Over Cisco’s holiday shutdown, I took the opportunity to step away from my laptop (not an easy task!) and reflect on 2020 – both the highs and the lows, the successes and the challenges. No doubt it was a monumental year for all of us. And as I reflected, I kept thinking about resiliency. No matter the challenge or situation at hand during 2020 – my team, my partner, and our clients all demonstrated a great amount resilience and spirit.

To me, resilience doesn’t simply mean recovering from a difficult situation; it also means exhibiting strength and exercising courage to tackle challenges head-on. Resilience isn’t easy, but it’s a vital part of how we grow, evolve, and achieve greatness.

Innovate with purpose

One way we exhibited resilience in 2020 was by challenging our NTT and Cisco employees to compete in a global Hackfest. We challenged them to come together with one sole purpose: to connect and create innovative solutions that solve the world’s toughest problems and contribute to a more sustainable future. The Hackfest was designed to uncover fresh ideas, stimulate creativity, and develop technical skills.

The Hackfest was held virtually over 48 hours with teams participating from across the globe. And all of the submitted ideas were tied to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are focused on achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. Employees assembled into teams and submitted their ideas into one of two categories: a Solution category (proof of concept required) and an Ideas category (ideas only, no proof of concept required). The Hackfest successfully gave our employees an avenue to step outside of their daily roles and use their expertise for a greater good.

A drumroll, please

I’m proud of all of the teams who participated – they all resiliently raised their hands to address some of the world’s greatest challenges, during a year that challenged us all. And I’m even more delighted to share the winning ideas.

  • Solution category winner: The ‘All Hands’ team from Brazil created a real-time virtual assistant that eliminates communication barriers between teachers and hearing-impaired students, ensuring equal access to effective learning. This inclusive solution provides simultaneous contextual translation from speech to sign language using Cisco WebEx and a plug in – capturing a speaker’s voice, in any language and translating to both text and sign language.
  • Ideas category winner: The ‘Intelligent Forests’ team, comprised of global team members, proposed a solution using a network of Cisco wireless sensors, camera traps, as well as bioacoustics technology and drones, AI, machine learning and IOT to prevent deforestation and wildfires.

Runner-up teams tackled a wide range of issues, including forest restoration, pollution detection and monitoring, and smart farming for food sufficiency.

Together we use technology for good

Our partnership with NTT is built on a common core tenet of purpose. We share a deep history of collaboration, innovation, and a shared focus on sustainable development. Together, we use innovative technology to solve challenges for our global clients and the communities they live in. And despite challenging times, we are resilient and determined to use technology to make a difference. Thank you to everyone who participated and made the Hackfest a great success!

Join us in going #FurtherTogether — learn more

about the NTT and Cisco partnership



Chris Panzeca

Senior Director

Global Strategic Partner Sales