Cisco announces $100m commitment to accelerate digital innovation in the UK

Cisco announced a $100m commitment to help accelerate digital innovation in the UK.

Aligned to the UK’s Industrial Strategy, the commitment will support partnership with industry, government and academia across the nation.

As one of the first initiatives to be announced, Cisco and University College London (UCL) will partner to open one of the world’s largest Artificial Intelligence research centres, with a focus on addressing industry challenges and developing AI talent in the UK.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The decision by Cisco to make such a significant commitment to digital innovation across the UK is welcome news and is a vote of confidence in our Modern Industrial Strategy.

“I particularly welcome the announcement of the new AI research centre in partnership with UCL. Research has shown that AI could add £232bn to the UK economy by 2030 and developments like this will help with our ambition to put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution.”

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said:“The UK has become the natural destination in Europe for the largest and most innovative tech companies to operate and invest. Cisco’s strong commitment to the UK highlights we have the ambition, research excellence and regulatory environment for world-leading firms to develop the innovations that will change people’s lives for the better.”

“Technology is permeating everything we do, not only opening up new markets, but creating more opportunities for individuals, businesses, and countries. Cisco is committed to driving innovation in the UK and to our continued partnership with the UK government through our Country Digital Acceleration programme. We believe that the UK’s expertise in AI and its commitment to making sure future innovators have the right digital skills will help ensure the nation’s citizens are well-positioned to capture the opportunity ahead.” – Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO, Cisco

With great ambition to be a leading digital nation, today the UK ranks fifth in the world based on seven key factors that impact a nation’s ability to embrace digital – including infrastructure, technology adoption, skills, basic human needs, business and government investment and start-up environment (Gartner & Cisco). With a proven link between digital readiness and GDP, digital can help improve everything from public services to national productivity.

The UK government’s Industrial Strategy outlines four ‘Grand Challenges’ aligned to some of the greatest issues facing society, which today, Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) programme is committing to help address:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the data economy – Cisco and UCL today announced a partnership to support the UK’s ambition to be a leader in AI, with the opening of an Artificial Intelligence Centre in London to house 200+ UCL researchers and academics.
  • The centre, which is set to open its doors later this year, will be one of the largest global facilities for training AI masters students and will look to address opportunity in areas such as healthcare, drug discovery, transport and commerce.
  • On the announcement, UCL President and Provost, Professor Michael Arthur said: “It’s wonderful to renew our partnership with Cisco and work together to upskill the UK in machine learning and artificial intelligence. I’m particularly looking forward to opening the new AI Centre in the coming months to position us as a sector leader in computer science.”
  • Ageing society – Announced earlier this week, in an industry-government partnership, Cisco will lead a project to create a sustainable business model for investment in digital inclusion for the UK. The project aims to address issues of loneliness, social exclusion and pressures on public services.
  • Future of Mobility – With new initiatives in rail and road, including projects to further the UK’s position as a leader in connected and autonomous vehicles; addressing key challenges in cyber security and connectivity. And the commercialisation of Project SWIFT, initially proven to provide the fastest, most reliable Wi-Fi on trains in Scotland, to support connected experiences on trains in the UK.
  • Clean Growth – With new partnerships to address the potential for digital in the energy sector; including projects to address new business models and challenges stalling innovation in the industry today.

For nearly 30 years, Cisco has helped to connect the UK. With nearly every Internet connection in the UK touching Cisco technology, organisations of all shapes and sizes rely on Cisco’s secure, intelligent technology to run their businesses.

In the last decade, Cisco has committed over $1.5bn in digital and innovation investment and projects in the UK, initially through a programme announced in 2011to create an innovation legacy following the London Olympic games. In 2015, the UK was one of the first governments with whom Cisco made a commitment to help accelerate digital outcomes for the nation through its CDA programme. Cisco’s CDA strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to help deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the nation.

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