During three days in Dubai – what many call the Silicon Oasis — I joined a new and changing world of thinkers and doers. We experienced first-hand the smartest advances in 21st century technology and glimpsed into the future of what’s possible with the Internet of Things (IoT). That future is breathtaking in scope, imagination and opportunity.
And it was evident all around that this future is already upon us.
The occasion, of course, was the IoT World Forum (IoTWF), hosted for the third year in a row by Cisco, and made so successful by the commitment of our industry colleagues, our customers, partners, ecosystem of entrepreneurs and local officials.
In Dubai, site of the 2020 World Expo, we saw how IoT momentum is accelerating exponentially. From the Startup Showcase . . . to case studies by industry blue chips in manufacturing, oil and gas, healthcare, sustainable buildings . . . 30 breakout sessions on everything from security to standards . . . to the eye-opening walking tours of Dubai’s Smart City services in lighting, parking and waste management made possible by a horizontal digital platform.
For me, the defining moment of the IoTWF, any year, is always the selection of the ultimate winners of our annual Innovation Grand Challenge. These are the ingenious few who are leveraging the full power of IoT to help all of us take its potential for social and economic value to the next level. They are showing us glimpses of the future they will most certainly help to shape.
As the organizer of the Innovation Grand Challenge, I know it’s been a long but exciting journey for the three winners. They have “made the cut” in successive rounds since June competing against more than 3,000 entries from more than 100 countries.
Six finalists from Canada, Finland, Germany and the United States to experience IoTWF while also delivering Shark Tank-like pitches and demos before a live audience and finalist judges – themselves a “who’s who” of IoT industry leadership. Before unveiling the winner’s names, I also want to acknowledge the phenomenal job done by our eminent judges:
- Mohammad Albataineh, Worldwide Sales, Internet of Things, IBM Dubai
- Sujeet Chand, SVP and CTO, Rockwell Automation
- Georg Kopetz, Executive Board Member, TTTech Comptertechnik AG
- Maciej Kranz, VP, Corporate Strategic Innovation Group, Cisco
- Abhi Kunte’, Director, Product Management, Predix/GE Digital
- Whitney Rockley, Co-founder and Managing Partner, McRock Capital
- Bola Rotibi, Creative Intellect Consulting
- Faiyaz Shahpurwala, SVP Cloud Services/Industry Solutions, Cisco
- Torsten Wolf, EMEA Service Head, IoT/UX/Mobile, SAP
After the votes were tallied, the three standouts were announced and recognized on the main stage to much fanfare by our own Chris White, SVP, Global IoT/IoE Solution Sales :
- Grand Prize Winner ($150,000) – CyberFlow Analytics, San Diego (California), 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 leverages cloud-based “deep learning,” connected vision analytics and applications to solve complex problems on the plant floor of high-speed manufacturing operations.
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. The true value of this total prize package to jumpstart their innovations was explained in my last blog about the six finalists.
It is such an honor and a privilege to be part of this amazing journey. I delight in seeing how Cisco’s commitments to the global startup community help to ignite innovation, and also how it helps us gain access to co-development opportunities that can create new markets and disrupt traditional ones. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Stay tuned as we report more exciting progress from the winners in the months ahead and the launch of the 2016 Innovation Grand Challenge. With such innovation and exponential growth, it will be exhilarating to discover the next wave of IoT solutions that help make life better for the new world around us.