Cisco chairman John Chambers met with Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday to launch the British Innovation Gateway (BIG), a scheme that will see the company help drive innovation and growth in London's East End.
Cisco has pledged to invest about $500m (£310m) in the project.
The scheme follows a coalition announcement in December stating it wanted to create a technology hub in the Shoreditch and Old Street areas of London, dubbed the Silicon roundabout.
The five-year BIG initiative includes plans for two new networked innovations centres.
One of the new innovation centres will be based in Shoreditch and focus on partnering with the local SME community. The second will be situated in the Olympic Park itself and provide a "state-of-the-art connected community", with focus on developing innovative solutions for London and other cities.
It is believed that telepresence and other "community technologies" are being considered for the Olympic Park centre and the surrounding area.
The aim of the scheme is to bring prosperity to what is a relatively deprived area, said Neil Crockett, managing director of UK public sector at Cisco.
"If you go east from London Bridge tube station, for every station you pass through, life expectancy decreases by one year," he said. "This needs to change. This is our chance to leave a legacy from the Olympic Games, and is a huge opportunity for East London. This area wasn't being developed three or four years ago, and a lot of the industry that was here left the area, resulting in high unemployment."
Cisco plans to hold five annual competitions called BIG Awards for new and developing technology SMEs, which will have a chance to win, among other things, free mentoring from Cisco experts.
"I welcome this major statement of support from Cisco," said Cameron.
"This [scheme] will help create many new jobs and opportunities, and support our drive to diversify our economy and generate sustainable growth," he added.
Cisco will also be providing the network for the Olympic Park. This is will connect more than 8,000 PCs, 16,000 telephones, and will have over 30 times the capacity of the Beijing Olympics.
"Most of the traffic will be video – and most of this will be user generated. The networks need to be able to deal with this volume of data," said Crockett.
This article originally appeared on CRN sister site Computing.co.uk
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