Orange Juice BarDuring Cisco Live! in Berlin last week, 43,320 oranges were squeezed to fuel the creative juices of customers, partners and developers who converged to co-innovate around the Internet of Things. That’s a lot of orange juice!

And what a smashing success! With more than 12,000 attendees and hundreds of thousands who joined online, this was by far the largest-ever Cisco Live in the EMEAR region (Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia). To me, it was also the most energizing – and not just because of those orange juice beverages.

The energy around co-innovation was positively hyper and non-stop – from the pre-event DevNet Coding Camp and Hackathon . . . to the openBerlin Innovation Center booth . . . and Co-Innovation Summit hosted by the Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence program. Co-creation was contagious everywhere!

Adrenaline @ Coding Camp

Adrenaline already was running high the weekend before the formal event at the DevNet Coding Camp and Hackathon – the perfect kick start to innovation. Cisco held two days of coding classes open to anyone interested in generating ideas or developing collaboration solutions that incorporate Cisco and third-party technologies.  The Coding Camp attracted an enthusiastic mix of novice and experienced coders, designers and entrepreneurs looking for the latest ways to create the next big thing.

For me, the most exciting part of any conference is usually the Hackathon, which is why I love organizing Cisco’s Innovation Grand Challenges every year. The Coding Camp culminated with its own Hackathon, which lived up to and even exceeded my expectations for experiencing the competitive yet cooperative spirit of open innovation in action.

Fifteen Teams @ Hackathon

Cisco and our partners pulled together some amazing APIs and platforms for 15 teams – fresh from the Coding Camp – to leverage in the competition.   For example, they used Tropo to trigger collaborative notifications, Spark to enable group communication, Zeus to monitor virtual machine data, relayr to read IoT sensors and data, and Shipped to push apps into the cloud.

Hackathon WinnersIt was so gratifying to see people who had never met before join in teams and roll up their sleeves to innovate together for the first time. Ingenious industrial solutions were hatched and 9,000 Euros worth of prizes were awarded to four teams based on originality of the problem being solved, innovative use of the technologies, quality of the user experience and business potential.  Results can be found here.

Special thanks and recognition should also go to the judges, who had to make some hard but gratifying choices on the fly:

  • Susie Wee – VP and CTO of Networked Experiences, Cisco
  • Vanni Sanvincenti – Architect, NDC, International Air Transport Association (IATA)
  • Mitko Vasilev – Co-founder/CTO, Cisco OpenBerlin
  • Jackson Bond – Co-founder and Chief Products Officer, Relayr
  • Hany Rizk – User Experience and Product Strategy, Locafox

DevNet Zone Primed for ActionDevNet Zone

So once Messe Berlin opened its doors to Cisco Live! on Monday, the DevNet Zone had already been in full swing.  Over the next five days, it was first-come, first-seated to listen and learn from more than 80 presentations at the DevNet Zone, ranging from insights on the latest DevOp tools and successes to the next IoT opportunities and building a DevOps culture in house.

openBerlin Booth and Virtual Reality

Nearby, more than 1,000 customers visited the openBerlin booth – one of about 120 in the exhibit area.openBerlin2openBerlin booth1

There, we showcased the locations and programs of our nine global Innovation Centers on an interactive digital screen. Booth visitors also used their mobile devices or virtual reality goggles to tour the openBerlin Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art working lab embedded with more than 10,000 sensors and all the networking hardware and software needed to co-innovate industrial solutions.

Mingling with Entrepreneurs in Residence

Another high point for me, among many others, was having the opportunity to mingle with Cisco’s Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR), an inspiring group engaged in our six-month startup incubation program supporting early-stage, product-focused entrepreneurs working on the next big thing around the Internet of Things.

These are truly exceptional pioneers from around the world who came here to learn, listen and co-innovate solutions for Smart Cities, Big Data/Analytics, Enterprise Mobility and Security. These innovation rock stars were also here as part of their involvement with ChallengeUp! – an Open Innovation 2.0 program that Cisco co-developed with Intel and Deutsche Telekom.

ChallengeUp! aims to help innovative IoT startups accelerate their go-to-market strategies through joint projects, mentoring, high-value networking and corporate resources. It exemplifies “co-opetition” around Innovation 2.0 by bringing together startups, corporations, customers and partners to build real-world, business value.

These were just some of the many sparks of inspiration and innovation at Cisco Live! in Berlin. The total experience ignited even more momentum in building tomorrow’s IoT solutions today –in an open environment with our customers, partners and ecosystem of innovators.

Next year, we will need a lot more oranges.


Alex Goryachev

Senior Director, Innovation Strategy & Programs

Corporate Strategic Innovation Group