If you have a business in the Internet of things space then get yourself over to Cisco immediately. The tech giant has announced it will be making a major long-term investment in UK technology businesses of $1 billion (£650 million) through a combination of corporate acquisitions, venture capital investments and education programmes over the next five years.
The tech company which already employs 7,000 people in the UK - its biggest market – will also be looking at the fledgling IoT (internet of things) market and is including $150 million (£98 million) in venture capital funding for businesses in the sector across FinTech, retail, healthcare and smart cities, while cyber security will also be an equity investment focus for the firm.
The investment promise is part of Cisco’s broader “digitisation acceleration” programme, where it is selecting countries to make major strategic investments to accelerate existing government goals to drive economic growth through high-tech innovation.
Commenting on the investment Neil Crockett, CEO at the tech incubator group Digital Catapult who are working with Cisco on IoT projects said the investment should be welcomed and reflects the strength of digital initiatives and the cross industry opportunities presented by the IoT in the UK. “As a Digital Catapult supporter we have been working with Cisco to accelerate IoT focussed SMEs in the UK for some time now and this is an exciting step forward. However, this must be used as a stepping stone to make the UK the most attractive place for global innovators in the digital space by creating an environment which demonstrates our national commitment to IoT.”
“This massive investment from Cisco is great news for the UK’s growing digital economy,” said tory spin doctor Prime Minister David Cameron. “It is a clear vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan. It will create jobs and growth across the country, providing security for hard working people.” Perhaps this is why Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne completely ignored the tech sector in the budget yesterday, as he was hoping all the investment would come from the sector itself.