Cisco Co-Innovation Centers accelerate opportunities

March 19, 2019 | 09:35
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Director of innovation, Asia-Pacific, Japan and China Michael Maltese, told VIR about the challenges and opportunities for digital innovation and development in the region and Vietnam, particularly in the IoT and cybersecurity space, on occasion of the opening of Cisco’s innovation hub and cybersecurity centre in Singapore.
cisco co innovation centers accelerate opportunities
Michael Maltese, director of Cisco' Innovation, Asia-Pacific, Japan and China, speaking at the Singaprore Co-innovation Center launching event

While it is the first in the ASEAN, Cisco’s latest Co-Innovation Center in Singapore is its 14th globally. What role will this new Cisco Co-Innovation Center play in your strategy?

Singapore is a world-leader in innovation, and we are excited to work with the local government, startups, partners, and customers to extend that spirit of innovation and drive new digital solutions that improve economic and social conditions. Singapore joins our global network of Co-Innovation Centers, with the mandate to identify, collaborate, and co-engineer innovative solutions beyond Cisco’s traditional offerings that move the dial for our customers and partners.

The Co-Innovation Center will serve as a meaningful catalyst for digital innovation and development, particularly in the IoT and cybersecurity space. It will enable us to realise the possibilities of Digital Transformation and the Internet of Things by providing a platform for industry players, accelerators, universities, and startups to engage in rapid prototyping and building solutions to address key business needs.

Could you share your plans for the upcoming center? Where do you plan to build the second one in the ASEAN?

Given rapid digitalisation across the globe, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, businesses and organisations are looking to innovate at a tremendous pace. Cisco has been working with businesses of all sizes to address infrastructural challenges in their digital journeys. Our commitment remains to nurture a space for co-creation and prototyping of new solutions addressing future needs to fuel the region’s economic growth. We will continue to connect customers, government agencies, industry players, accelerators, universities, and startups to solve pressing business needs. The Co-Innovation Center will aim to provide local organisations access to a global network to scale ideas, share success stories, best practices, and market expertise.

How do you see the business potential in Vietnam? What do you have planned for the next five years?

Vietnam possesses tremendous growth opportunities as it prioritises the need to accelerate innovation. Digital innovation and adoption are becoming key drivers of economic growth in Vietnam. However, different industry sectors are still at various stages of maturity in their digitisation journey. Vietnam finds itself at an advantage (due to lack of technology legacy), with digitisation presenting new opportunities for countries and organisations to leapfrog their developed neighbours.

Digitisation is also changing the way we work. Our goal is to ensure customers continue to empower their workforce to better utilise technology and help build more efficient and productive workplaces. Our growth strategy for the business is to strengthen relationships with existing partners, develop new partnerships, and create new market models. Our focus in Vietnam and the region will be on evolving digital transformation, cybersecurity, and connectivity.

At Cisco, we build the bridge between hope and possibility. This is only possible when innovative technology and imaginative people come together around a common purpose. Innovation no longer happens behind the closed doors of R&D labs, but in open ecosystems. By fostering local and global partnerships, Cisco is leading innovation in cutting edge technology solutions that will create a better future for the region.

Can you share some stories of your activities in Vietnam?

Cisco helps save lives in Vietnam with telemedicine. Viet Duc University Hospital uses telemedicine to improve healthcare expertise for doctors and the quality of healthcare for many patients in the provinces of Vietnam.

Viet Duc University Hospital is known for its surgical expertise not just in Hanoi, but in all of Vietnam. Most of the patients who need complex surgical intervention in Vietnam prefer to come to Viet Duc because of the experienced doctors and the modern equipment. However, this brings various challenges. The hospital must treat 30 to 40 per cent more patients than the Ministry of Health recommends, and as a result, it is always overloaded.

Patients transferred from lower-level hospitals in various provinces of Vietnam also face many difficulties. These include long travel times (sometimes up to 24 hours for remote and mountainous areas), and poor but expensive medical transportation methods, especially for serious cases. This has led to higher mortality rates and worsened patient conditions.

The obvious solution was to deploy more doctors in the provinces. This would not only help reduce the patient influx into city hospitals, but would also bring healthcare closer to patients in the provinces. However, this solution also had some issues. Patients did not trust the expertise and skills of healthcare professionals at lower-level hospitals (as in the provinces), so they continued to come to Viet Duc Hospital, making it even more overcrowded.

At the same time, doctors in the provinces, especially the younger, inexperienced ones, did not have enough guidance and support to conduct surgeries. One of the main tasks of the Viet Duc Hospital doctors is to provide expert guidance to lower-level hospitals, but this training required doctors and professors to travel to over 28 provinces throughout the year. Their absence from Viet Duc Hospital due to their training schedules made it even harder to deal with Viet Duc’s patient influx.

Telemedicine uses collaborative technologies to facilitate virtual meetings between doctors and patients, and between provincial doctors and more experienced Hanoi doctors. Cisco telemedicine solutions combine voice, video, medical data, and collaboration tools to make it easier for patients to see doctors without having to travel long distances.

Patients, doctors, and allied health workers can come together on a common platform and collaborate in real time. This gives doctors the flexibility to divide their time between virtual and physical consultations.

Cisco telemedicine is currently used by 18 hospitals in the Viet Duc Hospital system. Viet Duc Hospital regularly organises online co-diagnosis sessions with lower-level hospitals using Cisco telemedicine to provide expert consultations for complex cases. This helps to improve healthcare in the provinces. Healthcare providers in the provinces are learning many new techniques through virtual seminars, workshops, and co-diagnosis sessions with specialists at Viet Duc University Hospital.

This is helping to build community trust in the skills of provincial doctors, making quality healthcare accessible to the provinces and reducing the number of patients traveling to Viet Duc Hospital and overloading the system. Patients in serious condition no longer have to travel long distances from the provinces, and this is reducing the mortality rate.

By Nguyen Thu

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