Cisco is betting on the 'power of alliances' to tap the digital growth in India. The company announced two major partnerships with Google and TCS last month.
Cisco has partnered with Google to launch free public WiFi zones through Google Stations, starting with a pilot in Bengaluru and taking it across the country. India is the first country where this will be rolled out as part of the global initiative under this partnership.
"India has 50,000 hotspots today, but it needs 8 million for accessibility," Sameer Garde, president, Cisco India and SAARC, told CNBC TV 18. "Google's Next Billon Users initiative and Cisco's connectivity focus make for good partnership. It will be a unique business model and the idea is to go into high-traffic public areas," he added.
Cisco also announced an alliance with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to launch Enterprise Cloud Centres in India. TCS already has such centres in 13 countries, and will now be launching in India with the partnership of Cisco.
"TCS and Cisco have been offering joint solutions, and engineering teams have been working together. So far, TCS and Cisco were offering a global solution from India, now the launch will happen here as well," Garde said.
He, however, did not give any specific timeline.
Cisco is actively preparing for the 5G era, Garde noted. "We will see a shift in 5G from B2C to B2B. Service providers currently see 25 percent revenues from enterprises and SMBs. 5G will shift more towards enterprises in industries like auto and healthcare," the Cisco India head said.
Overall, Cisco's business outlook in India is to go beyond the core verticals of BFSI, IT/ITes, government and telecom which contributed 85 percent till last year, Garde pointed out.
"We have formed a core team to focus on new verticals of manufacturing, pharma and retail. These verticals are growing faster than the overall business," he said.
Garde said Cisco will look at two key areas -- transportation, especially with airports, railways, highways and ports being digitised, and warehouse consolidation under GST.
"We estimate $400-$500 billion to be invested by the government and private sector in the transport digitisation area in the next 5 years," Garde said.
"GST has lowered logistics costs and warehouses are being consolidated. There will be investments in automation of warehouses," he added.
One of the big developments at Cisco this year has been to streamline its focus on SMBs into a separate business segment globally and in India. "There are 63 million SMBs in India, and most SMBs are using digital to enhance business. We decided the focus on helping SMBS go digital needs to be a separate business segment, and we are now doing that globally," Garde said.