Tech City’s got nothing on Silicon Valley, says Cisco CEO

John Chambers has praised government investment in tech, but says that Silicon Valley still holds the upper hand.

The Cisco CEO believes London's Tech City requires significant development before it matches the tech biome of Silicon Valley.

Chambers made clear his support for Prime Minister David Cameron's efforts to create a centre for innovation in the capital, but said that the Silicon Valley ecosystem would be difficult to replicate in London.

The government recently declared a £73 million scheme to support research into the Internet of Things (IoT) in the UK; an area that Cisco has been eyeing up hungrily.

The number of engineers employed by Cisco in the UK has now outstripped that of its sales staff – something that Chambers would never have pictured five years ago.

"There's a uniqueness in the Valley in terms of expertise it draws from all over the world. That is hard to replicate," he told TechWorld.

Tech City houses one of six innovation centres opened by Cisco in partnership with University College London and DC Thompson. The IT firm invested £3.5 million in both the building and several surrounding startups.

Chambers spoke enthusiastically at CES 2014 of a world where everything is automated, IP-enabled, and connected.

In recent years, Cisco has also acquired directTV software provider NDS Group and LTE company Ubiquisys, both of them UK firms.