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University students compete to change the world using the Internet of Everything
Friday, February 19, 2016

‘The Internet of Everything’, 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, which monitor data and faults and share them in real time.

It is this growing ubiquity of the Internet of Everything (aka the ‘Internet of Things’) that led eight teams of undergraduates to Cisco’s UK headquarters on 11 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 GTI Recruiting Solutions in September 2015. The competition is aimed at UK university students, and tasks them with devising an innovative mechanism that can tackle a social or environmental issue by using the Internet of Everything.

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 in the 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 Imperialists_SK − three first-year students from Imperial College, studying for respective Masters in electronic and information engineering, computing and biomedical engineering.

They impressed the jury with their project, ‘Wells’. Wells consists of two components: a ‘smart cap’, which can fit any standard plastic bottle, and a smartphone app. When using the Wells app, the user is provided with a recommended water intake for the day, based on their personal metrics. Sensors in the cap subsequently measure the amount of water that flows out through its seal, whereupon data is collected and displayed via the app. The user can see their progress and receive notifications reminding them to follow the recommended intake.

The runner-up was the team Creative Innovators of the Empire, also from Imperial College. The students came up with a device that enables accurate pollutant trends to be shared in real time.

In third position was the University of Bath’s Gorgon, who wished to tackle food waste through a system that prompts users by reminding them of the product expiry date.

 ‘I was blown away by the young talent we have across the UK Universities,’ said Phil Smith, Chief Executive, 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.’

Martin Ferianc from winners Imperialists _SK was delighted:

‘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.’

The Switch-Up Challenge is also being run by Cisco’s Poland office, with the Final taking place in Krakow on 3 March.


To be considered for next year’s Challenge, please email: or visit the Switch-Up Challenge homepage for more details.



Notes to editors

For further enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact James Collyer, Client Marketing and PR Manager, at or call 01491 826262.


About GTI Recruiting Solutions

GTI Recruiting Solutions is part of the world's largest graduate recruitment company, Group GTI. We have a history of success in serving the graduate market spanning 25 years.

We offer a broad range of services that touch the emerging talent world at many levels, including university guides, career guides, job boards, recruitment event management, career services systems, applicant tracking systems and recruitment process outsourcing.

GTI Recruiting Solutions incorporates three main strands of business: recruitment services, recruitment technology and targeted headhunting.

For more information on GTI Recruiting Solutions, visit


About Cisco

Cisco didn’t just build the internet. We keep building it. First the internet of computers. Then the internet of people.  Now the Internet of Everything.  Our technology changes the way the world works, lives, plays and learns. But our edge doesn’t come from technology. It comes from our people. It begins with the knowledge that tomorrow starts here. With us. And with you. With the amazing things that happen when we connect the unconnected.

We connect everything – people, process, data and things – and we use those connections to change our world for the better. We don’t just dream it, we do it every day at Cisco. And we’re doing it faster than ever before, in ways no one else can.

The future of Cisco. The growth of our customers. The lives of people around the world. They’re all connected. Because the Internet of Everything is here. And everything starts with you.

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