Cisco pledges $100m to UK digital innovation

20 July 2018 | Natalie Bannerman

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Cisco has committed $100 million to help accelerate digital innovation in the UK.

The news aligns itself with the UK’s Industrial Strategy and will foster partnerships across industry, government and academia in the region.

"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,” said Prime Minister Theresa May.

The first initiative to be announced is a partnership between Cisco and University College London (UCL) to open one of the world’s largest Artificial Intelligence (AI) research centres that will focus on solving industry challenges and developing AI talent in the UK.

“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," added May.

The UK’s Industrial Strategy outlines four ‘grand challenges’ that are affecting society today and Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) aims to address them. These are:

-          Artificial intelligence and the data economy - As addressed through Cisco’s partnership with UCL, the centre is due to open later this year and will act as a global training facility for AI masters students addressing opportunities in healthcare, drug recovery, transport and commerce.

“It’s wonderful to renew our partnership with Cisco and work together to upskill the UK in machine learning and artificial intelligence, said Professor Michael Arthur, UCL president and provost. “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 – Cisco recently announced a partnership with the government to create a sustainable business model for investment in digital inclusion in the UK. The project will focus on issues such as loneliness, social exclusion and pressures on public services.

-          Future mobility – Cisco will work on new initiatives in rail and road, and projects to advance the UK’s position as a leader in connected ad autonomous vehicles. As well as the commercialisation of Project SWIFT to support connected experiences on UK trains.

-          Clean growth – Lastly Cisco will forge new partnerships to address the potential for digital in the energy sector.

“The UK has become the natural destination in Europe for the largest and most innovative tech companies to operate and invest,” said Jeremy Wright, Digital Secretary. “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."

The company says it has spent over $1.5 billion in digital and innovation projects in the UK, Its CDA strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry nad academia to help deliver real outcomes quickly and effectively.

“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,” added Chuck Robbins (pictured), chairman and CEO of Cisco.