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Big businesses must stay fresh by acquiring innovative SMEs, says Cisco

Caroline Baldwin

Big companies must keep up with changing technologies by acquiring innovative startups, according to networking giant Cisco.  

Speaking at Web Summit in Dublin this week, Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco (pictured), said companies - particularly large ones - need to be nimble and adapt to the pace of change which is as significant as their size.

Padmasree Warrior, Cisco CTO

Two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies from 20 years ago no longer exist, she said: “We need to figure out how to survive and stay leaders. Innovation is the life blood of the tech industry."

One of the ways companies can stay fresh and afloat in future decades is by buying smaller companies with innovative ideas.

“Cisco is a company made up of acquisitions,” she said, joking that employees say there are 250 CEOs inside Cisco from all the acquisitions they have made.

“Innovation exists beyond our walls. Companies will disrupt us and we want to embrace these companies soon.”

Warrior also said Europe will be a critical region for innovation in the future. This year’s Network Readiness Index, which measures the capacity of 144 economies to leverage IT for economic growth, placed seven EU countries within its top 10.

According to Warrior, the next big trend will be connected devices and the internet of things. Preferred by Cisco to be referred to as the "internet of everything", the supplier predicts the market's value to reach $14.4tn over the next 10 years.

“If we’ve only got that figure half right, it’s still a big number with a lot of zeros,” she said. And roughly half of that figure will come from Europe and America, predicts Cisco.

She said the trend will be driven by wearable computing and machine learning as well as connecting vehicles and transportation.


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