Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) has just committed $500m to accelerate Germany’s digitization over the next three years.
The program, called “Deutschland Digital”, focuses on innovation, security and education.
Planned investments include specific digitization projects, research projects, an expansion of the Cisco Networking Academy, as well as to human resources and infrastructure spending.
Direct investments will be made in venture capital funds with priority areas such as security, cloud, and Internet of Things (IoT).
Cisco, which is already focused on the emerging startup ecosystem in Germany, having recently made an investment in Berlin-based IoT provider relayr, will also organize regular innovation workshops, focusing specifically on mid-sized companies.
Startups and other partners will be invited, and participants will work together on digital solutions and business models.
Cisco is also looking to partner with the public sector and contribute to large-scale transformation projects such as smart cities and regions as well as healthcare and utility networks.
In the security field, the company plans to fund a research initiative that translates the German privacy and data protection regulations into a software architecture for cloud services. In addition, Cisco plans to establish a “Security Center of Excellence” in Germany, an ecosystem of customers, partners, academia, and startups around security-related challenges and how to solve them.
To help address skills shortage, Cisco will also offer dedicated IT and cybersecurity training programs as part of Cisco Networking Academy.
In education and research, the focus will be on providing digital competencies for non-IT professionals in small and medium sized companies, including IT skills for installers (Smart Home), nurses (Smart Health) and electricians (Smart Grid). Together with partners, Cisco will develop a learning and collaboration platform for professionals in these and other areas where they can acquire necessary skills and certifications.
Cisco is also going to expand the Networking Academy, a non-profit educational program that offers learning materials on IT topics for educational institutions.