Once again, we’re preparing for the exciting Cisco British Innovation Gateway (BIG) awards. Here’s some guidance about the on-going competition – to stimulate some thoughts around this year’s opportunity to recognise Britain’s entrepreneurs.

It’s amazing when I think back to when the BIG awards where first discussed, as apart of our legacy around Cisco’s involvement in the London 2012 Olympics. We are now into our second year, and trying to be as balanced as I can be, it has been a very beneficial journey for all concerned.

It has been incredible to see the depth and breadth of talent and ideas that exist within the UK. I was very encouraged to witness the top organizations and individuals that made it through to the final selection — in the last event to be held at the Cisco House, overlooking the Olympic Park in London.

It was a truly memorable evening, for me and all the 6 finalists, with the eventual winner being announced as Jenny Griffiths of Snap Fashion.Over the last year it has been so pleasing to see Jenny and her business venture develop and grow, along with the other finalists from that warm night, while gaining the full advantage from the support offered by Cisco and our BIG partners.

Now the process is starting all over again, and we recently held the launch event in the fantastic Gherkin, with its stunning views – looking out over the London skyline.

Similar to last year, we have 4 categories, Internet of Everything, Big Data, Mobility and Collaboration.

I have summarized each of the topics to provide additional context.

Internet of Everything

That is a lot of things… but what does it actually mean. Well, imagine a world where billions of objects have sensors to detect, measure, and assess their status, all interconnected over public or private IP networks. This world of interconnected objects will have its data regularly collected, analyzed and used to initiate action, providing a wealth of intelligence for planning, management, policy and decision-making.

Key information will be pushed out from machines to other machines, to individuals, and to public and private organizations, allowing them to take action appropriately. This is the Internet of Everything (IoE), connection people, process, data and things.

It is no overstatement to say that the IoE promises to transform our lives and the world around us. IoE is poised to grow exponentially, bringing significant benefits for businesses, industries, nations, regions and cities alike, with its transformational potential.

Learn more about Internet of Everything

Big Data

I keep hearing about big data, it seems to be one of the new buzz words in technology now, however for me basically comes down to a data sets whose size is outside the capability of commonly used software to capture, manage and process the data within an adequate/usable elapsed time.

Access to real-time or near-real-time information and analytics, big data is about the ability to analyze data rapidly leading to smarter decisions, predictive as well as “after the fact” analysis and actionable analytics and recommendations based on best business practices.

In a way this is closely linked to the Internet of Everything. What we are tying to uncover and support are organizations that are able to turn all this information and data into actions an organization can then carry out.

Learn more about Big Data


The world of collaboration is really changing. I often tell organisations and people that if they are looking for what the future of collaboration will look like in the workplace, to look to the students at schools and universities.

These are the digital natives that are thinking nothing of using social media or video to “collaborate” with friends and family. The challenge is to bring that power and value into the professional world.

Learn more about Collaboration


Having recently come back from a holiday where there was little to no wi-fi coverage, it is amazing how I and my family get used to “checking something on the internet…” We just expect to have that always on connection.

To be fair, it’s also very nice to be able to get away from work and spend quality time with friends and family, but when it isn’t there, that is when you realize how dependent you have become.

Over the next three years more than 1.3 billion new networked mobile devices have been connected to networks globally, these will be devices such as netbook PCs, smartphones, notebooks, tablets, and other devices. Organizations whether large or small, public or private, are today facing an increasingly growing mobile world.

As a result, employees or citizens are accessing more information through these mobile devices, enabling them to maintain their productivity or citizens to access services no matter when or where they are. This is a real opportunity for us to capture.

Learn more about Mobility

For more details about this ongoing Cisco initiative, please visit the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) website.


Ian Foddering

Chief Technology Officer and Technical Director Cisco UK & Ireland

Systems Engineering