Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

IoT and Digitisation at UCL

November 23, 2016

When I joined Cisco in 2014 my attitude was to get my CCIE and be as technical as I can be. Although still on the path towards gaining a strong technical foundation; the benefits of becoming more commercially aware, building my human network and participating in customer engagements are becoming increasingly more pronounced as I progress along my career path.

For the last two years I’ve been working on my public speaking  by providing the opening keynote for  three successful University Challenges, which I help to drive and deliver at Cisco.  This year’s University Challenge event (hosted on Oct 20th 2016) was another resounding success. Our EMEAR HQ was visited by teams of five from 18 universities across the UK to participate in a 24+hr innovation challenge. This challenge was based around leveraging DevNet and Meraki technologies to provide a PoC in software, to satisfy a go to market solution within any of the following market verticals: education, manufacturing, healthcare or retail.

My opening talk was  an icebreaker to let the competitors know how important they are to Cisco’s future and how there has never been a better time to be in tech. Expounding on the market transition we’re in, in the midst of; network programmability, IoT, mobility, analytics and digital transformation – or what we call at Cisco, Digitisation. My keynote must have been well received as one of the students from UCL emailed me after the event inviting me to visit UCL’s Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers department to speak on IoT! Having only a cursory knowledge of IoT didn’t stop me, instead I saw this as a huge opportunity to research a new topic, participate in customer engagement helping me to become a better-rounded IT professional.image014 Although anxious, I called on a few professionals in Cisco that helped me profusely. Plamen Nedeltchev, Dipesh Patel, Rich Gore, Sarah Eccleston, Hema Marshall and Nicholas Edmond were instrumental in assisting me with the research necessary to assimilate all the requisite knowledge. Nicholas Edmond was pivotal in helping me with building my presentation and understanding how IoT serves to facilitate the digital transformation of our industry as we move forward.

After spending quite some time in Webex conferences and building slides, I did some research on the event and found that I had been scheduled to be the headline speaker with the title of the event being ‘Exploring the Internet of things (IoT) with Cisco’. After learning about the importance of standardisation bodies like the IEEE from my degree studies, the magnitude of this opportunity began to dawn on me. It is an absolute honour and privilege to gain the visibility and exposure this opportunity provides.

After arriving to the venue I entered a lecture hall on the 1st floor that had about 40 occupants. A little nervous, it was time to check my slides on the projector system. With all the research and planning I did building my slides, I was alarmed to see that the setup didn’t allow presenter view which provides the notes for the reader/presenter while obscuring them from those watching the main presentation. Due to this slight bump in the road I pulled my laptop out just in case I needed to be prompted on a particular section.image015 Once I started warming into the talk I grew more in confidence and realised that I didn’t even need the copious notes I had prepared. The crowd seemed to fully engage in what I had to say about the importance of IoT and how technology is the key agent of change that allows companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Expounding on Cisco’s Digital Networking Architecture (DNA) and how this can be used as a reference architecture for forward thinking businesses who want to ready their network for IoT and digital transformation. Many different IoT use cases were given to spark the imagination of the crowd, challenging them to think differently. The security implications of IoT were also covered, with an appeal to the crowd regarding the need for the development of a standardised security platform required to secure all IoT devices; both from inside attackers as well as malicious entities on the internet.

After receiving praise and encouragement from those in attendance, it has certainly given me even more of an impetus to continue building this element of my skill-set.

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  1. Great work Nat