New World of Education Driven by Internet of Everything

Last week at Cisco’s Customer Briefing Center in New York City, I had the pleasure of announcing to international media the proliferation of our Global STEM Alliance that brings world-class education to students of all ages most anywhere. We are now experiencing a multiplier effect with this vital program driven by the Internet of Everything (IoE) to fulfill the unmet needs of highly skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

This week’s developments dramatically build on the initial Global STEM Alliance unveiled last month at the Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum in Barcelona, Spain, by its inaugural partners, The New York Academy of Sciences (the Academy), Malaysia, the city of Barcelona and Cisco.

This week, at Cisco’s two-day IoE Transforming Industries event, we announced that the State University of New York (SUNY) and the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, also recently joined this next-generation educational platform.  SUNY is the largest state university system in the United States with 64 campuses and enrollment of nearly 500,000 students.

Wim photo

STEM Alliance Now Links four Continents

The Global STEM Alliance now links four continents via Cisco’s state-of-the-art video and collaboration platform. We are creating a seamless integration of technology and content, delivering successful programs to locations worldwide through in-person and online platforms.

With virtual learning experiences, students not only can learn from the best and brightest, but they can also meet other students locally and abroad and travel on virtual field trips while teachers gain easier access to one another and their students. My own two teen-age sons are often interacting on their mobile devices with many facets of virtual education, and so I can see firsthand the real-world benefits of this revolutionary approach.

All of us committed to the STEM Alliance are taking advantage of connecting the unconnected through the Internet of Everything, which promises an addressable market valued at $14.4 trillion over the next decade. With hyper collaboration from our strategic and channel partners, we can give the students of today the tools to succeed in the future.

It’s personally and professionally gratifying to see the Global STEM Alliance expand so rapidly with such influential partners.  Joining me at the press conference was Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor of Education, SUNY, who said, “In order to meet increasing demand globally for a more technically savvy, highly skilled workforce, it is critical that we use today’s top technology and innovative thinking in our classrooms, from the earliest stages of education through college.”

We were also joined by Ellis Rubenstein, President and CEO of NYAS, and Esteban Bullrich, Minister of Education in Buenos Aires. Academics based in Canada also participated in the media event through Cisco TelePresence, demonstrating the technology behind this program.

Huge Talent Gap Looms in Information and Technology Sector

I cannot overstate the almost desperate need for this cutting-edge approach to educate students in the STEM field. There is an unmet demand for high-skill workers who will be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and scientists fueling the next generation of IoT innovations. For example,

  • During the next decade there will be two million unfilled ICT-related jobs globally, with a projected talent gap of 8.2 percent by 2022.
  • The number of technical graduates will need to increase by some 222,000 more each year from now until 2022 to fill the talent gap.
  • In the United States alone, it is estimated that by 2018 some 90 percent of occupations will be middle- or high-skill, with the majority of these jobs requiring an education in STEM fields.

There are many data points about these disturbing trends. However, the bottom line is that we need to attract more students to STEM fields in order to find innovative ways that enhance our overall quality of life, whether it’s around urbanization, healthcare, supply chain, energy or even personal connections.

Underpinned by Cisco’s own technology breakthroughs, the IoE-driven Global STEM Alliance is making great strides to overcome distance and financial barriers, expand curriculum options, maximize scarce resources, increase student engagement, improve outcomes and deliver the type of education required for the 21st century global citizen.


Wim Elfrink

Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief

Globalisation Officer