Cisco re-org seeks to turn ideas into products, and drive IoT and 5G gains
Cisco has reorganised its innovation team as a function of its engineering department, rather than its strategy unit, to drive commercial results from its more pioneering work around technologies like 5G, blockchain, and augmented reality (AR), and its innovation work in the smart cities, transportation, manufacturing, and supply chain sectors.
Its innovation team will now be measured on the conversion of its technologies and experiments into commercial products, noted Nick Chrissos, director of innovation for Cisco in Europe.
“It brings us closer to the engineering pedigree within the business, and presents a different challenge, as we will be measured on the conversion rate into commercial products. It puts the innovation business in a better place,” he said.
In parallel, the company has opened a new innovation centre in Barcelona, its sixth in Europe. The Barcelona venue will focus on smart cities, and build on its previous smart city work in the Catalan capital.
“The work we have done previously in Barcelona has finished. There is nothing really functioning now. This is to drive new engagement with the city, and to develop the smart city space in general,” said Chrissos.
The Barcelona venue, which has effectively reopened, joins a European network of innovation centres, covering London, Manchester, Paris, Berlin, and Istanbul.
Each is paired with a different vertical market, or enabling technology. Its London office is focused on the transportation sector, twinned with its work on the UK government’s Smart Mobility Living Lab project around autonomous vehicles and intelligent traffic systems.
Its Manchester site, also in the UK, has underpinned its work on the CityVerve smart city project. Elsewhere, its Berlin facility is focused on manufacturing and blockchain, Paris is investigating AR based applications, and immersive operations systems, and Istanbul, opened in May, is looking at supply chain technologies.
Cisco has innovation centres in Perth, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto, as well. In each, a core group of Cisco staff, from its innovation team, is supplemented by a flexible team of partners and contractors, depending on the workload.
In total, Cisco employs around 40 people within its innovation team Europe, and closer 70 worldwide. Until now, the Manchester site has been its busiest, with up to 40 people, including external staff.