ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 18, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 25
Financial Times  

Cisco unveils state-of-the-art campus in Bangalore

By Marisa de Silva

BANGALORE -- Cisco unveiled its state-of-the-art Globalisation Centre East campus in Bangalore last week at an opening ceremony presided over by former Indian President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and Cisco Chairman and CEO – John Chambers.

Cisco also announced that it is extending venture investment initiative in India by another $100 million to drive growth with high-potential Indian companies This venture investment in India is consistent with Cisco ’s long track record of driving growth in the information technology (IT) market through investment in the innovation economy. In 2005, Cisco designated an initial $100 million in venture funding for this purpose as part of its overall $1.1bn investment plan for India.

As the first of several potential iniatives Cisco is pursuing within the new $100m investment goal, Cisco is collaborating with Satyam Computer Services to explore a new venture investment. This planned new venture will focus on optimising, deploying and managing integrated healthcare management solutions globally, bringing together the market reach, capabilities and experience of both Cisco and Satyam.

Cisco today employs over 3000 people across India , and the first phase of the Cisco Globalisation Centre East campus will initially be able to accommodate 1200 personnel.

The new facility will house an advanced Global Briefing Centre to showcase Cisco ’s latest technology solutions and pr ovide an environment for closer collaboration with partners in spotlighting solutions for customers in emerging markets such as India , China , the Middle East , Africa , Asia and Latin America . The campus also houses the largest campus datacentre outside the US and will pr ovide a focal point for demonstrating next-generation virtualisation technologies and service oriented network architectures that support customers’ global environments. “ India is at the heart of our globalisation vision and provides a platform for Cisco to capitalise on the growth potential and lead market transitions in the emerging world. The commitment we are making to truly globalise our business is reflective of the changing business models of our customers and partners. We will develop pr oducts and services here that will fully support the goal of services-led solutions-oriented models for customers in this part of the world,” said Wim Elfrink , Chief Globalisation Officer for Cisco . “The new Globalisation Centre East will offer a collaborative work environment to help us attract and retain top talent, and take full advantage of collaborative technologies such as Cisco TelePresence to help us scale to support our continued growth across multiple emerging economies.”

The Bangalore opening ceremony showcased potential future applications of Cisco TelePresence technology, which allows groups in different locations to meet around a virtual table. By demonstrating new applications beyond the virtual meeting, Cisco is illustrating how Cisco TelePresence can be used for a wide range of collaboration applications, effectively eliminating distance as a barrier for organizational communications.

At the event, Cisco TelePresence was used to project full life-size images of Cisco executives in California onto the stage in Bangalore, as if they were there in person. The demonstration of an on-stage Cisco TelePresence experience integrated a next-generation display technology with Cisco TelePresence technology.

Cisco’s new facility demonstrates Cisco ’s commitment to green initiatives with sustainable design and construction into the built environment. The initiatives implemented include transportation programmes, sun-light and rainwater harvesting, waste recycling, the use of Telepresence, and will actively reduce Cisco ’s carbon foot pr int as well as reduce ongoing costs over the building lifecycle.

As a hub to support Cisco ’s growth in emerging markets, the new centre will house multiple TelePresence facilities to help scale teams to support customer engagements globally. In phase one, the campus is capable of supporting 12 simultaneous TelePresence sessions, with a total of 20 TelePresence units planned to be installed across the first 4 buildings. Cisco first established operations in India in 1995 and today employs more than 3000 people in the country across its Globalisation Office and R&D Centre in Bangalore , and sales offices in New Delhi , Mumbai, Bangalore , Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderaba and Colombo , Sri Lanka .

Naresh Balwant Wadhwa – President and Country Manager - Cisco Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd. speaks to The Sunday Times about CISCO’s current relationship and future plans for Sri Lanka.

What will be the trickle down effect of the Globalisation Centre be (if at all), to Sri Lanka?
The Globalisation Centre in Bangalore will enable Cisco to locate a significant presence in Asia , a region in which there is high growth potential. The Globalisation Centre East will develop disruptive business models for Cisco to create new go-to-market channels, markets, processes and technologies for emerging markets. Through the Globalisation Centre East, Cisco will be able to best serve its customers by creating new ways to deliver information, products and services.

We are looking to utilize India as a platform, to innovatively globalize and scale Cisco’s worldwide functions and also markets across Asia.

It was mentioned how Cisco hopes to simplify their systems to the extent of being accessible to even the illiterate. Does Cisco have any plans to run a parallel programme to gradually eliminate illiteracy as well or is it not in their purview?
Cisco believes that the Internet and education are the great equalizers of the next century, creating enormous opportunities for people and countries that succeed in harnessing the power of information and knowledge. The lack of Internet-supported education and shortage of technology-savvy workers are global dilemmas, threatening to place nations that fall behind at a permanent disadvantage in the new economy. Countries around the globe now have the chance to accelerate the development process by embracing information technology and committing themselves to match technological advancement with investment in human skills.

The Cisco Networking Academy Program (NetAcad) is a timely response to these challenges. It is a highly successful alliance between Cisco, education, business, government, and communities.

A world wide philanthropic program aimed at creating a pool of trained manpower that can address the growing need of networking professionals, NetAcad has since its launch in India in 2001 grown to 160 Cisco Networking Academies across 26 States and Union Territories in India .

First launched in 1997, the Cisco Networking Academy Program is a global success with more than 10,000 academies across more than 150 countries worldwide. In the Asia-Pacific region, Cisco has set-up over 1230 Academies catering to over 1,00,000 studentsin the region. NetAcad India is looking at content in local languages such as Hindi to address a larger section of society.

What kind of ideas can Cisco effectively market to a country like Sri Lanka that has so many other pressing issues such as the war?
Besides providing the networking infrastructure, Cisco also provides expertise which is crucial to developing countries. Developing countries typically have little experience with advanced network technologies. We refer to this process as "country transfrmation."

Country transformation is Cisco’s approach for helping governments leverage the power of technology to achieve their economic and social development goals. For Cisco, it starts by meeting with the leaders of a country or a region to understand what they want to achieve.

Before we even talk about the nuts-and-bolts of building a network, we discuss the necessary governmental steps that we believe need to be in place for a society to fully benefit from new IP networking technology. Such issues include open economic policies with fair taxes, proper regulatory approaches that lower the burdens on small businesses, reduced bureaucracy, and other related systemic governmental issues.

If a country's leadership is committed to these types of reforms, that sets the stage for us to develop a blueprint of the country's network infrastructure development, mapping the technology to the economic and social objectives of improving a country's living conditions, job opportunities, etc. To implement these plans, we tap into our extensive global experience to use replicable business models for different applications of network technology. For example, we have business models for developing "digital cities" or for networking a country's healthcare system. Once all of this planning is in place, then our local account teams collaborate with public and private sector entities to put these networks in place. We also team with countries to help develop their citizens' technology expertise through the Cisco Networking Academy Program or ITU-Cisco Internet Training Centers, which teach the business and technical skills needed to run modern networks.

Overall how feasible is such a venture in a country like ours, taking into consideration cost, infrastructure development, resources etc.,?
Information and communications technologies and next-generation networks can help facilitate economic growth in developing countries by helping bridge the digital divide and connecting businesses. With Internet technologies, small manufacturers in any country can reach distributors and sell their products via the World Wide Web to markets in the United States , Europe and Asia . This then increases the flow of outside capital into a country and begins the distribution of wealth that builds up a strong middle class.

What is the role of South East Asian countries such as SL in Cisco's whole globalisation initiative inaugurated in India?
Asia is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy buoyed by the impressive economic growth, talent and tremendous business opportunities. If you consider global trends, emerging countries will produce over 50% of future GDP growth of the world, which is very different from the last century where developed countries produced about 70% of the world’s GDP.

India is strategically located with easy access to 70% of the world’s population and most of the emerging markets including China , Sri Lanka , Indonesia , Malaysia , Taiwan and the Middle East . Cisco is looking to utilize India as a platform, to innovatively globalize and scale worldwide functions. The ‘India platform strategy’ rests on three key principles – Growth, Innovation and Talent.


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