Cisco Connect Kicks-Off in Riyadh With Renewed Commitment to Accelerating Digitization
Cisco has revealed its latest solutions and strategic partnerships to aid the Kingdom’s digital transformation journey at Cisco Connect Riyadh.
During the two-day flagship event including keynotes and panel discussions, Cisco is showcasing how it continues to align efforts with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 agenda and Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency theme – ‘realizing the opportunities of the 21st century for all’. As Cisco develops new strategies to enhance how people live, work, learn and play, the company is empowering Saudi Arabia’s businesses and citizens to develop the next frontier in technological advancement and gain related competencies.
“Cisco has long recognized the benefits of embracing technological innovations to drive growth – evolving how industries operate and enhancing experiences for wider society, through healthcare, education, energy and more. For over 20 years, Cisco has been working closely with the government and key stakeholders across public and private sectors to create new, improved opportunities for people in Saudi Arabia through a range of initiatives,” said Salman Faqeeh, Managing Director, Cisco Saudi Arabia.
Country Digital Acceleration - Economic Impact
As part of its commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation journey, Cisco has been collaborating with the Ministry of Economic Planning and the National Digitization Unit via its Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program. Since 2016, Cisco’s CDA program has focused on four national priority sectors including: energy, healthcare, smart cities and education. The CDA program aims to foster innovation, create a vibrant digital economy, drive GDP growth and help increase the nation’s global competitiveness. Some of the key achievements to date include:
- Energy: Cisco is working closely with the Saudi Electricity Company on smart grid and smart metering solutions which connect machines, assets and people to meet supply and demand needs in a reliable and efficient manner.
- Healthcare: Cisco’s collaboration with the Ministry of Health seeks to reduce patient waiting times and improve healthcare provisions through the use of advanced tele-consultation solutions.
- Education: To promote active learning and streamline processes, Cisco has worked with the Ministry of Education on a project which connects teachers to their students virtually.
- Smart City: Cisco has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia’s e-government program, Yesser, to develop the nation’s digital infrastructure. Through this agreement the program will enable government entities to improve the quality and efficiency of services for individuals and businesses.
NetAcad – Human Impact
Acknowledging the importance of developing human capital, Cisco has also partnered with local academic, public and private institutions to deliver its Networking Academy (NetAcad) in Saudi Arabia. Focused on facilitating regional demand for skilled IT professionals, Cisco’s NetAcad was established in the Kingdom in 2000 and currently has over 100 active networking academies in the country. Each academy specializes in providing training in fields such as networking, IoT, programming and cybersecurity. Through NetAcad, Cisco is aiming to inspire and uplift the Saudi youth, while also ensuring the existing workforce is upskilled and prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.
Since its establishment in the Kingdom, NetAcad has welcomed 136,894 students and has one of the highest female student participation rates not only in the region, but globally. As Cisco continues to focus on encouraging diversity and inclusion, in the past 12 months alone, 35% of NetAcad students in Saudi were female. With materials delivered in both English and Arabic, expanded reach has enabled the program to contribute towards enhancing the skills of existing IT professionals and qualifying those wishing to enter the industry.
DevNet - Innovation Impact
Cisco’s DevNet initiative has also had a presence in Saudi Arabia since 2017 aiming to build a community in which developers and IT professionals are upskilled and empowered to write applications and develop integrations with Cisco products, platforms and application program interfaces (APIs). In gaining such abilities, professionals become better equipped to take on emerging roles, such as network automation development and IoT architecture.
Since its inception, the DevNet platform has validated the key technical skills of over 600,000 software developers globally, creating the next generation of IT professionals qualified to help businesses harness the power of applications and automation. While initially, only a few of Cisco’s products had APIs, today, every solution is programmable and automation is reinventing not only how networking is done, but also the impact this has on businesses.
Cisco has now announced the expansion of its DevNet platform, with a first-of-its-kind training and certification program, supporting the Kingdom’s focus on accelerating co-development and co-creation. As part of the evolved certification program, both network professionals and software developers will have the opportunity to optimize and write applications for the network, selecting the technology skills they wish to develop further, in accordance with their level of expertise.
Those certifications include, Cisco Certified DevNet Associate, Cisco Certified DevNet Professional, and Cisco Certified DevNet Specialists, allowing organizations to not only build talent, but having the associated framework for talent assessment to enable matching the right skills for the right role.
Faqeeh concluded, “We are uniquely positioned to identify the trends and requirements of the local technology industry, which is why we will continue to strengthen initiatives such as our CDA, NetAcad and DevNet programs in the Kingdom. As we focus on narrowing the skills gap and evolving local human capital, the expansion of our DevNet training and certification program represents a critical moment for Cisco in alignment with Saudi Arabia’s broader innovation agenda. We look forward to renewing our commitment in a shared effort to not only uphold, but also elevate the nation’s competitiveness and positioning on the world stage.”
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