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Accelerating open innovation on all fronts at Cisco

I introduced Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) earlier this year as a cornerstone in our strategy of embracing open innovation at Cisco. I also shared how we were extending Cisco EIR and open innovation across the US through local incubation partners, and I announced the launch of Cisco EIR in Europe. Now I would like to share updates on the great progress we are making with Cisco EIR as a catalyst of open innovation at Cisco.

Startups Selected to Join Cisco EIR in Europe

Last week we were excited to announce the six startups that will be joining our Cisco EIR program in Europe at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna. The six winners – innovating in the areas of Smart Cities, Internet of Everything (IoE)/cloud and Big Data/analytics – were chosen through a rigorous multiphase selection process conducted in collaboration with Pioneers. More than 350 applicants from 39 countries applied to join Cisco EIR Europe, with 15 finalists pitching live at the Pioneers Festival in front of Cisco experts and our European partners. Winners were selected based on the viability of their business plans, the strength of their teams and their alignment with Cisco’s IoE vision and strategy.

We were impressed beyond our expectations by the vision, passion, talent and technology of all 15 finalists. These startups made us more excited and convinced than ever that Europe was the right platform to discover and nurture the next generation of disruptive ideas for our industry and for Cisco.

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Reinventing Innovation to Capture the Internet of Everything Opportunity

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is not only disrupting traditional business models, it is also disrupting innovation itself.

While the focus at this week’s 2nd annual Internet of Things World Forum (IOTWF) here in Chicago is on capturing the accelerated opportunity of connected things, we believe there is even greater opportunity with the Internet of Everything: the networked connection of people, processes, data AND things. IoE is already transforming business outcomes, but in order to capture the full potential of its $19 trillion economic opportunity we will need to cultivate new skill sets and ways of thinking by both established organizations and 21st century entrepreneurs.

Innovating with local communities

This, in turn, requires new types of collaborations and investment mechanisms among industry, government and academia to incubate innovative ideas and turn them into commercial, scalable solutions for the betterment of society.

I am very proud of one such exemplary collaboration between the Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) program, led by Mala Anand, SVP of Services Platforms (“Open innovation: Harnessing the ideas, talent and passion of the startup eco-system”), and the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE), a startup incubator affiliated with the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory and other leading technology organizations in the greater Chicago area. This partnership, announced last April, aims to support the most promising early-stage startups in the region that are focused on game-changing IoE and Smart Cities solutions by bringing the expertise and resources of Cisco and CIE in a co-incubation environment.

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Launching Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence in Europe

I recently wrote about how we are extending Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR)  and our open innovation strategy beyond Silicon Valley through local incubation partners in Chicago, San Diego and Berkeley.  Our presence in these innovation hubs will enable us to discover, influence and learn from new ideas and talent at early-stage startups with potential to disrupt our industry.

Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of Cisco EIR Europe, extending our program to a non-U.S. innovation hub for the first time.  Cisco EIR will be located initially in Vienna, where we plan to launch a small cohort of early-stage European startups by January 2015 – to be supported & incubated by Cisco – drawn from across EMEAR.  As with Cisco EIR in Silicon Valley, we will look for game-changing entrepreneurs in IoE, security, Big Data/analytics, Smart Cities & other transformational opportunities that are in Cisco’s strategic line of sight.  Also as in our Silicon Valley program, the startups will be supported by Cisco engineering & product teams as well as our EMEAR partner ecosystem.  The Vienna-based program is intended to serve as the beachhead – our “Phase 1” – for a broader EU-wide footprint for Cisco EIR.

Key to our success is how we leverage the startup ecosystem that already exists in Europe.  To this end, starting in Vienna, we have partnered with Pioneers, a leading startup community organization in Europe.  More partnerships are in the works.

I know all of you will agree innovation knows no national boundaries.  Europe, with its deep entrepreneurial talent, large market and history of innovation, presents a unique opportunity for usEurope is also one of the key regions for our Smart Cities – as you saw from our recent announcement of a new Smart Cities initiative in Copenhagen, following similar projects in Barcelona, Amsterdam Chicago and Hamburg.

We are thrilled to forge relationships in the European startup community – and support entrepreneurs as partners in open innovation.

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Open Innovation Everywhere: Extending Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence to Innovation Hubs across the U.S

Back in March, I wrote about Cisco’s continued focus on innovation and my personal goal of accelerating innovation by making openness part of our DNA. Similarly, at the recent Cisco Live event in San Francisco, I talked about the incredible Inertnet of Everything (IoE) journey in front of us and offered a few examples of what that future might hold. The IoE future of hyper-connected devices, people, data and processes will see retail, manufacturing, public services and health care fundamentally changed—and our lives made richer and safer. Today, we stand at the dawn of a revolution, and innovation will continue to lead the way.

With both internal and external programs to feed innovation, Cisco aims to nurture disruptive ideas. In this light, we are using our new startup innovation program, Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR), to spur open innovation and drive Cisco’s own leadership position in the emerging IoE opportunity.

The Entrepreneurs in Residence program offers financial support, access to a co-working space, basic software tools and a potential opportunity to collaborate with Cisco product or engineering teams. Each cohort lasts six months, and startups are selected through a rigorous multi-phase selection process that evaluates the viability of their business plans, the strength of their teams and their alignment with Cisco’s strategic focus.

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Answering Your Top Tech Trend Questions at Cisco Live #CLUS

Our customers join us at Cisco Live conferences around the world to hear how we can help you tackle the most important technology trends. Cloud, security, mobility and programmable networks are all driving different business models and compelling opportunities.

The top questions we hear from you are:

  • What is Cisco’s approach to SDN?
  • How will Cisco help me deliver hybrid cloud services?
  • Can I really deploy applications in hours instead of weeks?
  • Can I get great — but affordable — collaboration technology into every room, on every desk, every pocket?
  • How can IT lead in securing company assets and data?
  • Do I have the right foundation to deliver better mobile experiences to my employees and customers?
  • Which of Cisco’s customers are having success with these technologies?
  • How is Cisco IT grappling with all these challenges?

At Cisco Live, you not only get the practical, hands-on knowledge that can advance your career. You also get compelling insight and Cisco roadmaps into the ideas, concepts, and emerging trends that are setting the stage for a more connected and collaborative future.

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