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CSR Partner Water for People Quenching Thirst in Malawi

One of the nonprofits we support through our Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, Water for People, is on track to providing easy access to safe water and sanitation to everyone in Malawi, Africa, where just 5 years ago, only 41% had access to a reliable water source.

Water for People supports the development of locally sustainable drinking water resources, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programs – with a focus on using technology to monitor projects and collect and analyze data. These programs are helping Water for People reach its mission of delivering water to “Everyone Forever” in 30 districts in 9 countries serving over 4 million individuals.

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In Malawi, Water for People has completed 90% of its target water projects. Photo courtesy Water For People.

Cisco began supporting Water for People in 2010, with a Global Impact Cash Grant to help develop Field Level Operations Watch (FLOW) — a mobile application that can be used to collect, manage, and analyze data on the condition of wells and pumps in remote locations. Water for People is using this tool in the Chikwawa district of Malawi to monitor 98 different water points, collecting usage data and pictures of the condition of the water systems.

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Challenging the Next Generation of STEM Professionals

Yesterday, Cisco and Junior Achievement of Northern California hosted Cisco’s inaugural Social Innovation Challenge on our San Jose campus. Fifty high school students from nearby Independence High School and Sequoia High School worked together in small groups to create and pitch ways to connect the unconnected.

I watched as excited students presented ideas to improve the patient/physician relationship and make the experience at the San Francisco 49er’s new stadium easier for fans. Their collaboration led them to brainstorm creative solutions that use technology in new and unanticipated ways. The winning team, “Epidemask,” pitched the concept of a blue-chip enabled gel facemask that prevents the spread of viruses while also communicating to authorities which regions need specific vaccinations.

The winning team, "Epidemask", applied technology to create social change in the healthcare field

The winning team, “Epidemask,” applied technology to create social change in the healthcare field

It’s always fun to see students pour their energy into something like this. At the Social Innovation Challenge, we get the chance to watch kids organize new ideas and stand up in front of a panel of judges in a competitive environment. This format is great because it teaches them what the social problems are and how they can use technology and connections to solve them.

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Cisco France Asks Students and Young Entrepreneurs to “Change the World” with Networked Connections

Last Wednesday, October 1, Cisco France announced its second annual Le Défi Cisco – or The Cisco Challenge. This competition is created and led by Cisco volunteers and encourages college students and young entrepreneurs to develop technology projects that address social or environmental issues. All entries must harness the Internet of Everything – the connections among people, process, data, and things.

Building on the success of the first competition, where the winning team of Cisco Networking Academy students from the city of Nancy designed a connected white stick for the blind, Cisco France decided to multiply the competition’s impact by redesigning the format.

This year, 2 parallel contests will run: one for students still in school, and the other for young entrepreneurs with an already-matured project. After the closing of applications on January 4, 2015, a jury will select 6 finalist teams. Finalists will each receive support from Cisco mentors who will help them mature their projects and prototype the solutions for the final jury. Both winners will be awarded with a €15,000 cash prize, Cisco mentoring, and equipment to create their new business.

Le Defi Cisco

The two winning projects will be incubated by SenseCube, a start-up accelerator dedicated to social entrepreneurs, and a new partner for this second edition. It’s a perfect match with “Le Défi Cisco” concept as its philosophy is to support entrepreneurs in mixing digital technologies and community support to create and implement high-impact solutions on a global scale.

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Preparing Texas Students Today for the STEM Jobs of Tomorrow

October 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm PST
stslatteThis post written by guest blogger Steve Slattery, Vice President of Unified Communications and Customer Engagement, Cisco

 

Nearly 60 10th graders from the Plano Independent School District STEM Academy came to Cisco’s Richardson, Texas, campus today to gain hands-on experience with the technology of tomorrow.

These students, who focus on science, technology, engineering and math – known as STEM — got career counseling from technology professionals, saw demonstrations of Cisco’s cutting-edge video and collaboration technologies, and engaged in speed mentoring.  To cap of an incredible day, the students had an opportunity to build their own ethernet cables and test them on phones by making live calls.

This is part of a series of STEM mentoring events taking place all week at three of Cisco’s campuses – Richardson, Texas; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and Silicon Valley. Nearly 200 students and 200 Cisco employee mentors will participate in these events.

A Cisco employee mentor shares a demo with a student at a STEM mentoring event October 7 in Richardson, Texas.

Nearly 60 students and 33 Cisco mentors participated in a STEM event in Richardson, Texas, on October 7. The event is part of our commitment to the US2020 Initiative to have 20% of our workforce engaged in 20 hours of STEM mentoring per year by 2020.

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Tell the Video Monitor “Ahh”: High Tech Healthcare Serves Patients

With all the frenzied fanfare normally surrounding the debut of new Apple products, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were recently introduced to the masses. And though these new phones were the big news of the day for the technology giant, the Apple Watch is what the healthcare industry has its eyes on.

Released alongside the new iPhones, the Apple Watch is able to sync with apps that track wearers’ basic health and fitness activity trends, including heart rate and travelled distance on a run. More than a timekeeper, Apple’s most robust entry into the “wearables” market meets users at the intersection of technology and health, competing with standalone smart watches, fitness trackers and other multi-functional devices.

While the early reviews on how much the smart watch will revolutionize the industry are still inconclusive, the overall enthusiasm from consumers demonstrates how technology continues to rapidly change the face and future of healthcare – and how ready we are to embrace it. This embrace, of course, comes as no surprise to champions of telehealth and telecare. Technology has been a major influencer on Cisco’s Jordan Healthcare Initiative, demonstrating how technology can bridge gaps in patient care and bring about quality of life that wasn’t conceivable before.

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