The wait is over. After getting nearly 900 registrations from 75 countries, among all those who submitted their proposals for Phase-1 of the Cisco Developer contest, we had 110 qualified teams who satisfied the requirements originally set forth. Cisco judges were amazed at the quality of the entries, the diverse range of ideas and the creativity that had gone into these submissions. This was especially surprising given that a vast majority of the contestants had never been exposed to Cisco router and many had not even heard of the Application Extension Platform and how it facilitates application integration. Because of the diversity we had judges with multiple disciplinary backgrounds sit in as consultants. For all those who responded – THANK YOU! For all those, who were shortlisted as potential finalists – big KUDOS to you. And for the top ten finalists – CONGRATULATIONS!So, who thought Inside the Box?These teams were short listed into potential finalists as mentioned in my previous blog. After another review process, we finally have the top 10 finalist teams who are raring to roll up their sleeves and get into the Cisco labs.These finalists come from four different continents:• From North America: Team Cupertino Systems, Team Service Enabled Networks and Team SNAT• From Europe: Team MADnetwork, Team Bugsbernie and Team RSDevs• From South America: Team Jin Jin and Team Campuser• From Asia: Team Ideate and Team EnhancersWe’ve two teams of three, three teams of two, and the rest are individuals. They come from diverse backgrounds including many who are entrepreneurs, some are students and others are techies who’ve entered the contest for the fun of it. Their motives range from “taking the family to Disneyland” to “continuing higher education”.Mick Scully, Cisco Vice President at the Access Routing Technology group put out a VoD announcing the finalists. Be sure to check out the Flash version where Mick captures the momentum and announces the finalists on the contest website. It is ironic that a few months ago, many of these finalists were going about their busy lives. They were probably aware of Cisco and maybe had heard of our routers, but had no idea that they would be doing anything with either. The Cisco Developer Contest changed all. Now, their lives just got that much busier, as they spend their waking time thinking what they need to do to win the contest and create some history here :-). New and updated contest website:We’ve updated the Cisco ‘Think Inside the Box’ contest website to feature the finalist teams and provide insight into their applications. We’ve also put up team photographs with their personal profiles. Be sure to check that out. You may send shout outs to your favourite teams through the Innovation Blog (no need to register). We’ll also look to bringing you video blogs shortly, to give you a 360 degree view into our finalists. A note to our finalists:You guys have gone through a tough judging process and have bested a field of quality entries from all over the world. Feel proud of the achievement. Our labs open today as we welcome you with open arms into the next phase. You’ve got ~90 days to make your vision a reality. Phase-2 closes on August 15th, 2009.Congratulations again and may the best teams win!