Cisco is committed to innovation at every level of our business. From our products and customer experiences to the foundations of programmability. We know that innovation often comes from our partners and we work hard to help ignite their opportunities.
The announcement of our 2019 Partner Innovation Challenge winners was a big moment at Partner Summit in November. We were able to showcase the impressive results and how our partners are building intellectual property on top of Cisco as a platform to solve customer challenges. We are putting more emphasis on supporting innovation with our partners. In fact, challenge prize money nearly doubled in 2019, and the number of submissions increased almost four-fold. I’m happy to say that the challenge exceeded our expectations in participation as well as the quality of submissions, and several submissions are already in pilot with customers.
CDW, Wipro India and BayInfoTech took home top honors and all were recognized for their hard work and skill. The three winning entries were inspiring in many ways – from capturing the future possibilities of IoT and the smart office building to helping empower networking teams to help people with disabilities and, finally, to shortening the sales cycle for resale partners.
- CDW’s first-place submission used a wide mix of technologies, from Meraki, xAPI, machine learning and artificial intelligence to Phillips HUE, OpenCV, Amazon Alexa, and AWS Rekognition to create a modern, automated workplace. Imagine walking into a building where a digital assistant welcomes you, issues you a guest badge, notifies the person you are meeting, and turns on the lights in the meeting room. It will even help find EV parking spots! This submission really shows the power of IoT and is something CDW can monetize immediately. Be sure to check out an interview with our 2019 first-place winner CDW!
- Wipro India really tugged at our heart strings with their submission by using DNA Center as a voice-enabled Digital Accessibility System for Future Workplace, using AI technology. It is designed to help employees who may have disabilities to manage a network using conversational sentences.
- We also were very impressed with the platform-as-a-service submission from BayInfoTech, which shortens the sales cycle for resale partners with comprehensive integrated solutions across ACI, Tetration, SD-WAN, AppD and more. It showcases Cisco solutions through rapid production of ready, on-demand POV deployments and has an intuitive interface through a customizable single pane of glass.
I also wanted to give a special mention of the work our partners in APJC accomplished as part of the challenge. Their progress with customer growth has been very impressive and we are all looking forward to seeing what they accomplish in the new year!
As announced on stage at Partner Summit to approximately 4,000 attendees, we will now begin gearing up for our Third Annual Partner Innovation Challenge in 2020. Driving awareness and adoption of Cisco APIs across our global partner community is our focus. It’s open to any Cisco reseller who can develop a solution that showcases creativity in solving customer challenges, while harnessing the power of Cisco open APIs across any part of our portfolio. The 2020 Partner Innovation Challenge will officially open in March 2020, where we will showcase some new ideas and incentives for the challenge.
The longevity and success of this initiative is credited to our excellent partners and internal teams, who work together to continually cultivate Cisco’s commitment to innovation every day, and the success of our customers.
As we look to the next challenge, how we engage our partners will continue to be a focus in how we work together to ignite the spirit of innovation. I’m especially looking forward to what partners will showcase in the 2020 challenge. So let’s get ready for a new year of vision, collaboration and leadership!