Pandemic will hasten 5G deployment: Cisco India chief

‘We are raising investments to focus on AI, Wi-Fi 6’

April 03, 2021 09:36 pm | Updated 09:38 pm IST

Sameer Garde, President, Cisco India and SAARC.

Sameer Garde, President, Cisco India and SAARC.

The pandemic has inarguably created an incentive for fast-forwarding 5G deployment, Sameer Garde, president, Cisco India and SAARC, said in an interview . Excerpts:

When do you expect the buzz around 5G roll-out to return to 2019 levels?

The pandemic has accelerated the low-touch economy manifold and we believe 5G will further accelerate its adoption. Towards this, we are building the Internet of the future based on silicon, optics and software, called Silicon One.

This programmable networking chip is designed to improve performance, bandwidth, power efficiency, scalability and flexibility. We have globally committed $5 billion (India will receive a part of it) in funding to help build 5G networks over the next three years. Presently, we have more than 125 active engagements with global customers on 5G.

What will be Cisco’s differentiation in the cloud play?

As companies look to growth and recovery in the next normal, they are rapidly turning to the cloud to enable new business models and hybrid work culture.

Here, they are looking at a hybrid cloud strategy to bring the best of both worlds: the innovation, speed, and scale of the public cloud and the security, compliance, and performance, of the private cloud.

Helping customers migrate to hybrid cloud and manage their multi-cloud environment to get more from their applications and data is the driving force behind Cisco’s cloud strategy.

Some analysts feel Cisco is a sales/marketing-heavy enterprise and it compromised on R&D?

Cisco of today is at the centre of our customers’ strategy and no longer viewed just as an enabler of those strategies. We have taken what was considered threats to our business, for example like Cloud, SDN (software-defined networking), software and subscription services and turned them into growth opportunities.

All of this is a result of our commitment to R&D and to bring the best, most-relevant innovation in simpler, more easily-consumable ways.

Cisco invests over $6 billion annually in R&D and is rebalancing investments to focus on areas like cloud-delivered security and collaboration solutions, multi-cloud, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 (6th generation WiFi), 400-GHz, optical networking, next-generation silicon, AI, and more. These will help us position well for the future.

I am proud to share that India R&D is significantly helping Cisco transform its core businesses toward a software model and enabling customers across the globe to simplify their digital transformation and help them make better business decisions based on insights.

What has been Cisco’s contribution so far towards Digital India programme?

We are closely aligned with the Digital India programme and have been working on various initiatives across States and Central-government agencies. Also, over 95% of the top 1,000 companies in India and over 25,000 small and medium businesses are using Cisco’s technology to digitise for the future and inspire new possibilities.

Can you tell us about your Networking Academy programme?

Under the programme, Cisco is developing digital talent to meet the growing demand for a skilled workforce in cybersecurity and other deep-technology expertise. We have already trained five lakh learners in India in the last 18 months.

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