LONDON, UK, June 13, 2022 – By 2030, a more inclusive digital society could add £168 billion to the UK economy (Cisco, CEBR, June 2022). That is why today, Cisco has committed to help accelerate economic growth across the UK through digital inclusion and innovation.

Through investment in partnerships, projects and initiatives focussed on creating opportunity for people, organisations, industries, and regions across the UK, Cisco will expand its Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) programme, which has formed the core of Cisco’s decade long investment in UK innovation.

Aligned to both the national and regional ambitions of the UK, the programme will focus on industries and public services best positioned to benefit from digital acceleration, aiming to support improvement on key issues such as digital skills, productivity, sustainability and the UK’s levelling up agenda.

Guy Diedrich, Senior Vice President and Global Innovation Officer, Cisco commented “Today we mark a decade of collaboration between Cisco, the UK government, industry and academia to accelerate digital outcomes for the UK.” He added, “From initiatives to train hundreds of thousands in digital skills, connect the most remote parts of the UK with 5G, and partnerships to foster a culture of innovation, we are helping cement the UK’s place as a leader in fields such as AI and quantum computing. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved together, and delighted to be furthering our commitment to help the UK realise the potential of a more inclusive, digital economy – where no one is left behind.”

New research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), commissioned by Cisco, finds that a more inclusive digital economy, that connects everyone in the UK, equips them with digital skills, and digitises key industries and public services, has the potential to not only add £168bn to the UK economy, but will provide societal, industrial and regional benefit.

David Meads, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland said “As a nation, we have a heritage of invention that comes from all corners of the UK. With the power of technology, we believe that economic opportunity can follow that tradition.” He added “Organisations are looking to digital to improve the way they work, operate, and compete on a global scale, but to fully embrace a more digital economy, with talent and innovation to support, there are fundamental issues that we must address. From the role of digital in creating more equitable opportunity and across the UK, to how we as a technology industry lean in to help close the digital skills gap.”

Cisco’s CDA programme, which is a long-term partnership programme with governments, industry and academia, will focus on initiatives in sectors that underpin the UK economy and provide critical services that have opportunity to benefit from digital. From healthcare to education, utilities and transport infrastructure. In addition, the programme will align to emerging sectors – including those with a focus on technology to drive sustainable outcomes towards national net zero targets.

To encourage innovation in industry and to recognise the need for support and guidance to bring solutions to life, Cisco will launch the first Fast Future Innovation Awards in the UK. From September, organisations will be able to enter to win one of three prizes to realise their ideas.

For nearly 30 years, Cisco has helped to connect the UK. With nearly every Internet connection in the UK touching Cisco technology, organisations of all shapes and size rely on Cisco’s secure, intelligent technology to run their businesses. Cisco today works with almost all of the FTSE 100, over 200 universities and colleges in research partnerships and as customers, and in many areas of the public sector – from the police force to the NHS.

In just over a decade, Cisco has committed more than $1.6bn towards digital innovation initiatives in the UK, initially through a programme announced in 2011 to create an innovation legacy following the London Olympic games. In 2015, the UK was one of the first governments with whom Cisco made a commitment to help accelerate digital outcomes for the nation through its CDA programme. In 2018 Cisco extended that commitment to align to the Government’s digital strategy.

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Notes to editors:

Throughout a decade of investment in digital innovation in the UK, Cisco initiatives have aligned to help further the government’s Digital Strategy and support digital outcomes in the following ways:

Building world-class digital infrastructure for the UK.

Proving new business models for investment in infrastructure with major initiatives in UK infrastructure for the benefit of individuals, business and society:

  • 5G RuralFirst – a government funded initiative to help close the digital divide and prove the business case for investment in connectivity for rural communities, initially trialled in Orkney, Shropshire and Somerset, which has subsequently led to a further set of test beds – 5G New Thinking, 5G Wales Unlocked and 5G Drive.
  • Rail: placing high-speed Wi-Fi on trains in a commercially sustainable model for the benefit of commuters, operators and businesses, which led to a broader engagement with Network Rail.

Digital skills and inclusion – giving everyone access to the digital skills they need.

Supported by CDA, Cisco made a pledge to help make digital skills training accessible to everyone in the UK, with an additional quarter of a million people through Cisco programmes by 2020.  In the 20 years since launch, the Cisco Networking Academy has partnered with educational institutions to open 330 academies throughout the UK which have helped train over 500,000 people. As part of the commitment, Cisco launched a programme to work with libraries, helping make digital skills training accessible at the heart of the community. Over 200 libraries signed up to make courses such as ‘Intro to cyber-security’ and the basics of getting connected available.

Making the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business.

Since 2011, Cisco has been creating a national network for innovation in the UK; initially with IDEALondon ( a partnership with UCL and DC Thomson) CDA enabled the launch a second innovation centre, Mi-IDEA, a collaborative innovation space in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district in partnership with Manchester Science Partnerships. Cisco’s UK innovation programme has led more than 40 Applied Research projects through UKRI and helped over 500 startups raise over $80m in funding, with 50 of those incubated in one of Cisco’s innovation centres.

Deliver innovation to help every business become digital.

Under the umbrella of CDA, Cisco is driving innovation in business and industry with projects such as AI-SAFE (Artificial Intelligence to support physical security), the Smart Mobility Living Lab (connected autonomous vehicles on the streets in London) and partnership in the Power Networks Demonstration Centre to help drive innovation in the utilities industry. Cisco is also a founding partner in initiatives to help solve the productivity challenge in business in the UK, including Be the Business and Made Smarter.

Making the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online.

Alongside Cisco’s industry leading security portfolio and threat intelligence, it is working in partnership with government and industry to provide cyber expertise and training in critical national infrastructure and to support initiatives from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), GCHQ and the Internet Watch Foundation.

Maintaining the UK government as a world leader in serving its citizens online.

From museums and hospitals to universities, Cisco is helping to transform the way services are delivered by the public sector with the use of digital technologies. As part of the CDA programme, Cisco has announced initiatives and recommendations for museums and the cultural sector, and partnerships with universities including the University of Southampton to better understand the flow of people and utilisation of classrooms.

Data – unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use.

As the lead industry partner of CityVerve, the UK’s smart city demonstrator based in Manchester, Cisco’s Platform of Platforms created a model to unlock the power of data, making a data driven city a reality. To date, there have been 3 million requests for data from 140 different data sets through the platform which supports the creation of applications for the benefit of those who live and work in the city.


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About Cisco CDA

Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration strategy is focused on long-term partnerships with national leadership, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively in countries around the world. This global program aims to accelerate the national digitisation agenda that a country already has in development to grow GDP, create new jobs and invest in a sustainable innovation ecosystem across public and private sectors.  Cisco brings the full breadth of skills, technologies, proven processes, know-how and dedication to accelerate Country Digitisation in a meaningful way. Cisco led in the information age by connecting the world, and our sights are now set on leading through the digitisation of everything.