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Cisco investing in Greece: How it “transforms” the islands and prepares the country for the digital age

Guy Diedrich explains why digitization is key to the transition of economies into the new era

With 25 years of presence in Greece, Cisco continues to give a vote of confidence in Greece’s prospects. The company is implementing a series of investments and programs, aiming at accelerating the digital transformation and providing the supplies needed for the country and its human resources to respond to the demands of the new digital age, Guy Diedrich, SVP & Global Innovation Officer, head of the Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) & Cisco Networking Academy programs said in an interview with “Naftemporiki”.

Guy Diedrich – Cisco

Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration Program is the main “lever” with a presence in 50 countries and over 1,500 projects. “It started 8 years ago as many countries were promoting national digital agendas: they had worked hard on them, they had developed them, they had thought about them a lot, but they did not have a plan to implement them. So Cisco came forward with this program to help them find value through digitization faster,” Diedrich explained.
Thanks to the National Recovery Plan, which Diedrich described as a game changer, the vote of confidence in Greece has been renewed over the last years. The project “showed that Greece is ready to invest and this made it easier for Cisco to co-invest in the country.”

Digitization is also key to the transition of economies into the new era. It will result in 85 million workers worldwide losing their jobs. “These are jobs that are transferred to other parts of the world or out of the labour market,” Diedrich said. At the same time, however, digitization is creating 97 million new jobs, he stressed.

Is Greece ready for the digital age?

“I think that Greece is fully prepared for the opportunities that digitization brings. What is true both in Greece and elsewhere is that when you invest in technology, you must also invest in education, in reskilling. If you don’t have the human capital that will be able to install, maintain and innovate with these technologies, if you don’t invest in education, you don’t get the full value of digitalization,” he concluded.

All Roads lead to Rhodes for digital nomads

However, Greece seeks to become a destination for digital nomads from all over the world. Does it have the infrastructure to make it happen?

“Greece is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We all know this. Digital nomads, who can work from anywhere for Cisco and all kinds of tech companies, want to come here to enjoy the quality of life, the sun, the sand, the sea and the climate. But they need to have the same connectivity and the same digital tools and benefits that they would have anywhere else,” Diedrich noted.

And this is where Cisco comes to set an example with a pilot program in Rhodes. “We took a number of Cisco employees and placed them on the island for 13 months in a fully networked environment. There are 4 hubs and of course fully equipped accommodation where they can work and have all the benefits, connectivity and speed they would have anywhere and if they were in the most advanced cities on the planet,” he explained.
“We are thus showing that one can come to Rhodes, Greece, any of the islands and have an incredible quality of life, but at the same time be fully connected.”