Form a team of three to five students and complete the form below to register your interest. Once completed, we will be in touch with the full entry instructions detailing what to include in your project plan and how to submit it.

  • Final date: 11 Feb 2016
  • Location:Bedfont Lakes, UK
  • Duration:Full Day
  • Attendance:In Person
  • Fee:No Charge
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Do you have a brilliant idea to change the world with the Internet of Everything?

Enter the competition for the chance to win a trip of a lifetime to our headquarters in California and be part of an inspiring journey!

About the Cisco Switch-Up Challenge

We are launching the competition this year in the UK and in Poland.

The next wave of technological innovation will come from the connection of people, process, data, and things to the internet: the Internet of Everything. Cisco wants to stimulate innovation and give a chance for university students to showcase their talent.

We are looking for teams of three to five students to submit their innovative ideas and plans for how to use the Internet of Everything to solve environmental or social issues.

Why enter?

Cisco is offering you the fantastic opportunity to participate in this exciting challenge that will give you an insight into the endless possibilities that the Internet of Everything brings to our world. Here are some reasons to enter:

  • a once in a lifetime winning prize: a trip to our headquarters!
  • raise your profile and employability; you will demonstrate that you have the skills employers are after, such as creativity, drive, teamwork, commercial awareness
  • a great networking opportunity with experts on the Internet of Everything
  • a chance to gain in-depth knowledge about our graduate opportunities
  • the possibility you’ll be fast tracked through our graduate and intern selection process
  • an opportunity to bring your idea to realisation – winners will be offered a place in a start-up final competition

Who can enter?

We welcome applications from all undergraduates and masters students, provided that all team members are currently enrolled at the same university. You need to be studying at a UK university to enter the UK competition, and at a Polish university to enter the Polish competition.

We would like to encourage teams to have a variety of backgrounds and skills if possible. We recommend including at least one member with some technical knowledge.

Judging criteria

The entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • the innovative nature of the project
  • its environmental or social impact
  • the feasibility and economic viability of the project

The final

Teams will be asked to present their idea and project plan to a panel of judges.

The winning team will be announced at the end of the day.

The prizes

The winning team will be offered a unique trip to our headquarters in San José, California!

The UK and Polish winners will also have the opportunity to attend a start-up competition final in France.

If you would like to learn more please check:



Competition phases

Come and meet us on campus, we will be at the following events:



University College London


IT and Technology Career Fair

University College London


Patron Club Partnership

Imperial College London


Engineering Careers Fairs

Imperial College London


IT, Technology and Careers

Imperial College London


Career and Employability

University of Kent


Business Graduate Schemes and Internships

University of Cambridge


Engineering, Science and Technology

University of Cambridge


Science, Engineering and Technology Fair

University of Oxford

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How to enter?

Form a team of three to five students and complete the form below to register your interest. Once completed, we will be in touch with the full entry instructions detailing what to include in your project plan and how to submit it.

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1. How many of us can be in a team?
You can form a team of three to five students in total.

2. I am a first year university student; can I still enter the competition?
Yes the competition is open to all year groups.

3. I have recently graduated; can I compete?
Unfortunately, the competition is only open to students who are currently enrolled to study for a degree during the year 2015/16.

4. Do I need a degree in Computer Science or Engineering to compete?
No, this competition is open to all degree disciplines and we recommend forming a team with mixed degree backgrounds to bring different perspectives to the project.

5. Can I form a team with students from a different university?
No, all team members need to be enrolled at the same university.

6. I am studying at a university outside the UK; can I enter the UK competition?
No, unfortunately you need to be enrolled at a UK university to enter the UK competition.

7. Is our project protected? What about intellectual property?
Yes, we guarantee that your project is your own and your idea will not be used for Cisco’s purposes. You can safely submit your project plan.

8. In which format can we submit our project plan?
You have the choice between submitting a five-minute video or a two-page Word document; it is entirely up to you.

9. How do we submit the project plan?
After you register your team, we will email the team captain full instructions on how to submit your entry.

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About the IoE

Here's To Humanity

About the Internet of Everything


The world is moving beyond standalone devices into a new era where everything is connected. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is the interconnection of any electronic computing devices with the existing Internet infrastructure. IoE brings together people, process, data, and things. Information extracted from these networked connections creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and a huge economic opportunity. The IoE will drive product innovations such as smart TVs, connected cars, wearables, mobile health, etc. It will create a consumption model around ‘Everything as a service’- and it will drive new industry solutions in nearly every sector.

Find out more:

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Impact Story: Social Innovation in France

A smart stick puts the Internet of Everything in service to the blind

As cities build sensors and data systems into infrastructure, a team of innovative engineering students realized that a blind person’s white stick could become a smart stick. With mentoring and support from Cisco, they developed a prototype device to transform the urban experience for people without sight.

When devices, data, and people connect

The next wave of technological innovation will come from the connection of people, process, data, and things to the Internet: the Internet of Everything. For students today, the opportunities and potential for innovation are limitless and daunting. How to create something truly new and innovative?

A group of Cisco France employees involved in Corporate Social Responsibility hoped to stimulate innovation in France and support the GenY entrepreneurial spirit through a competitive contest and employee mentorship. A team led by Guillaume Desveaux and coordinated by Natacha Comar launched Le Défi Cisco, a challenge to apply technology to social and environmental issues.

Students in an entrepreneurship class at University of Lorraine in Nancy, France were stumped when their professor told them about Le Défi Cisco. No one had an idea, until Lucie d’Alguerre thought of her uncle, who is blind. She imagined a fully connected city that could transmit information to the white cane many blind and visually impaired people carry. Her professor connected her with 4 other Cisco Networking Academy students to develop a pitch for the contest.

A formidable team of engineers

Thirty teams competed in the first round of Le Défi Cisco. On Team Handisco, Florian Esteves and Mathieu Chevalier took the lead in developing the technology. Lucie used her connections to build partner relationships with the City of Nancy and Valentin Haüy, an association for the blind. Jonathan Donnard managed communications with Cisco, while Nicolas Frizzarin took responsibility for the financials and the business plan.

“Our idea is to really integrate all current technologies inside one single cane,” said Mathieu. “That’s where the innovation lies, to really allow blind people to move more independently but especially more safely within our cities.”

One of 6 teams to advance to the final round, Team Handisco met weekly with their technology and business development mentors from Cisco to develop their social innovation. Remi Philippe, a Cisco solution architect involved with the startup community in Paris, guided the team as a technology mentor, and Remi Sedilot, a Cisco sales manager, advised them in business plan development. They both were impressed by how well the team worked together.

“They’re engineers. They got excited about connecting the city with 5000 access points,” explained Remi Philippe. “We pushed them to define investment, timelines, and look at potential competitors like Google and JCDecaux who are looking into connecting cities. A startup has limited resources. No other company is focusing on the white stick, so they could get traction and solve a true problem using existing infrastructure.”

A true social innovation

The team refined their pitch and prototype. A traditional white stick uses physical contact to convey information: It only “sees” what it can touch. The Handisco stick uses proximity captors with ultrasonic waves like those in a car bumper that emit a sound when backing up. The waves sense a wider spectrum of area and convey the information to the user through vibration. GPS technology provides local guidance, prioritized for real time conditions and a sightless traveler.

“I’ve seen 50 or 60 startup pitches, and no one did anything like this,” said Remi Philippe. “It’s the best example I’ve seen of the Internet of Everything. It’s a dumb device that becomes smart when it connects to all the other data and devices around it to make a real difference for the user.”

Cities have begun to include tagging systems as part of the municipal infrastructure, and making the data available in an open system. The smart stick gathers data from traffic lights, bus locations, road work sites, cross walks, and even weather conditions to provide real-time navigation. Tagged sensors at shops convey what the shop sells, where the entrance is, and business hours, making it easier for a blind person to discover a business district. They plan to include a security alert system to connect the stick owner to police, in case of emergency.

In the final round of Le Défi Cisco, the Handisco team received the top honor and a €70,000 award. “During the presentation to the judges, everyone said this is really innovative because the white stick has remained unchanged in the last 20 years, despite a period of profound change in society due to the Internet,” recalled Remi Sedilot.

From student to startup

What began as a class project has become an innovative startup enterprise. The 5 students barely knew each other and now they are business partners. With the prize money from Le Défi, they founded Handisco and began to pitch the company to investors. The team has developed a sustainable distribution and pricing model to move into other markets such as the elderly. In June 2014, the group received the Pepite Award, a National Prize for Innovation from the French Ministry of Education, and were honored to meet with French President François Hollande.

Remi Sedilot believes they won the contest and will continue to succeed because they are solving a real problem with a true innovation that builds on existing infrastructure. “They were very precise and consistent about what they would like to do,” he said. “They are proposing to help blind people gain autonomy and benefit from services created for other purposes.”

See the team in action:

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To enter, students should form a team of three to five people (the “Team”). The students must be the ones who complete all aspects of their entry and it must be original. Multiple Teams from one university can submit an entry, but:

• a Team may only submit one entry

• a student may not be involved in more than one Team

• all Team members must be university students

• Cisco and their partner GTI Recruiting Solutions reserves the right to exercise its discretion to select the teams

• by entering the competition the Teams confirm that they will be available to attend the final. For the avoidance of doubt, Teams from UK universities will be asked to attend the final in the UK only.

• Cisco retains the right to disqualify a Team, and select another Team if any of its members is unable to attend the final.

Responsibility cannot be accepted for lost, delayed or damaged entries. Proof of posting is not proof of receipt. Any entry that is not received by Cisco on or before the end of the Competition Period will be excluded from the competition.

Incomplete, illegible or altered entries and any not in accordance with the entry instructions or terms and conditions are invalid and such entry will be excluded from the competition.

Entries will not be returned. Title to and all Intellectual Property in the entry will remain with the participants but Cisco may publish, film, photograph, record reproduce or copy entries and presentations in any medium to promote the competition and / or other initiatives. Please ensure you keep a copy of your entry for yourself for your personal reference.

The Teams will be chosen at the discretion of the judging panel. The judging panel’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

The winning Team will be winning a trip to Cisco’s headquarters in San José, California. Further details will be communicated directly to the selected team.

Spark Your Future with Cisco

Important – please note!

Please read the terms and entry requirements carefully as Cisco will only consider submissions and presentations which conform to these rules.

By entering this competition, all Teams and Team members agree to accept and be bound by these terms and conditions.

All entrants must be university students. Entries must not be in breach of any third party right and must be the entering Team’s undisputed work.

Entrants must acquire the written consent of any relevant rights owner in respect of their entries. The winning Team will be required to co-operate fully with Cisco in connection with any promotion or publicity of the competition or future competitions.

Events may occur that render the occurrence of any part of the competition impossible due to reasons beyond the control of Cisco and Cisco may, at its absolute discretion, vary, amend, suspend or withdraw the competition with or without notice.

Cisco reserves the right to exclude a Team in the event that any Team or its Team members bring the competition or any element of it or Cisco or any other party connected with the competition into disrepute.

These Terms and Conditions are subject to the Laws of England and Wales and to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts for the purposes of Teams from UK universities. For the avoidance of doubt, these Terms and Conditions are subject to the Laws of Poland for the purposes of Teams from Polish universities.

Increasing employability is one of the aims of the competition and by entering this competition you consent to allow Cisco to contact you in relation to any employment opportunities they deem appropriate.