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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Triple thrust for Cisco

SMART CITY: An artist impression of the financial and commercial centre in Danga Bay, IDR in south Johor. Cisco says it has been in talks with all the major developers involved in the IDR

Networking solutions company Cisco Systems said that its local growth for this year would be driven by the Government, real estate and small-and-medium business segments.

Cisco Malaysia managing director Kumaran Singaram said that the Government would continue to provide growth opportunities for Cisco.

According to Kumaran, Cisco has been working with both Federal and state government agencies to discover ways in which ICT can be used to achieve the objectives outlined in the Ninth Malaysia Plan. Key areas include supporting connected Government initiatives.

He said Cisco has technology solutions that are designed specifically to increase productivity and efficiency of the public sector, enhance public safety and drive change in the country’s infrastructure. Cisco’s Connected Healthcare solutions, for example, can be used to enhance the nation’s medical grid network.

“The medical grid network is something we’ve been lobbying the Government to do for the past year. It has many practical uses. For instance, X-rays from one hospital to another don’t need to be carried, if the information sits on a network,” he explained.

Presently, Cisco claims that patient information is scattered across disparate systems in public and private healthcare entities, which makes it difficult and costly for healthcare professionals to share vital medical, clinical, and patient information.

“However, to link up all the hospitals would take a few years as each state has a general hospital and there are about 130 district hospitals nationwide,” he said.

The real estate sector is another key focus area for Cisco.

Cisco feels that with Internet Protocol (IP) being implemented as the fourth utility – after electricity, gas and water – real estate developers in Malaysia are ready to move from a business model based solely on physical space to one that is based on the provision of services.

IDR connection
“In the past year, we have seen a lot of investment in smart city developments such as the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), Northern Corridor Economic Region and the East Coast Economic Region. Successful cities of the future consider the network as another basic infrastructure that has to be designed into the plans from the beginning,” Kumaran said.

“The various elements of utilities, commercial buildings, residential, public spaces, hotels and retail need to be connected to enable improved collaboration, security, management, mobility and productivity,” he added.

Kumaran claims that Cisco has been in talks with all the major developers involved in the IDR. “Most of them have shown interest in creating smart cities,” he said, adding that he could not reveal any names.

The third focus area for Cisco is the SMB sector and this is based on their contribution to national gross domestic product (GDP). In countries like South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, SMBs account for up to 75% of the GDP.

In Malaysia, SMBs contributed 35% to the nation’s GDP in 2006 and are expected to make an increased contribution of 37% to the national GDP by 2010.

By The Star (by Steven Patrick)

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