Special Features: Cisco chants Innovation Mantra
From social initiatives to skill development, the networking major focused on leveraging tomorrow’s digital opportunities
At the Cisco India Summit 2018, the company highlighted its various initiatives and programs to positively impact 50 million beneficiaries in India by 2025. This goal is aligned to Cisco’s global vision of impacting 1 billion lives worldwide by 2025 through digital solutions. As part of its philanthropic and Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, Cisco-highlighted the critical role information and communication technology (ICT) and public-private partnerships play to accelerate global problem solving and positively impact people, society, and the planet. Cisco is also using its strength in connecting people and things to the Internet and working to create a robust ecosystem including government and community organizations in India to effect real change in the areas of critical human needs, education, economic empowerment, and environmental sustainability.
Cisco Social Initiatives and Partnerships to Positively Impact 50 Million Beneficiaries in India by 2025 Entrepreneurship
Cisco is setting up a network of “Cisco thing Q-bator” IoT makerspaces or innovation labs in five academic institutions in India with the objective of digital skills development and entrepreneurship enablement
“According to a Cisco research, by 2030 there will more than 500 billion devices connected to the Internet. This will have a profound effect on not just businesses but our everyday lives too. In order to make the most of the plethora of opportunities that lie ahead of us, we will need to harness the power of technology to create an inclusive digital economy. With our philanthropic and CSR efforts, we are committed to positively impact 50 million beneficiaries in India the next seven years. We work with some of the most forward thinking partners, not-for-profit organizations, collaborative governments and scores of passionate employees to really make a different to the world that we inhabit.”
among student communities. Cisco is collaborating with the NASSCOM Foundation for the implementation of the program. The makerspaces will enable students to get hands on with technology and conceive digital solutions to local problems. The five academic institutions that have been chosen for establishment of ‘thingQbator’ makerspaces are Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, (IIITMK), Kerala, IIT-BHU Varanasi, Amrita University Coimbatore, Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women- Delhi and Trident Academy of Technology Bhubaneswar.
Cisco is also supporting N/Core, an incubator for social sector startups, to launch N/Core tech - an exclusive track focused on incubating early-stage nonprofits that leverage digital technology to positively impact society and solve some of India’s most pressing social challenges. N/Core tech will primarily focus on incubating companies that are developing solutions in the areas of critical human needs, educa-
“For India to compete in the global economy, strategic collaboration between businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations is critical. At Cisco, our collaborations and programs are focused on harnessing the power of technology to support and launch a generation of problem solvers who will innovate like technologists, think like entrepreneurs and act as social change agents.”
tion, and economic empowerment. Cisco will support up to 20 organizations during the first year in two cohorts. Each selected startup will receive an innovation grant of INR 10 Lakhs. In addition, the startup will have access to a set of mentors and technology experts from Cisco along with N/Core partners.
With the help of Cisco’s CSR grant, N/Core will invest in early-stage, tech-led ideas partnering with high-impact social sector startups to create scalable and sustainable solutions. In addition to providing cash grants, Cisco will also support these startups with mentoring, employee volunteering, and capacity building.
As part of its efforts to accelerate India’s digital transformation, Cisco is scaling up its Cisco Networking Academy program to create a pool of highly-skilled technology professionals. Through this program schools, colleges, universities and other nonprofit educational institutions are provided Cisco- developed curriculum in computer networking, security and IoT that can be integrated with the institution’s own educational offering. Cisco also supports public sector organizations like The Telangana Academy for Skills and Knowledge, and the ICT Academy of Kerala, to provide training on networking and cybersecurity skills aimed at improving employability of engineering graduates in those states. By 2020 Cisco aims to create a pipeline of 250,000 skilled students in India
as well as a marketplace for high-value technologybased careers. Already over 155,000 students have successfully picked up essentials skills from over 306 academies across the country.
Cisco also launched the Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Internet of Things (IoT) at R V College of Engineering, Bengaluru to give the next generation of students the digital skills and training necessary for jobs in the digital economy. On completion of the course, students and working professionals receive credential certificates jointly given by RVCE and Cisco. In the last one year, 1000 students have benefitted from this CoE.
• 'Step Up for India – Spoken English Program’ is in its fourth year and has benefitted over 300+ students from three government schools in Bangalore. The program delivers structured spoken English classes to students in grade 4 and 5 studying in government schools where the medium of instruction is the local language. These structured interventions are also executed in the space of STEM learning such as in the case of ‘Project Smiles Through Science’ which endeavors to provide an experiential learning platform for students on the basics of robotics through structured year-long programs leveraging the expertise and mentorship of Cisco volunteers. 120+ students from Parikrma Humanity Foundation benefitted from the program last year.
• Critical Human Needs
Cisco is also supporting the Akshaya Patra Foundation, the world’s largest (non-profit) mid- day meal program to help feed children across the country and digitize their kitchens across seven locations in India. While employee giving, volunteering and company matching grants help feed 35,000 children every day, Cisco’s enterprise- grade network and collaboration suite is connecting Akshaya Patra kitchens and their offices to efficiently track their kitchen production, distribution, supply chain and logistics. This digitisation effort is expected to increase Akshaya Patra’s operational efficiency by about five percent which will help them extend the mid- day meal program to over 28,500 students every day and one step closer to their goal of feeding 5 million children by 2020
• Environmental Sustainability
Cisco is also committed to reducing greenhouse
gas emissions and adopting renewable energy. It recently signed two solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) that will collectively deliver 85,000 megawatthours of clean, renewable electricity every year to the local electric grid near its Bangalore campus. These agreements will provide nearly 40 percent of the electricity that is needed to power Cisco’s Bangalore campus.
Cisco has also installed one megawatt of solar panels across all of its rooftops at the Bangalore campus. Collectively, these onsite solar installations and two new solar PPAs will reduce Cisco’s Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions at its Bangalore campus by over 70,000 metric tonnes per year, which is equivalent to taking 15,000 cars off roads or planting 1.8 million trees.
Meanwhile in his presentation Sudhir Nayar, Managing Director, Cisco India talks about SMBs: The Need to Go Digital
• Digital Technologies can help SMBs grow beyond local boundaries
• Digital SMBs grow profits up to twice as fast as counterparts offline
• They employ 5 times more employes compared to offline
• Raising Internet Penetration and uptake of Digital technologies by SMBs could help increase their contribution to GDP by 10%
But… Technology Adoption is extremely low
• Over 70% are completely offline / 28% are connected - only 2% are digitally engaged
• Availability of IT Skills/expertise
• Challenges with Deployment
• Investments - Financing, ROI, how to buy?
V C GOPALRATNAM, Cisco Foundation & Senior Vice President, IT & CIO – International
HARISH KRISHNAN, Managing Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, Cisco India & SAARC