Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Building on Ideas from the next generation

May 12, 2016

In March we were privileged to hold the finals of the Cisco Little BIG Awards, a school age competition where we asked the young people to re-imagine a new connected world either at home or at school. The ideas were amazing. See here 

I then travelled to an Internet of Things conference held in Cambridge with a number of thought leaders, start-ups and industrial partners. My talk was entitled “ What problems will a new generation of Consumers, Makers and Doers solve with IoT?”. It was fun to watch the audience’s reaction to hearing some of the ideas the young people had come up with. But it was what happened next, which was awesome.

Since that presentation a number of companies have asked to be connected to the schools with the ideas. This is a brilliant development as it helps the school children engage more with businesses in the UK but also get to realise how close their ideas are to being a reality.

Let me share two specific examples:-

  • A contact from Cambridge Smart Solutions was working with a start-up company focussing on the golfing sector who were interested in talking to the winning school who had come up with the idea of an IOT insole for sports shoes.
  • Another company, Radix Traffic, had developed a magnetometer vehicle detector that is used for traffic and access control applications around the UK. With over 500 such systems in operation in the UK they were very interested in connecting with one of the schools that had ideas around an IOT-enabled Cat’s eye.

This contact with business is a great addition to the program, which the team plan to build into next years Little Big Awards.

But hot off the press we are about to celebrate, as the Little BIG Awards have been recognised as a finalist in the “Best Education Project” category for the National CSR Awards. Fantastic recognition as the underlying purpose of the Cisco Little BIG Awards is to close the engineering and digital skills gaps within the United Kingdom to ensure it maintains its competitive edge, continues to foster innovation, and ultimately drives economic growth. The Little BIG Awards has provided a powerful link between schools and business by providing students with a valuable insight into what skills businesses are looking for and more importantly how those skills are used in the real world!

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