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Cisco Launches Global IoT Challenge for Young Women

By Michael Guta October 20, 2014

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, only one in seven engineers is female and women hold only 27 percent of all computer science jobs - while less than 20 percent of Bachelor’s degrees in computer science go to women.  This is despite the fact that female graduates account for 60 percent of all Bachelor’s degrees.

The STEM fields - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – are dominated by males, and with only 18 percent of the computer and information sciences undergraduate degrees being awarded to women, few of them are staying in those careers.

Increasing those numbers requires a concerted effort from public and private organizations to encourage young girls to take STEM classes early in their development and making opportunities available when they come out of school. A new initiative by Cisco and a global network of companies and local not-for-profit organizations dedicated to increase the number of women in STEM have come together to launch the Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) Young Women’s Innovation Grand Challenge.

Cisco has launched several IoT challenges in order to encourage startups, entrepreneurs and universities to submit their best solution ideas to an industry which the company believes will be worth $19 trillion in the next decade by connecting 50 billion devices around the world. This will require innovative thinking not only by industry players, but also individuals and organizations that can bring new solutions to the table.

The company launched two separate IoT challenges earlier this year with cash prizes of more than $550,000 along with mentoring, training and business accessibility to the winners and participants.

According to the IoT World Forum Young Women's Innovation Grand Challenge, the goal of the contest is to encourage women to come up with innovative and creative solutions by using their imagination and technological know-how to develop new concepts of how the IoT can be applied to solve problems.

Cisco wants participants to develop ideas for: education, healthcare, manufacturing, energy, retail, transportation, smart cities or present any idea that addresses several industries.

The entry should include detailed information including definition and description of the technology and the problem it is designed to solve. The company did not elaborate more on its website, but indicated it will be announcing additional details in the coming weeks.

Submissions will open beginning November 15, 2014 and anyone interested can access the contest site through www.cisco.com/go/iotworldforumchallenge.

“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.”

This contest will not only encourage women to enter the field of technology, but it will give companies such as Cisco a pool of potential innovators who will bring a different perspective to finding solutions for the Internet of Things.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

IoTevolutionworld Contributing Writer

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