Business Features

Cisco bolsters digital inclusion in PH with Ugnayan 2030

Introduced amid the pandemic, Ugnayan 2030 aims to assist businesses and the government in achieving their inclusive and sustainable digitization initiatives. Ugnayan 2030 is the Philippines’ version of the technology company Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program.

At its first in-person media briefing after two years into the pandemic, Cisco reaffirms its commitment to becoming a partner in fostering digital inclusion and transformation in the country.

“We launched Ugnayan 2030 with the idea to build not just a campaign, but also an open platform wherein existing, ongoing, and upcoming ICT-related plans can be enacted — whether it be through access to Cisco technology, knowledge-sharing, or stakeholder engagement, regardless of sector or industry,” said Zaza Nicart, managing director, Cisco Philippines.

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In the Philippines, Ugnayan 2030 is addressing gaps in uneven access to ICT resources, weak cross-organizational structure and adoption, and limited expertise and manpower in the field of technology.

Last year, Cisco powered Baguio City (summer capital of the Philippines located north of the capital Manila) when the local government opened its Smart City Command Center. Makati City, the premier business district, tapped Cisco in providing digital solutions to the city government.

Skills gap

“Our CDA program uniquely positions Cisco and our partners to be the bridge between a country’s digital ambitions and the benefits of a digital future,” said Guy Diedrich, SVP and global innovation officer, Cisco. “The model is based on high degrees of trust and deep engagement across ecosystem partners in the public and private sectors. Through CDA, we can support our community leaders in addressing key societal challenges by harnessing strategic co-investment and relentless co-innovation.”

Cisco’s CDA is active in 44 countries with over 1,200 active or completed projects.

Cisco is also focusing its efforts on addressing skills gaps and skills shortages in the ICT industry as well as closing the gap of the digital divide. Most of CDA’s global projects are driven to address these main issues.

“Governments around the world are grappling with the fundamental challenge of preparing for the workforce of the future, and the fact remains that we have millions of unfilled jobs in cybersecurity, networking, and IT,” Diedrich said. “While technology has been the answer to solving many real-world challenges, if we don’t have the people to staff, serve, and protect our infrastructure, we can only go so far.”

Country digitization

In the Philippines, the situation of skills shortage is no different. Cisco Philippines gathered insights from experts across various sectors in the country and found that regardless of industry, there is a pressing need to train and reskill the workforce for country digitization to reach its optimum level.

“We’re focusing our efforts on Cisco’s core competencies: connectivity, collaboration, and cybersecurity,” Nicart said. “These pillars form the essential foundation for the Philippines to embark on its digital journey, and we have a great opportunity to make these efforts more accessible if we can equip more Filipinos with the right skill set to manage and sustain the country’s digitalization efforts and reap the benefits of a digital future.”

According to Cisco, to bridge the digital divide for good, a holistic approach is necessary. This approach involves meeting basic needs in the form of the internet accessibility, improving the quality of education and healthcare outcomes through modernized collaboration and connectivity platforms, fostering innovation, and creating a thriving business environment by effectively implementing hybrid work strategies, and modernizing and securing a country’s critical infrastructure.