Cisco plans products for emerging markets

Written by Shruti Ambavat | MG Arun | Mumbai | Updated: Jan 28 2012, 08:08am hrs
Cisco Systems (USA), which designs and sells networks and communications technology, will develop new low-cost products and services for emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, India and China. The company plans to use skills from its innovation centre in India, joining multinational technology firms Dell and IBM.

We are starting to look at innovation which will be done in this part of the world to meet the demand growth in emerging countries, Naresh B Wadhwa, the president and country manager for India at Cisco Systems, told FE.

At its Bangalore facility, Cisco is working on an entry-level communications solution named BE 3000 for small and mid-sized businesses, and a router or networking device named ASR 901 that would aid smartphones and tablets. The company is also modifying a set-top box made by Chinese firm DVN to be marketed in India and later other markets at affordable prices.

Stressing on the need for innovation, head consulting of ICT Practice, South-Asia and Middle East at Frost & Sullivan Nishchal Khorana says that Innovation is no longer a fad, but a necessity for companies in a tough business environment. In the current global volatile economic environment, technology firms have to innovate to meet the right market segment, to differentiate and also survive in the market, added Nishchal Khorana.

Cisco will target new sectors like education and healthcare to develop and commercialise new technology applications. We have started working on certain verticals like education, healthcare, says Wadhwa. These solutions will be India-specific now, but later can be used in other parts of the world.

In healthcare, the company is working on a pilot project with Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals, where a technology is being innovated to diagnose patients in rural areas and treat them by city doctors through a web-based technology. However, India does not allow remote diagnosis and Cisco will have to wait.

The company is also working with the government in the education sector. In three to five years, India will see $15-100 billion investments coming into the education sector, says Narayana Ramaswamy, a partner at consulting firm KPMG India. Under Ciscos project in the education sector at Raichur in Karnataka and Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, teachers take virtual classes for village students.

The company will also develop new technologies in manufacturing, automotive, banking, financial services and insurance or BFSI sectors. There is still a large market that is untapped, so companies are looking at low-cost solutions and strategic local vendor partnership to reach out to customers, says Khorana. Even large companies will look at low-cost solutions in constraint budget situations that are arising these days, Khorana added.

Multinational software companies have been investing in research centres in India and China to support their global business.

Michael Dell, chief executive of computer maker Dell had said in March that the company plans to invest more to expand operations in India to create $2 billion in revenues here. The company is planning to enter the education and healthcare segment with customised products and services and has an R&D centre at Sriperumbudur near Chennai.