I just returned from Moscow where I had the honor of speaking to more than 3,400 customers and partners attending Cisco Connect Russia and separately addressing 300 eager undergraduates at Kazan Federal University (KFU) in Tatarstan on what we call the Internet of Everything (IoE)

Our studies show that IoE can drive $19 trillion of economic benefit over the next decade, and more than $273 billion in Russia alone. The depth of engineering talent in Russia places them, as a country, with a very strong opportunity to capitalize on this value and quickly.

Chris Dedicoat with President Minnikhnaov & KFU President Gafurov
Chris Dedicoat with President Minnikhnaov & KFU President Gafurov

The Government of Tatarstan under President Rustam Minnikhnaov are true thought leaders in this respect. The President has the desire to make Kazan, the Capital of Tatarstan, the smartest city in Russia and one of the top five smartest cities in the world, and he is moving rapidly to do this. His goal is to create a city platform to enhance the interaction between Government and Citizens and throw open the opportunities to the talent in the city to develop solutions by citizens…for citizens.

Cisco has partnered with President Minnikhnaov, the Mayor of Kazan and Kazan Federal University in recently opening an Innovation Hub at the University to turn this goal into a reality.

I had the great pleasure in kicking off the University’s first Hackathon where after 48 hours of non-stop effort the nine teams involved produced solutions for the city ranging from Smart Lighting to Smart Bicycle alarm systems to Smart Shop queues. It will be solutions like these developed locally, to solve local problems, that have the opportunity to turn into disruptive global innovative forces.

Wim post 2Russia is quickly demonstrating the desire and ability to capitalize on the opportunities the Internet of Everything can bring by equipping students at KFU, and elsewhere, with the competencies and opportunities required to meet the mounting demand for new jobs created in a world where everything will be connected.

Closing the Talent Gap

More than half of companies in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) report challenges in filling high-skill positions, and 57% of employers in Russia stated they have positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates.

At Cisco, we are doing our part to help close this talent gap. Cisco’s Networking Academy IT programs and the drive towards the future with industrial qualifications is one of the ways that Cisco hopes to create the talent for the Internet of Everything, a phenomenon that will be at least five times the scale of the “traditional internet” as we know it today.Wim post 3

Cisco Networking Academy

During the last 17 years, five million students have enrolled in the Cisco Networking Academy with over 9,000 academies available in 170 countries.

In June 2011, Cisco announced long-term initiatives aimed at the development and modernization of IT education in Russia at all levels. By 2015 the number of networking academies in Russia should triple (from 217 in June 2011 to 650), while the number of students should reach 16,000.

And in Barcelona last month, the Academy launched the first global IoE curriculum.

Wim post 4The new curriculum is designed to help close the widening ICT skills gap and inspire a new generation of innovators to take on IoE’s full potential.

With these new IoE courses in place, Networking Academy students, as well as the scholars at Kazan Federal University, now have the chance to gain the skills needed to propel the workforce of the future – and be a fundamental part of the IoE journey.

With new technological advances and its uninterrupted incorporation in our day-to-day lives, it is evident that IoE is already laying down the foundation for a promising future, and last week at Kazan Federal University I witnessed first-hand Russia’s next generation of innovators.


Wim Elfrink

Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief

Globalisation Officer