Cisco opens innovation and cybersecurity centers to beef up digitization in Asean

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Network equipment maker Cisco is ramping up efforts to build new digital capabilities across industries in Southeast Asia with the launch of the Cisco Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (CCX) and the Cisco Co-Innovation Center in the company’s new Mapletree Business City in Singapore on February 15.

(From left) Cisco SVP and chief of operations Irving Tan, Singapore Economic Development Board managing director Chng Kai Fong and Cisco president of APJC Miyuki Suzuki after the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon to launch the two centers at the company’s new headquarters in Mapletree Business City in Singapore

The CCX aims to grow Cisco’s threat intelligence and security operations capacity, cultivate regional threat intelligence to mitigate cyber attacks, transfer knowledge for improvement of national security posture, and develop experts in the field across Asia Pacific via workshops, internships and professional residency.

The Co-Innovation Center also focuses on cybersecurity aside from smart nation, smart cities, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain. Cisco’s first in Southeast Asia and 14th in its global network, the center serves as a hub for Cisco customers, industry partners, startups, application developers, accelerators, government organizations, and universities for finding solutions to problems common in the region.

Available within the facility are physical and virtual laboratories for proof of concept development, experimentation, and testing.

“Innovation now is no longer just people sitting in a lab, doing their own thing. It’s about working with partners, working with the community, working with startups,” said Chng Kai Fong, managing director of the Economic Development Board of Singapore.  “And that is what these centers are here to do.”

According to Dave Ward, Cisco’s chief technology officer for engineering and chief architect, such partnerships are imperative.

“We have to do it in a place in which we can understand the problems — test the solutions, prove that can work, invent what’s necessary when it’s never been invented before and turn it into a product,” he said.

Among the technologies developed or being developed in Cisco’s other Co-Innovation Centers such as those in Australia and Japan are the POC software for wireless onboarding of sensors to ports to make them fully autonomous; FANUC robots for remote monitoring of robots for operational efficiency, predictive maintenance, and reduced downtime; Mobility as a Service platform for transportation; the HMT-1 as a collaboration technology using a hands-free voice-controlled user interface; and blockchain for tracking and tracing products — whether retail items, manufactured goods, meat, dairy, commodities, or whatnot.

Dave Ward, Cisco’s chief technology officer for engineering and chief architect, talks about the Cisco Co-Innovation Center

According to a recent Cisco study titled “Ready, Steady, Unsure – Technology Perspective into Asia Pacific’s Readiness for Digital Transformation,” 85% of enterprises in Asia Pacific have adopted cybersecurity and 33% view IoT as a priority with almost 32% already adopting it.

The Philippines lags behind its Southeast Asian neighbors when it comes to adoption of these technologies.

Fifty-one percent of local businesses have put cybersecurity measures in place. Vietnam ranks highest in Asean with 88% followed by Singapore at 60%.

Meanwhile, only 15% of Philippine companies have embarked on IoT implementation. Singapore and Vietnam lead the pack with 36% each.

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