The Digital Transformation of Argentina and the Region Leads to Advancement in Development and Inclusion
Cisco President Latin America & Senior Vice President in the Americas
Gerente General Cisco Argentina, Paraguay y Uruguay
Corporate News, Thought Leadership, Digital Business, Smart and Connected Communities, Innovation
The digital transformation of Latin American economies, including Argentina, is not fashion anymore but a reality; and more than a reality; it’s a must to remain competitive in today’s digital economy. It is also a prerequisite for social inclusion. Once a luxury of more advanced countries, technology for all is now a need in developing countries.
All of us have been or will be impacted by digital transformation. This will be true in both our personal and business lives. Soon even grocery stores will be cashierless, using digital technology to keep track of our purchases. Our medical records are digital. Educational institutions use technology to teach. Government offices improve operations like sanitation pick-up and public safety through technology and banking today is mostly done online. Even our public spaces are connected to WiFi so we don’t miss a beat when taking our kids to the park.
Cisco Latin America is helping countries, cities and businesses to transform in this new digital economy. Our LatAm Digitization Acceleration Framework, designed by Cisco for our region, replicates best practices within three main pillars: government efficiencies, national competitiveness, and social inclusion. Citizen services, smart cities, connected industries, education, and healthcare are all included in these pillars. Each new digital initiative implemented through this Framework causes a ripple effect that improves the lives of everyone in the region -- creating new jobs, providing expanded access to education, bringing better healthcare to more people, increasing public safety, providing internet access and more.
A recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states that in order to "reactivate growth (in Latin America) and maintain the momentum of social progress, governments must focus on boosting productivity through the empowerment of all the workers and in the unleashing of innovation and business dynamism.” In this sense, the business sector can be a strategic partner in the pursuit of inclusive productivity, with the ability to have a profound impact on the welfare of workers while improving the financial performance of companies.
Cisco has been a historical partner in Latin America, working with the highest levels of government and academia to transform lives, businesses, communities and countries though digital change.
In Mexico, our teams are working with the government to connect the unconnected through the Mexico Conectado program. This digital initiative is about connecting schools, hospitals, public facilities as well as individuals and meeting the goal of Internet access for all Mexicans, advancing innovation, and even helping to grow the GDP in Mexico.
In Uruguay, Cisco is helping to close the digital divide. For countries like Uruguay to thrive in the digital economy, English language skills are critical. Our partnership with Plan Ceibal is ensuring that all students in Uruguay have access to qualified English teachers via video. Using the power of the Cisco Network and Telepresence technology students connect with English teachers through video in the classroom and today more than 80,000 students are learning English as a 2nd language.
Another relevant example is the agreement between Cisco and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Communications in Costa Rica. Together, we are collaborating to bring about their digital transformation. Costa Rica Digital will establish a digital government with better access to telecommunications services, cybersecurity and internet access as well as a key focus on digital education.
In Brazil, Cisco and the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro teamed up to create a lasting legacy through our work with the 2016 Olympic Games. Much of the equipment used to connect the Summer Games was donated to local schools in Rio and Sao Paulo – connecting more than 600,000 students to the Internet and the world. And at the same time as the Games, Cisco further collaborated with the city of Rio de Janeiro to transform the Porto Maravilha region into a smarter, more connected part of the city – fostering collaboration, furthering digital innovation, and revitalizing city neighborhoods for citizens and visitors alike.
In the case of Argentina, both the government and private companies are embarking on a path of digital transformation, as it is the key to maintaining global competitiveness, boosting GDP growth, supporting innovation and generating new sources of employment.
In this context, last Thursday, January 25th, our Chairman and CEO, Chuck Robbins, met in Davos, Switzerland, with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri. The objective of the meeting was to advance the dialogue between Argentina and Cisco, as a trusted advisor, to continue to help navigate Argentina’s digital journey.
Currently, Cisco is working to help bring about digital education in the country, giving students access to global learning, innovative ideas and critical thinking that will ultimately lead to better jobs and quality of life.
The Cisco Networking Academy Program is also making an impact across Argentina. The Academy, a Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility program, is an IT skills and career-building program available to learning institutions and individuals worldwide. In Argentina, more than 54,000 students have gone through the program learning digital skills that will help power the digital economy.
In 2016, Cisco and Argentina’s Ministry of Education signed an agreement aimed at reducing the country’s IT skills gap. Through Cisco’s Networking Academy, Argentineans can now receive technical and professional skills training free of charge with support from the National Institute of Technical Education (INET). Another agreement was also signed in 2016 with the Municipality of Lanus’s Eva Peron Medical Center. As part of the nursing career path curriculum, students there will now learn to use Telepresence technology for telemedicine, helping prepare graduates for jobs in modern, digitally transformed medical facilities. And most recently, Cisco Argentina signed an agreement with the UADE Foundation for the joint creation of an Innovation Center of IoT / Electricity. This center will foster innovation and research around the use of IoT and electricity in Smart Cities.
But that’s not all, across the Latin American region, the number of Cisco Networking Academy students reached over 300,000 in 2017 and, in total, more than one million students have participated in the program since its inception in 1997. The digital skills these graduates now have will empower a new generation of global problem solvers that will help Latin America thrive.
And the work continues. This Davos meeting is a sign that we are successfully navigating the digital path and supporting the digital agenda of Argentina as well as many countries across Latin America – with the primary beneficiaries of this transformation being the people who live and work in each country we help.