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By Marcelo Kawanami, Regional Head of Consulting for Americas at GlobalData

Globally known as “Country Digital Acceleration”, or simply CDA, Cisco’s innovative  program has an ambitious plan to leverage digital inclusion in Brazil across different sectors through projects that will get results in the short-term, mainly in the areas of education, healthcare, security, and the public sector.

On May 27, Cisco officially announced the launch of its Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Program in Brazil, which is now currently present in 34 countries across the globe. In Brazil, the program was locally named “Brazil Digital and Inclusive”, and it aims to accelerate the digital transformation through partnerships with the public sector, industry and academia. As part of the CDA program, Cisco signed an agreement with the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication in order to drive the development of skills and digital transformation in Brazil.

During the launch presentation, the word “trust” quickly became evident as the key foundation of the program. It is through projects focused on the social and economic development of the country, based on trust and transparency, that Cisco plans to accelerate digitization in Brazil and positively impact sectors such as education, healthcare and security. In order for this to happen, the expansion of Brazil’s digital infrastructure is crucial. Over the last few years, Brazil has achieved important milestones regarding digital inclusion: according to GlobalData, 35% of households in Brazil have fixed broadband access, an increase of 4.1 percentage points when compared with the index from 2017. At year-end 2019, almost 74% of mobile subscriptions were in 4G and this percentage will increase to 93% by 2023, with 5G representing almost 2% of the total mobile connections in the country. Nevertheless, there’s still a lot to be done – the household penetration for fixed broadband in Brazil is below the Latin America average, and behind Argentina, Costa Rica and Mexico, all countries with a household penetration of over 50%. In mobile services, Brazil also trails Chile and Uruguay in terms of 4G penetration, and also regarding growth expectations of 5G connections for the next few years.

As observed, GlobalData’s forecasts showcase that Brazil has made great progress towards digital inclusion, and in the development of technological platforms. But there’s still ground to make up, notably when compared to some neighboring countries.  In order for this to happen, it’s important that Brazil has a local regulatory framework that will foster private investments towards the expansion of telecom networks, financial resources, intellectual capacity and human capital. And based on all these factors, the trust and transparency among all stakeholders involved in the management of resources and projects, from both the private and public sectors, are extremely important for the success of the CDA program in Brazil.

Within the different projects that are part of the CDA program, cybersecurity is at the top of list. The increasing concern towards cyberattacks is one of the main challenges in the adoption of new technology. According to a survey conducted by GlobalData in Latin America, 40% of enterprises mentioned the impact caused by the adoption of new technologies (such as cloud computing, IoT and SD-WAN) as the main challenge in the operation of cybersecurity. This same survey showed that human error and lack of knowledge and staff training are the main risks to the IT security of enterprises. This last factor, regarding the lack of knowledge and training of staff on cybersecurity demonstrates an absence of local expertise and skill, reinforcing the need to focus on the education of cybersecurity in order to support the digitization process.

In the face of all the challenges that the world is confronting right now, the acceleration of digital transformation in areas that will present results in the short-term will be key for us to measure the success of the CDA program in Brazil. Some of the immediate actions from Cisco in response to COVID-19, such as the supply of videoconferencing technology for virtual doctors’ appointments and for remote court justice sessions are great examples that the program is already having a positive impact in the digital acceleration of the country. In summary, digitization is a key component to leverage innovation in Brazil to transform the educational system, and thus develop new talents for the digital era. And it is this new generation of skilled talents, ready to adopt a new digital reality that will be the main legacy from this program.

Author: Marcelo Kawanami, Regional Head of Consulting, Americas

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Marcelo Kawanami is the Regional Head of Consulting for Americas at GlobalData. With 12+ years of experience in market research and consulting, he focus his research and analysis on technology services, covering business models and innovation in areas such as big data and analytics, IT services, cloud computing, and IT Security.