Cisco has launched a targeted investment program called Digital Acceleration Netherlands (DAN), aimed at helping to boost the digitization of the Dutch economy and society. Over the next three years, Cisco will be working closely with the Dutch government, industry and education, through the DAN program and its strategic activities. This program is designed to run in parallel to, and help accelerate the “Digital Agenda for the Netherlands” (which was published by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs in July, 2016). By accelerating the national digitization agenda the Netherlands can grow its GDP, create new jobs and provide innovation and education across public and private sectors.
The DAN program is part of Cisco’s worldwide ‘Country Digitization Acceleration’ initiative which is set up to help selected countries around the world to digitize their economies. In the Netherlands, the program focuses on a number of key elements that are also part of the Digital Agenda, including investments in digital skills and training, digitization of the Dutch transport and utility infrastructure, connected healthcare, smart campus, cyber security and support for entrepreneurship and business innovation in the Netherlands, with a specific focus on start-ups.
Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands: “At the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, I spoke with John Chambers about the digitization of our economy and the many challenges and opportunities this brings. The Netherlands has reached a high position in international comparisons of digitized economies, but that does not mean we can lean back. We need to accelerate our digitization, in order for our businesses, citizens, research institutes and local governments to get the most benefit from new applications, revenue models and jobs.”
John Chambers, Executive Chairman Cisco: “The Netherlands, a historic leader in innovation, is taking the necessary steps to create a sustainable innovation ecosystem that will enable them to continue to lead in the global digital economy. Cisco is proud to support the Dutch government and people in accelerating their Digital Agenda by creating next generation jobs and training, by improving education in a faster and more effective way. We believe with effective utilization of the Digital Acceleration Netherlands program, the Netherlands will see its GDP grow faster than would otherwise be possible.”
Edwin Prinsen, Managing Director Cisco Netherlands: “We are very proud to run the DAN program in the Netherlands, together with the government. There are three key benefits that will make the DAN program a top focus area for our society, our customers and our partners: it creates new user experiences, enables innovative business models, and drives workforce innovation. Hendrik Blokhuis will lead the program, together with a dedicated Cisco team, thus making sure we maximize our contribution.”
Key focus areas of the DAN program are:
As a leading trading nation and as the gateway to Europa, optimizing the capacity and capabilities of its physical infrastructure via digital innovation is of particular importance to the Netherlands. Therefore, a key pillar of Cisco’s investment in the DAN program is the Data Driven Infrastructure. Cisco aims to leverage its leadership in the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities and smart transportation to help accelerate the digitization of Dutch transport networks and hubs with data driven solutions. Digital solutions will make transportation of people and goods more efficient and more eco-friendly, by making better use of available transport resources and infrastructure. Cisco wants to assist the Netherlands in achieving the country’s ambitious goal of reducing average travel-times in the busiest areas of the country by 10 percent.
As is the case in other countries, the Netherlands is experiencing a massive shortage in professionals with appropriate IT skills. This shortage is expected to grow as Dutch organizations are now starting, or accelerating, their digital transformation. In order to meet this growing demand and close the digital divide, education in the Netherlands needs to evolve. Cisco will leverage its proven Networking Academy ® (NetAcad) program to provide training and enhance education for key digital skills. Cisco’s NetAcad curriculum is delivered online in partnership with local Dutch learning institutions. Investments via the DAN program will double the number of Networking Academies to 170, where 46,000 IT students and 30,000 non-IT students will be trained over the next three years.
Entrepreneurship and Digital Innovation
Start-ups are a key factor in growing the digital economy of the Netherlands. Supporting tech start-ups stimulates the innovation ecosystem, which is one of the aspects driving economic growth. Cisco has been supporting digital entrepreneurship in Europe by seeding, incubating and facilitating start-ups through its funding initiatives and start-up/scale-up accelerator programs. Through the DAN program Cisco will provide Dutch start-ups with access to Cisco’s European Venture Capital initiative. The DAN program will also build and expand its existing partnership with the Dutch StartupDelta platform, which helps start-ups accelerate their business and expand internationally.
For the Netherlands, as for most countries, its utility infrastructure is essential for further development and economic prosperity. As part of the DAN program, Cisco plans to address operational challenges that Dutch utility companies are facing around the modernization of the utility grid and the associated challenges to both physical and cyber security. Cisco’s focus in the Netherlands is to digitize and help secure key national utility infrastructure assets by leveraging the latest IoT solutions.
The Dutch government’s Digital Agenda specifically expresses the need for smart and connected healthcare. Cisco’s DAN program will work with a selection of healthcare customers on projects focused on connected healthcare. The vision is to show how targeted digital solutions can improve the productivity of healthcare workers, enhance the patient experience and improve the overall quality of healthcare. In this way, Cisco will contribute to key goals for connected healthcare, as outlined in the Dutch Digital Delta plan – a joint effort by the Dutch government and businesses, intended to stimulate innovation. These goals include providing 80 percent of chronically ill and 40 percent of the remaining population with direct access to medical data, and enabling 75 percent of the chronically ill to independently monitor their health and collaborate 24×7 with a care provider via video.
Cybersecurity has become essential to ensure the prosperity, privacy and wellbeing of businesses, citizens and the country as a whole. The Dutch government understands the need to secure critical infrastructure, information systems and key online services against cyber threats. As a global leader in network connectivity Cisco offers key capabilities to help address the cyber security challenge, with the required vision, solutions and expertise. The DAN program will allow Cisco to use its capabilities to support initiatives by the Dutch government in this area. Cisco already collaborates closely with The Hague Security Delta (HSD) to help ensure that trust in safety and privacy remains high in the Netherlands.
Cisco understands the importance of evolving existing education practices using digitization to better educate the population at every stage. With the Digital Acceleration Netherlands program partnership Cisco will identify Dutch educational facilities where smart campus capabilities can be deployed. This would allow for data collection for analysis and provide a multidisciplinary platform allowing true, cross educational collaboration. The initiative also boosts the development of technical and entrepreneurial skills in students and the creation of a study environment with a stronger appeal to both students and teachers. Besides academic advantages, the Smart Campus would also offer additional significant benefits such as improved efficiencies in real-estate, waste-management, student security and sustainability.