Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Powering the Digital Strategy

March 13, 2018

This month marks the first anniversary of the UK government launching its Digital Strategy. The comprehensive national strategy focused on making sure our digital economy works for everyone.

We may only be just over 365 days in, but what is evident is the progress and action we have already witnessed.

The Digital Strategy can certainly not be accused of being an initiative which has been written down and then stuttered in progress. At its core it had a strong rallying call that digital technology can transform the UK, and without doubt it is making this a reality.

At Cisco we are committed to helping realise the vision of a digital Britain. To that effect, we pledged to invest in the UK’s national digitisation agenda, to help the government tackle the country’s biggest challenges and to ensure the UK remains a global leader when it comes to digital. We call this Country Digital Acceleration.

Crucially, our Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) programme fully aligns with the UK’s Digital Strategy. It may only have been a year, but at Cisco we are proud of the role we have played in powering the seven strands of the Strategy and already to date, helping to make it a reality:

  1. Building world-class digital infrastructure for the UK. We are working with government to create the conditions for up-to-date infrastructure. In the past week Cisco has been selected as the lead on one of DCMS’ 5G innovation projects 5G RuralFirst. Working in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, and over 30 other partners, we will deliver testbeds and trials to exploit 5G benefits for rural communities and industries like agriculture, broadcasting, and utilities – proving the business case for investment into rural connectivity.
  2. Digital skills and inclusion – giving everyone access to the digital skills they need. In October of last year, Cisco committed to help a further 250,000 people in the UK to develop their digital skills by 2020. We launched two key initiatives to help achieve this; firstly, by delivering new outcome based networking courses to schools as per the latest Government curriculum and secondly by bringing digital skills training to libraries across the UK. In addition to this, Cisco is also part of the consortia who will deliver the new Institute of Coding.
  3. Making the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business. We have the connections to build an ecosystem that fosters innovation and nurtures starts-ups to grow. With our two innovations centres, IDEALondon in Shoreditch and Mi-IDEA in Manchester, we are helping digital tech start-ups to grow.
  4. Deliver innovation to help every business become digital. Under the umbrella of CDA, we are driving innovation in businesses, industries and technologies with projects such as AI-SAFE (Artificial Intelligence), the Smart Mobility Living Lab (connected autonomous vehicles) or with project SWIFT, the fastest in-train Wi-Fi service in the world, allowing users to experience internet speeds on the go of up to 300 Mbps.
  5. Making the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online. As a business, Cisco blocks 19.6 billion threats per day, so we are well placed to advise and work with the UK in managing its threat landscape. Specifically, we are proud to offer our expertise and support in cyber security to the National Cyber Security Centre (NSCSC) in initiatives such as Industry 100, their CyberFirst programme, as well as mentoring Cyber UK start-ups.
  6. Maintaining the UK government as a world leader in serving its citizens online. We are working on a number of pilots with public sector entities across the UK – from museums and hospitals to universities, from smart workplaces to smart campus – to transform the way services are delivered with the use of digital technologies.
  7. Data – unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use. Finally, we are proud to be the lead industry partner of CityVerve, the UK’s smart city demonstrator based in Manchester. A fundamental part of CityVerve is the Platform of Platforms that unlocks the power of data that makes a data driven city a reality.

The progress which has been made with the Digital Strategy is a true testament to what can be achieved when government, business and academia collaborate with a clear focus. We are already witnessing meaningful digital change at both a national and regional level. However, despite this progress, this is only the beginning of what it can achieved.

We must use the first 12 months of the Digital Strategy as a launch pad, to embrace the role that innovative technologies can play in shaping our future prosperity.

Image credit: via Flick (CC) Sethoscope 

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