After working with the Indian government on various ICT (information and communications technology) infrastructure projects including Smart Cities and BharatNet initiatives, Cisco is currently in talks with the government to test its technologies in sectors including manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, utilities and transportation.
Under Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) programme, India could be a likely testing vehicle for the company’s various technologies to solve population scale challenges.
Speaking to BusinessLine, Daisy Chittilapilly, President, Cisco India & SAARC, said, “We have a programme called the Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) and that is a vehicle for us to bring funding into India to do pilots in areas where ICT technology has never been used or been used very poorly.”
Globally, Cisco has allocated a budget of $5-6 billion for its R&D. India, having the largest engineering footprint outside the US for the company, could be a likely beneficiary of a good chunk of the funds, Chittilapilly hinted. Out of Cisco’s four global R&D centres, one is in India.
Cisco India is also actively working on developing solutions around 5G network, IoT, cybersecurity and data centres, among others.
Coming to the sectors, she added, “We are focused on overall the space of manufacturing and logistics in CDA. We are also focused on utility, agriculture and transportation. These are the four sectors which would have been called traditionally, poor adopters of ICT, but that’s not the driving force for us to call them up for focus within CDA program. It is largely because all of them have very big problems to solve for the country.”
“With CDA, we do business with the government on large massive infrastructure projects, but our stronger partnership with the government is in proof pointing some of these ideas,” she said.
Of the mentioned sectors, Cisco is working on building technologies around solving the issue of delays in many of our transit systems in the transportation sector. In utilities, Chittilapilly pointed out that though there are a lot of talks around energy being a rare resource and closely being tied to India’s sustainability goals, there has been a constant struggle to deal with leakage and pilferage in the energy space, which can be solved for.
“In agriculture, 50 per cent of our country is involved in agriculture, but only 18 per cent of the GDP comes from them. The last two decades have seen a 30 per cent decrease in farmer income. Crop loss in India is at the highest probably compared to any part of the world,” she added.
Globally and in India, over the past few years, Cisco has been transitioning from an infrastructure-focussed company to a software, services, solutions and subscriptions focussed-company.
“We call it 4S at Cisco. The purpose for it is very simple. We want to meet our customers where they are in their cycle. Customers extract value from technology acquisitions over a period of time, and therefore, they want to consume in line with that value extraction. Subscriptions and annuities are a way to meet their end goal. That is only a business model transition,” Chittilapilly said.