Submitted by Neil Crockett, Cisco Managing Director for London 2012 Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are fundamental to every aspect of modern society, cutting across all industry sectors and all areas of life, visible or not. Our dependence on ICTs goes far beyond the laptop, the tablet and the ubiquitous mobile. ICTs are the hidden backbone of industrial systems, commerce, transport, health, government, entertainment – defining how we live, work and play the world over. Take the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. They’re all about excellence in sport, an international community of supremely talented and dedicated athletes coming together in a celebration of human talent, spirit and ability. Beyond sport, it is a global festival and an uplifting drama of a common ambition for glory that transcends medals and nationalism. All this is witnessed, experienced and shared by millions of spectators in the in London, and sofas worldwide.
You would perhaps not consider the Games a prime example of the intrinsic importance of ICTs to our daily life. That is, however,exactly what it is. Competitors, trainers, national delegations, support staff, ground staff, organisers, transport authorities, broadcasters, media of all stripes from all corners of the world, live audiences and those following on television, computer and mobile screens globally -we are all dependent on ICTs to deliver the Olympic experience. ICTs are behind the incredibly accurate timekeeping technology which measures sporting performance to the thousandth of a second, and the highly-complex technological and logistical broadcasting operations that brings results all but instantaneously to sport lovers everywhere. The Olympic and Paralympic Games would not be possible in the modern age without ICTs, nor without the complex network infrastructure underpinning the secure and efficient delivery of these services. But what happens to all that technology, infrastructure and input when the Games draw to a close and the leading sportspeople of the world disperse once more? Cisco is the Official Network Infrastructure Supporter to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and, as such, have invested heavily in state-of-the-art technology that will support and ensure the smooth running of the Games – and remain as an important resource for local businesses and communities. London 2012 also provides a tremendous platform to inspire the next generation of business leaders and technology innovators.
In 2012 Cisco provided more than 5000 schools and independent learning facilities with ’Out of the Blocks’ teaching guides – a set of free activity books, including a welcome pack and resources inspired by the London 2012Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the overall objective of encouraging students to further their learning in maths and science.These curriculum books are just one component of Cisco’s many initiatives aimed at utilising its sponsorship of London 2012 to help educate and build a brilliant future for young people. Cisco has also been a key supporter of the STEM Challenges – a series of ten activities which have been inspired by The Games. Managed by STEMNET (Science, Technology,Engineering and Mathematics Network) in association with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) each STEM Challenge is a competition that focuses on different aspects of the preparations or the Games itself. A huge component of Cisco’s commitment to the legacy of London 2012 is the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) initiative, which will enable future generations to make use of technology through networked innovation centres designed to showcase how technology can transform local businesses, in particular SMEs. Fostering entrepreneurship by providing mentoring, training and access to expertise, Cisco is supporting SME and start-up communities to stimulate job creation, diversify economic activity and provide sustainable economic growth. These ideas will be among those brought to the (round)table in Dubai at ITU Telecom World 2012, where we believe we can contribute meaningful to debates on leadership and innovation – and where Wim Elfrink, Executive Vice President of Emerging Solutions, will be giving a Visionary Keynote speech. By creating innovation clusters that utilise collaborative technology and build industry partnerships an environment for SMEs and entrepreneurs can flourish – the Olympic Park being an example of one of these innovation centres. ICTs already underpin all aspects of modern life, including sport, and have the potential to create enormous societal change for the good. Current and future innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses will reap the benefit of the legacy infrastructure in East London long after the last medal has been awarded - as innovation and technology combine fruitfully to produce not just
sporting success, but long-lasting socio-economic transformation.