London, UK – 27th February 2018 – With nearly every Internet connection in the UK enabled by Cisco, the global IT leader today announced its support as a partner to the Great Exhibition of the North to help amplify and extend the impact of the summer long programme.

With a focus on inspiring education, high-tech business and technological innovation throughout the North, Cisco will support the Great Exhibition in three key areas; infrastructure, innovation and skills, both for the event and in helping to create a connected region through ongoing programmes.

“The UK is home to many of the greatest technology innovations the world has ever seen, but if we want that to continue, we have to help every part of the UK and every individual, realise their digital potential. The North of England is a prime example of where industry has flourished, where ambition resides, but there is a need to think differently about how we enable the region to fulfil its potential.”

Commented Scot Gardner, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland.

He added “We’re delighted to be partnering with the Great Exhibition of the North to support both the event itself, and the legacy that the organisers are looking to achieve. We believe in the power of the regions.” 

Connecting Newcastle and Gateshead

Providing connectivity for a summer of exhibits, technology showcases, performance and experiences to celebrate innovation and design across a 14km2 venue, will not only enable visitors to engage with and amplify the exhibition, but the infrastructure will remain as a lasting legacy of the event.

Digital skills for everyone

Throughout the event, Cisco and its start-up partners will work with the Great Exhibition of the North to encourage young people in the region into studies and careers in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

In the last five years, Cisco Networking Academies in Newcastle and Gateshead have trained nearly 1,500 students. To build on that momentum, and as a major milestone in its commitment to encourage digital skills for everyone in the UK, Cisco will be working with Newcastle Libraries to deliver digital skills at the heart of the community. Libraries across Newcastle will soon be providing free access to Cisco courses, in addition to their current digital skills provision, including those that teach the basics of getting online, to an introduction to cybersecurity and the Internet of Things. 

Innovation in the North – smart places & smart regions

As part of the business expo, Cisco will provide high-quality video conferencing technology to support interaction with speakers from around the world, as if they were present in the room. 

In addition to its partnership with the Great Exhibition of the North, Cisco is working with a range of partners in Newcastle to support its ambition of creating ‘smart places’. The project will explore what becomes possible when you turn what was the world’s first ever street with electric lighting, into a smart street enabled by digital technology and data. The initiative follows Cisco’s involvement in Manchester to help create a blueprint for Smart Cities with CityVerve, the government’s smart city demonstrator.

Today’s announcement is the latest example of Cisco’s commitment to support digitisation in the UK. Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the country.