Ontario government and Cisco outline top technology priorities

Kawale Pupatello and Chambers

Cisco Canada president Nitin Kawale, Ontario minister of economic development and trade Sandra Pupatello and Cisco CEO John Chambers show off the newly signed MOU.

Cisco partners doing business in Ontario would be wise to pay attention to a number of opportunities that may arise from the announcement this week that the networking vendor and the provincial government will be working more closely together.

Cisco CEO John Chambers was in Toronto Wednesday and held a press conference along with Cisco Canada chief Nitin Kawale and Ontario minister of economic development and trade Sandra Pupatello to announce an expanded Cisco investment in R&D here in the province, as well as a “Memorandum of Understanding” that will see the two parties work more closely together on a number of top technology priorities.

The memorandum of understanding is the first Cisco has completed with a provincial- or state-level government, and follows on similar agreements the networking company has forged in Russia, Mexico, India and China.

So what are Cisco and Ontario up to? Details on where the memorandum of understanding is going after the jump.

Here are the details, courtesy of Cisco:

Ontario and Cisco have agreed to work together to explore opportunities to advance strategic objectives including:

  • Health & Wellness:
    • Advance the state of telemedicine and help improve access to health and wellness services for remote, rural and First Nations communities
    • Improve the state of collaboration and education for clinicians, hospitals and administrators
    • Enhance the quality and operational excellence of health and wellness services
    • Energy:
      • Advance the innovative cluster of Ontario companies focused on increasing energy savings through converged solutions for security, building automation and IT services
      • Explore innovative solutions in energy management
      • Drive environmental sustainability through greater use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
    • Smart+Connected Communities:
      • Promote the development of environmentally sustainable, smart+connected communities that generate economic growth and better opportunities for citizens who work and live in those intelligent communities
      • Develop innovative approaches to the cost effective and sustainable delivery of Government service.
      • Enhance opportunities for collaboration among Ontario companies through an intelligent community infrastructure
      • Identify opportunities to enhance network infrastructure to facilitate remote work and the virtual workforce
      • Utilize a living lab concept to showcase and pilot smart+connected community solutions and to encourage cities and communities in Ontario to launch similar initiative.
    • Education:
      • Increase the reach of higher education and enhance industry collaboration with universities
      • Increase high-skilled job market opportunities for recent post-secondary graduates
      • Utilize Cisco® Networking Academy® programs to bring new skills to First Nations communities
    • Economic Cluster Development:
      • Identify strategic partnership opportunities with economic development agencies
      • Facilitate industry collaboration on regional economic development strategies, particularly in northern communities
      • Identify opportunities to increase commercialization of early-stage ventures, and enhance funding opportunities for private enterprises

That’s a lot of detail, but it’s also a huge neon sign for Cisco channel partners as to where Cisco is heading and areas where the provincial government will be spending over the next half-decade.

“All of these areas we getting into are really solutions for vertical markets,” Kawale told ChannelBuzz.ca “It means more opportunities for our partners and more opportunities to make a significant difference in the province.”

On the R&D front, the Ontario government announced an investment of $25 million into Cisco’s research and development facilities in Ottawa and Toronto. As a result, the company expects to double its headcount in those facilities, adding 300 new jobs. Kawale said that the expansion of Cisco’s CRIS-1 -2 and -3 product lines, as well as video and mobile Internet technologies, will be “major priorities that will get going pretty quickly” at the Ontario facilities. As part of the rollout, Cisco will invest up to $455 million over the next five years to support its R&D efforts in the province.