Cisco launches first Asean co-innovation and cyber-security centres in Singapore

The Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence is expected to boost Cisco's Asia-Pacific threat intelligence research and response capabilities, and work towards improving national cybersecurity and talent nurturing. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - American tech giant Cisco on Friday (Feb 15) launched an innovation centre, its first in South-east Asia, to bring together industry players, government organisations and start-ups to work on regional issues in cyber security and the Internet of Things (IoT).

It also launched a Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (CCX) in partnership with the Economic Development Board (EDB), which is expected to boost Cisco's Asia-Pacific threat intelligence research and response capabilities, and work towards improving national cyber security and talent nurturing.

Cisco hopes to bring some of its innovations from overseas to Singapore, such as the way it is collaborating with the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands to help it go fully autonomous by 2023. It is also conducting a trial in Sydney to help measure public transport occupancy rates which are then fed to commuters in real time through an app.

"Innovation no longer happens behind the closed doors of R&D labs, but in open ecosystems. Both these centres will allow us to realise the possibilities of digital transformation in IoT, and support the Singapore government's Smart Nation initiative," said Mr Irving Tan, Cisco senior vice-president and chief of operations.

Both centres are located at Cisco's office in Mapletree Business City.

The CCX will have more than 100 employees and Cisco said it expected the CCX team to be fully staffed by June. It will also offer opportunities to university students and industry professionals from other companies through six-month internship and residency programmes respectively.

Cisco's national cyber-security officer for Asean Joshua McCloud said the centre's role in the local IT infrastructure is primarily an advisory and educational one.

"Our centre is not operationalised in our customers' environment but what we do is provide insights, with customers leveraging on our security products," said Mr McCloud.

"We want to foster a collaborative ecosystem. Through our residency programme, for example, these professionals will work side by side with Cisco analysts in the centre for six months, tapping into Cisco's expertise and also sharing practices from their companies."

EDB managing director Chng Kai Fong, who was at the launch, said the move by Cisco, which has had an office here for the last 25 years, fits squarely into Singapore's push into the Asean market and into digital innovation, among another things.

"We're focusing on Asean, and Cisco is growing its Asean market from Singapore. Cisco is also at the heart of how digital capabilities are transforming the way we work," said Mr Chng, adding that cyber security is an increasing area of focus for Singapore.

Digital defence was introduced to the Total Defence framework as the sixth pillar on Friday.

He said: "What you are doing with the two centres you are opening - innovation and cyber security - are what we think are the foundational pieces for our economic development."

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