Switch Up Challenge

  • Final Date:9 February 2017 
  • Location:United Kingdom
  • Duration:Full Day
  • Attendance:In Person
  • Fee:No Charge
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Winners announced for the 2017 Switch Up Challenge!

‘The Internet of Things, the concept of embedding physical objects (tools, vehicles, buildings etc.) with technology and connecting them to the internet, is swiftly becoming an intrinsic facet of our modern world. Examples range from a toothbrush that can tell your smartphone how well you’re brushing your teeth, to sensors within aircraft engines that monitor data and faults and share them in real-time.

It is this growing ubiquity of the Internet of Things that led six teams of undergraduates to Cisco’s UK headquarters on the 9 February, ready to compete in the grand final of the Switch-Up Challenge.

Cisco, pioneers of networking technology for over 30 years, launched the Switch-Up Challenge in partnership with TARGETrecruit in September 2015. The competition, aimed at UK university students, tasks them with devising an innovative mechanism that can tackle a social or environmental issue by using the Internet of Things. Teams of three to five students from across the UK were then invited to submit a project plan for their device, for the chance to win a place at the grand final and have their idea reviewed before a panel of judges. The prize for the winning team is a week-long trip to Cisco’s global headquarters in San Jose, California.

The overall winner of the competition was Hard Air – five students from Queen Mary University of London, all studying for bachelors degrees in computer science. They impressed the jury with their project, ‘Spyne’. Spyne is a revolutionary posture tracker that comprises of a thin, embedded, ‘T’-shaped strip designed to monitor the wearer’s posture, and an app on their phone. It aligns with the user’s spine and across their shoulders to track unhealthy bends in the back and rolling of the shoulders.

2017 Winners

It pairs with the phone via Bluetooth to sends the data to the app, which alerts the user after prolonged periods of bad posture. It also creates real-time renderings of the spinal shape and allows for posture ‘review’ – providing graphical illustrations of users’ posture compared to the recommended shape over time.

The runner-up was the team SafeComm from Edinburgh University, who wished to create a vigilante experience within the community to build trust among those who feel unsafe in an ever changing environment.

In third position was the University of Staffordshire’s Cyber Creepers, the students came up with a device for motorcyclists that recognises an accident and a possible serious injury. ‘It was great to hear from the enthusiastic students. They all presented ideas to reflect the world-changing possibilities that technology and the Internet of Things can provide,’ said Dr Alison Vincent, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Systems UK & Ireland, and part of the judging panel.

Student's wishing to be considered for next year’s Switch-Up Challenge can email: switchupchallenge.external@external.cisco.com

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Do you have a brilliant idea to change the world with the Internet of Things?

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

This is the second year we are hosting this competition!

The next wave of technological innovation will come from the connection of people, process, data, and things to the internet: the Internet of Things. Cisco wants to stimulate innovation and give university students the chance 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 Things to solve environmental or social issues.

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 & Ireland university to enter the UK & Ireland competition.

We would like to encourage teams to have a variety of backgrounds and skills if possible - it’s a great way to learn from one another.

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 from the UK & Ireland universities will be asked to present their idea and project plan to a panel of judges on 9 February 2017.

The winning team will be announced at the end of the day. The UK & Ireland winners will be competing in the Great Final in April against teams from European and Middle Eastern countries.

The prize

The winners of the EMEA final will win a trip to Cisco's headquarters in San José, California.

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Applications are now closed, we will re-open in September 2017!

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Q: How many of us can be in a team?

A: You can form a team of three to five students in total.


Q: I am a first year university student; can I still enter the competition?

A: Yes, the competition is open to all year groups.


Q: I have recently graduated; can I compete?

A: Unfortunately, the competition is only open to students who are currently enrolled to study for a degree during the year 2016/17.


Q: Do I need a degree in computer science or engineering to compete?

A: 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.


Q: Can I form a team with students from a different university?

A: No, all team members need to be enrolled at the same university.


Q: I am studying at a university outside the UK & Ireland; can I enter the UK & Ireland competition?

A: No, unfortunately you need to be enrolled at a UK & Ireland university to enter the UK & Ireland competition.


Q: Is our project protected? What about intellectual property?

A: 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.


Q: In what format can we submit our project plan?

A: You have the choice between submitting a five-minute video or a two-page Word document; it is entirely up to you.


Q: How do we submit the project plan?

A: After you register your team, the team captain will receive an automatic email with full instructions on how to submit your entry. All documents must be submitted in English.

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About the IoT

About the IoT

Here's to humanity

About the Internet of Things

The world is moving beyond stand-alone devices into a new era where everything is connected. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection of any electronic computing devices with the existing internet infrastructure. IoT brings together people, process, data, and things. Information extracted from these networked connections creates new capabilities, richer experiences and a huge economic opportunity. The IoT will drive product innovations such as smart TVs, connected cars, wearables and mobile health. 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: http://www.cisco.com/c/r/en/us/internet-of-everything-IoT/index.html

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2016 Winners

2016 Winners

Winning Team: Imperialists_SK Winning Team: Imperialists_SK

A bottle cap that can monitor how much water you're drinking

The overall winner of the competition was Imperialists_SK − three first-year students from Imperial College, studying for respective masters in electronic and information engineering, computing and biomedical engineering. They believe that drinking enough water is essential for maintaining your health and overall well-being. However, many people either do not realise the importance of water intake or simply do not know how much they should drink. Dehydration can contribute to an array of medical complications. Drinking enough helps a balanced body and mind, making it equally important for athletes, scholars and patients alike.

Their idea consisted of two components: the smart cap, fitting every standard plastic bottle; and a smartphone app. By using their app, the user is provided with a recommended water intake for the day, based on their personal metrics. The autonomous cap measures the amount of water that flows out through its seal and data is collected and displayed via the app. The user can see their progress and receive push notifications reminding them to follow the recommended intake. Data can also be exported and processed for further statistical or diagnostic purposes.

Martin Ferianc from winners Imperialists _SK was delighted:

Team Imperialists_SK taking part in the Viva Tech event in Paris, 2016
Team Imperialists_SK taking part in the Viva Tech event in Paris, 2016

My first thoughts when we applied to the Cisco Switch-up Challenge were that we didn’t stand a chance against, presumably, older students. Nevertheless, Cisco inspired us and enabled us to present our idea in front of senior representatives, who gave us an amazing feedback. I personally learned how to better cooperate with my teammates, develop real-world project management skills and, in addition, have a lot of fun with my friends. With many more ideas sourcing from the Switch-up Challenge, we are now strongly motivated to continue the project beyond the competition.

I was blown away by the young talent we have across the UK universities,’ said Phil Smith, Chief Executive of Cisco Systems UK & Ireland, and part of the judging panel.

All the ideas and breadth of knowledge presented on the day were excellent. It was a really well organised, unique event and I am looking forward to the next one.

Website: http://www.wells.sk/index.php

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Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions

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 at time of competition final.
  • only the names included in the final entry submission form will be considered the "Team". If the names are different from the registration form, we will only refer to the list of names included in the submission form.
  • Teams who applied to last year's competition are allowed to take part in this year's competition, but their project plan must be different.
  • Cisco and their partner GTI Recruiting Solutions reserve 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.
  • the UK & Ireland winning Team must take part in the wider EMEA competition for a chance to win a trip to Cisco's headquarters in San José, California. Further details will be communicated directly to the selected team.
  • the EMEA winning team must document their trip to Cisco's headquarters in San José, California via a vlog. Further details will be communicated directly to the selected team.
  • 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.

Important – please note!
Please read the terms and entry requirements carefully as Cisco will only consider submissions and presentations that 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 & Ireland universities. For the avoidance of doubt, these Terms and Conditions are subject to the Laws of Germany for the purposes of Teams from German 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.



For any queries regarding the Switch-Up Challenge:

+44 (0)20 7061 3439


Follow the 2016 winning team's journey