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Cisco, GBM unveil roadmap for MEA digitisation

Duo outline key steps for region's IoT future

Dabboussi says digitisation can create a positive impact on society.
Dabboussi says digitisation can create a positive impact on society.

Cisco, in conjunction with GBM, has outlined key steps for digitisation to help Middle East organisations become ready for the Internet of Things (IoT).

At a roundtable at GITEX Technology Week 2015 moderated by IDC’s IoT Research Lead for MEA, Paul Black, Cisco and GBM outlined the steps organisations in the Middle East will need to implement in order to become fully digital.

These five key components include Education, Encouraging Entrepreneurship, Facilitating Innovation, Public & Private Partnerships and Infrastructure.

According to IDC, IoT is part of every business discussion today and digital transformation is driving operational efficiency, increasing employee productivity, garnering greater customer loyalty and creating revenue streams. As digitisation accelerates, infrastructure will increase a country’s GDP, reduce spending and create jobs, IDC says.

Rabih Dabboussi, General Manager, Cisco UAE, notes that up to now, the Middle East region has been a consumer of technology. However innovation in the region is taking a different shape with an increasing number of hardware and software start-ups developing solutions especially tailored to the Arab world. “Innovation is not about creating new solutions. It’s about solving problems in new ways,” he says.

Cisco has also unveiled its Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) strategy. The strategy, Cisco says, is a long-term commitment to a partnership with national leadership, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively.  It aims to accelerate the national digitisation agenda to grow GDP, create new jobs and invest in a sustainable innovation ecosystem across public and private sectors, the company adds.

Today, Cisco is involved in various Smart City and IoT projects worldwide. In the UAE, these initiatives include the Dubai Design District, Department of Economic Development’s  ‘24/7,’ initiative, and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s upgraded technology infrastructure. Other projects include Du, where Cisco deployed its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), and Etisalat, where  Cisco is involved in a virtualisation and software-defined networking (SDN) proof of concept.