I am thrilled to be the first to announce our 15 semi-finalists in Cisco’s second annual Innovation Grand Challenge. Culled from more than 3,000 entries in over 100 countries since June, I can sum up the semi-finalists’ innovations in one word: Disruptors.

Innovation signI want to congratulate all the semi-finalists for making it this far. It gives me tremendous pleasure to identify them below. I wish all of these bold pioneers much success in the weeks ahead as we begin the countdown to the three winners in early December at the IoT World Forum in Dubai.

Will One Be the Next Uber?

Will one of the semi-finalists emerge as the next Uber, Airbnb or Pandora that disrupts and transforms whole markets with unforeseen business models? By looking over these entries, which leverage the possibilities of the Internet of Things (IoT), I can easily imagine this distinct possibility.

These IoT trailblazers also validate my view that today’s daring new developments can come from anywhere in the world. These 15 are dispersed throughout North and South America as well as Europe, including Argentina, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Another observation is the power and potential of converging technologies around IoT have captured the attention and imagination of the entrepreneurial community worldwide, reflecting the growing trend of globalization and diversity of technical talent.

Global inclusion and diversity are igniting innovation. Our semi-finalists are ingeniously connecting everything from sensors, to software and analytics, leveraging Fog and Cloud Computing and the network as a platform. And they’re focusing on manufacturing, transportation, smart cities, the environment, cyber security and more to radically disrupt all kinds of markets with better business outcomes and public benefits.

IoT Innovation Examples

Here are just a few semi-finalist examples that captured my imagination.

One startup says its cloud-based streaming intelligence and anomalytics platform is disruptively cheaper, simpler and more comprehensive in detecting abnormalities, whether it’s malware or operations. Another says it will “overthrow” established computer vision systems with its higher performance version of vision sensors inspired by the human eye.

Cloud apps imageOne semi-finalist targets austere environments with no or overloaded network infrastructure and proposes a distributed platform based on mobile devices to provide cloud-like services such as dynamic workflows, secure databases, real-time mapping and 3D-modeling . Still another says its solution cuts air pollution in cities “250 times more efficiently” than any natural solution with lab-cultured moss enabled by IoT technology.

I cite these entries as representative of all the semi-finalists and in no way to foreshadow who will make it to the finalist round. That will be up to the collective evaluations of our judges. All 15 semi-finalists will be evaluated through the end of October and the six finalists will be announced on Nov. 23.

All six finalists will make their Shark Tank-like pitches at the IoT World Forum before the finalist judges, and three will walk away with $250,000 in awards and invaluable development and go-to-market support to turbo charge their ventures.

Again, congratulations to the Cisco Innovation Grand Challenge Semi-Finalists:

Chronocam Paris, France
CONNECTHINGS Barcelona, Spain
CyberFlow Analytics San Diego (California), United States
CyberLighting, Ltd. Espoo, Finland
Eigen Innovations, Inc. Fredericton, Canada
Green City Solutions Dresden, Germany
Humanitas Montreal, Canada
Igor Johnston (Iowa),United States
Inston, Inc. Los Angeles (California), United States
Jolt Provo (Utah), United States
Less Industries Buenos Aires, Argentina
Notion Denver (Colorado), United States
Novelti Madrid, Spain
Nwave Technologies London, United Kingdom
Simularity Point Richmond (California), United States


Alex Goryachev

Senior Director, Innovation Strategy & Programs

Corporate Strategic Innovation Group