Universities key to driving innovation and creating new products, says Cisco

Cisco’s UK CEO used the Global University Summit to highlight the importance of universities partnering with businesses and industry.

Universities need to do their bit in driving innovation and contributing to the creation of new products, according to Cisco’s UK and Ireland CEO.

Speaking at the Global University Summit 2013 in London recently Phil Smith, UK and Ireland CEO of Cisco, said it is important for universities to partner with businesses and the technology industry to “drive innovation and contribute to the creation of new products. 

Universities have role in technology, educating the next generation of leaders.”

Hosted by the University of Warwick, thought leaders representing over 30 countries and 70 universities across the globe met to discuss key themes and policy recommendations that formed part of a GUS Declaration  to be debated at the G8 summit. One of the key themes to be included  is “Growth Through Technology.”

Smith said that universities connecting with businesses can benefit the wider community: “Universities need to change and evolve,” he said.

In 2011 Cisco threw weight behind the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) by investing $500 million. The five year initiative included the opening of two Innovation Centres in East London’s Tech City in Shoreditch and The Olympic Park in Stratford. The centres aim to spark the growth of innovative high-tech SMEs.

Internet of everything

Stressing the importance of teaching students about connectivity Smith mentioned Cisco’s Internet of everything (IoE), which it defines IoE as: “Bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before-turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries.”

“Preparing students on connectivity and what it can bring for business and economic growth. Amazing things happen when you connect the unconnected,” added Smith.

Smith is also the Chairman of the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Chairman of e-Skills UK.

Dame Helen Alexander, chancellor of the University of Southampton, also speaking at the summit said it is important to “make students better employees. How they’re motivated and deal with issues in the workplace from the start.”

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