News Release

Cisco Announces Winners of IoT Innovation and Security Grand Challenges; Launches Worldwide IoT Challenge for Young Women

Cisco Awards More than $550K in Cash Prizes in Addition to Mentoring and Training to University, Startup and Entrepreneur Teams with Big IoT Ideas
Oct 15, 2014

Chicago, IoT World Forum 2014, October 15, 2014 – Today during a keynote address at the Internet of Things World Forum in Chicago, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior announced the winners of three global Internet of Things (IoT) Grand Challenges aimed at recognizing, promoting and accelerating the adoption of breakthrough technologies and products that contribute to the growth and evolution of the IoT. Cisco today also announced that in concert with a global network of companies in the IoT space, local organizations and non-profits dedicated to women in STEM, it is launching a worldwide Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) Young Women's Innovation Grand Challenge.

Earlier this year, Cisco launched two separate global IoT Grand Challenges in the areas of Security and Innovation. IoT is not a one-company solution alone, it is an industry banding together. Through the Grand Challenges, Cisco invited and encouraged startups, entrepreneurs and universities to submit their best solution ideas for the Internet of Things.

In addition to cash prizes of more than $550,000 for the Innovation and Security Grand Challenges, Cisco intends to provide winners with mentoring, training and access to business expertise from Cisco and other supporting organizations. They will be able to develop, test and pilot new technologies, plus have the opportunity for potential investment and partnering opportunities in the future. Entrants and winners retain the IP for any and all ideas submitted.

"The Internet of Things is real and happening today. This week at the IoT World Forum, we've seen evidence of broad deployments and worldwide adoption of IoT across organizations of many sizes and across many industries," said Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer of Cisco. "The breakthrough technologies demonstrated by our IoT Grand Challenge finalists are further proof that IoT is already changing the way we live, work, play, and learn. The IoT Grand Challenges represent Cisco's ongoing commitment to invest in and incubate the next big innovations."

Cisco partners with startups and universities through a network of Cisco® IoE Innovation Centers around the world. Through the three challenges and over 1000 entries, Cisco witnessed the diverse set of global submissions from over 71 countries from areas that spanned the connected home to cognitive computing, connected manufacturing and advanced communications systems. Judges evaluated the ideas based on market opportunity, level of disruption, uniqueness, and the management team's ability to succeed. Cisco has a unique and rich history of supporting innovation and a diverse range of entrepreneurial ideas that change the way the world lives, works, plays and learns.

IoT Innovation Grand Challenge

  • Cisco hosted a crowdsourced community for its IoT Innovation Grand Challenge and received more than 800 entries from 71 countries for a chance to win $250,000 in prizes. Six finalists were invited to participate in a live judging event at the IoT World Forum this week in Chicago and the following three teams were selected as winners, with first place going to Relayr, second place going to; and third place going to Toymail:
    • 1st place – $150,000
      • Relayr (Berlin, Germany) is providing simple and inexpensive tools that will accelerate developers' ability to take advantage of IoT and start programming for the physical world around us.
    • 2nd place – $75,000
      • (Dublin, California) is connecting mobile devices to machinery and enabling developers to create mobile-enabled industrial applications.
    • 3rd place – $25,000
      • Toymail (Gross Points, Michigan) is changing how the world plays by bringing IoT to toys and fostering communication between children and their families. 

Cisco IoT Security Grand Challenge

  • We're now experiencing a new wave of technology that's being defined by connected devices everywhere. It's all a part of the Internet of Things. These connected devices are impacting our lives on a daily basis, changing everything from the way we provide healthcare to heating our homes to running our manufacturing facilities and other critical infrastructure. Today, there are 10 billion connected devices, but that number is expected to grow exponentially – exceeding 50 billion sensors, objects, and other connected "things" by the year 2020.
  • In today's IoT world, security needs to be top of mind as the number and type of attacks will continue to increase, as will the amount of data, creating a daunting challenge for companies and those responsible to defend the infrastructure.  Cybersecurity models need to radically change to provide the right level of protection for this new, connected world as the very foundation of many of our cybersecurity assumptions is being challenged.
  • The Cisco IoT Security Grand Challenge fielded more than 100 online submissions from 33 countries, ultimately awarding $300,000 to four winners (each team received $75,000 in addition to exhibition space at IoT World Forum):
    • Excalibur is an award winning startup focusing on redefining authentication, from creating the first authentication product that is compatible with the current password-based systems and yet seamless & secure at the same time. The Poprad, Slovakia based company's solution is focused on enabling future authentication infrastructure for the IoT era where authentication will be omnipresent and passwords will no longer exist.
    • The New York City, NY and Houston, Texas-based team of Cornell Tech and Rice University are working together to create physical proof-of-presence protocols for transient connections in the IoT and operating in backwards-compatible mode with legacy standards.
    • The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Carnegie Mellon University team is creating a solution to control IoT privacy risks and trade-offs with Fog Mediation.
    • Aircloak and the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, is developing a technology and service that provides highly accurate aggregate analytics over use data while strongly protecting user privacy.

IoT Innovation Grand Challenge for Greater China

  • The winning teams were:
    • Mash5 is creating an IoE mobile application development and operation cloud platform to build and manage their IoE ecosystems.
    • Zillionsource is creating a cloud solution for the logistics and transportation industry that would provide the shipper with real-time tracking and environment related information related to the shipping of their goods.

Cisco IoTWF Young Women's Innovation Grand Challenge 

  • The IoTWF Young Women's Innovation Grand Challenge is a global open innovation competition.  The IoTWF Steering Committee intends to collaborate on this initiative with local organizations with support from a global network of companies in the IoT space, non-profits dedicated to women in STEM and Cisco IoE Innovation Centers.
  • Entrants will be asked to submit original ideas based on new opportunities and technologies that better people's lives or increase efficiencies in the area of education, healthcare, manufacturing, energy, retail, transportation, or smart cities.
  • The IoTWF Young Women's Challenge will run in two phases from November 15th 2014 through early 2015.  


"Currently, only 18% of the computer and information sciences undergraduate degrees are being awarded to women and fewer are staying in those careers. Cisco's efforts to engage young women and bring other technology organizations in to help increase these numbers is great." - Karen Horting, Society of Women Engineers

About the Internet of Things World Forum

The Internet of Things World Forum is an exclusive event created to unite global leaders for a collaborative industry discussion that will accelerate the impact of the Internet of Things on the global economy, society and the environment. In 2014, this exclusive, invitation-only event is once again bringing together business and global thought leaders from across industries, technologies, and geographies that are passionate about igniting innovation and accelerating the advancement of the Internet of Things for their organizations and society as a whole.

At the inaugural Internet of Things World Forum which took place October 29-31, 2013 in Barcelona, more than 800 attendees and 16 partner companies brought together the best and brightest thinkers, doers, and innovators from business, government, and academia, making it the largest Internet of Things conference in the industry.

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Tags/keywords: Cisco, Internet of Things, IoT, IoE, Internet of Everything, Padmasree Warrior, Innovation, Security, China, Chicago, Internet of Things World Forum, STEM, women

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