Like most Tier 1 IT products and services providers, Cisco Systems is constantly on the lookout for new talent and ideas within the sectors where it plays the most—networking, collaboration, security and business analytics.
The company puts its money where its front lobby is: When it finds talent, it rewards it.
At the Internet of Things World Forum Dec. 8 in Dubai, Cisco Systems revealed the winners of this year's Innovation Grand Challenge. They are:
--Grand prize winner ($150,000): CyberFlow Analytics, San Diego, Calif., U.S.
CyberFlow Analytics integrates advanced analytics, intelligence and visualization (anomalytics) to monitor the security of networks at low-infrastructure costs in smart cities and enterprises.
--Second place ($75,000): Green City Solutions, Dresden, Germany
Green City Solutions serves as an IoT-linked sustainable billboard that both generates revenue and cleans the air in smart cities through a unique filtering system that doesn't produce any costly waste.
--Third place ($25,000): Eigen Innovations, Fredericton, Canada
Eigen Innovations's platform uses cloud-based deep learning, connected vision analytics and applications to solve complex problems on the plant floor of high-speed manufacturing operations.
Because Cisco believes that the next $1 billion idea can come from anywhere, the Innovation Grand Challenge aims to inspire, engage and support the next generation of startups, entrepreneurs and developers that are capturing IoT/IoE opportunities, the company said.
The competition began in June. The three winners made the cut from about 3,000 entries from more than 100 countries. Earlier on Dec. 8, six global finalists delivered "Shark Tank"-like pitches and demos before a live audience and judges, demonstrating how cloud, fog computing, mobility, sensors and other technologies are converging to create a new digital world with profound impact on established industries as we know it.
Fog computing signifies bringing data processing, networking, storage and analytics closer to the devices and applications that are working at the network's edge. Cisco Systems has spent much of the year talking about extending the cloud with "the fog."
Beyond the cash prizes, the three winning trailblazers will have VIP access to industry, investment and business experts, including Cisco's global Innovation Centers and Cisco investments team for potential business acceleration and joint go-to-market strategies.
"Their solutions are stunning in their industrial and social awareness," Alex Goryachev, Director of Innovation Strategy and Programs in Cisco's Corporate Technology Group, wrote in his blog. "Plus, their solutions leverage today's universe of advanced technologies that encompass everything from sensors, low-power memory, fog computing, platforms, analytics and artificial intelligence.
"The common denominator is their interdependence on networked connections to the Internet. To me, as the organizer of this Grand Challenge, these innovators are incredibly inspiring in how they combine sheer creativity with the technical skills of our digital era."
For more information on the Cisco innovation program, go here.