as well as expanding support for bail hearings and courtroom services.
Helping Businesses Adjust to a Digital Environment
At Cisco, we’ve been using remote working tools for years and are sharing what we’ve learned with businesses, large and small, so they can understand all of their options to keep working and stay productive. The good news, it’s working. Webex has facilitated more than 12 billion meeting minutes for businesses in the month of March, reflecting 300% growth in use by U.S. organizations.
In the United States alone, over 1 million organizations are relying on Cisco to keep people working and their businesses operating remotely. In Latin America, where remote work is rare, we are seeing a cultural acceptance of remote work and an adoption by businesses and governments alike. We are proud to help these advances.
In Canada, Cisco is supporting small business owners and impacted employees by providing free webinars that focus on resilience, stress management and mental health hygiene during this period of isolation. In addition, Cisco Canada is funding up to three months of online therapeutic support for individuals who need specialized mental health support during this trying period.
More broadly, we continue working with governments, encouraging them to provide funding to businesses, health care institutions and schools so they have the resources to build out their remote capabilities for the future.
Helping Those Most Vulnerable
Many people in our communities were struggling before this tragic pandemic. Those who are most vulnerable are facing even greater risks to their health, stability, housing and well-being. And we’ve seen heroic non-profits struggling to serve their populations as the number of volunteers declines due to physical distancing practices and reduced donations as people’s financial concerns grow. That’s why Cisco committed more than $225 million in cash, in-kind, and planned-giving to support both the global and local response to COVID-19 worldwide.
We supported our longtime partner Destination: Home with a $4 million cash grant to provide financial assistance and resources to individuals and households who would be at risk of homelessness due to COVID-19-related illness in Santa Clara County. We provided a $200,000 Cisco Foundation grant to Feeding America to help food banks across the country as they support communities impacted by the pandemic. And we are rallying our 77,000 employees and encouraging them to give what they can to help our community partners on the frontlines and bolster their operations in this time of need.
Cisco will be providing funding that will go to the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) worldwide efforts to help prevent, detect and manage the spread of COVID-19 among other institutions. And our Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, will be providing funding for heads of state, government agencies and businesses to rapidly deploy COVID-19-related technology solutions.
Cisco has taken on complex challenges from the very beginning. It’s at the core of who we are. Across the region and across our company, we believe in using our technology to help others. We pledge to continue helping those in government lead their citizens through this unprecedented time.