Cisco’s Fast Future Innovation Awards Accelerate Innovation
An innovative idea is like a ripple in an ocean: if pushed well, it can become a tidal wave. It’s something Mathieu Lachaine, CTO of Montreal-based smart building technology company Sentiom knows firsthand.
Sentiom has developed an advanced AI-based monitoring and detection system that provides real-time alerts to help reduce the risk of water damage in residential buildings. But it won top honors — along with seed funding, resources and Cisco expertise — at the 2021 Cisco Fast Future Innovation Awards (FFIA) which gave the small startup digital innovation the momentum needed to move forward.
“We wanted to partner with a big tech company like Cisco and their innovation teams to leverage their scale and knowledge,” says Lachaine, citing Sentiom’s go-to-market and growth goals. “The Fast Future Innovation Awards were not the perfect opportunity to accelerate innovation and bring our solution to market.”
Their technology, supported by that of Cisco, could help the local non-profit housing organization Maison Martin-Matte in Quebec solve an insurance-coverage-renewal problem. Armed with this knowledge, the Sentiom team also recognized the opportunities that the FFIA victory could provide: to test their technology in a real environment; solve the Maison Martin-Matte business challenge; providing Sentiom with much-needed support and validating its telemetry and analytics platform as a viable operational solution for property owners and managers.
They were right.
Winning the FFIA delivered everything Sentiom hoped for and more. In addition to financial support, Cisco provided essential planning advice, direction, and access to innovation experts and design thinking, helping Sentiom determine the scope of its project and realize its aspirations. “Cisco’s support helped us deliver our risk management solution — integrated water and fire damage prevention — to Maison Martin-Matte,” says Lachaine, “proving the value of technology as a game changer for the insurability of residential buildings.”
When reviewing submissions, the FFIA jury evaluates four key criteria: innovation, impact, strategic thinking and feasibility of a proposed project. “What really makes a submission stand out is when it includes why its solution is important in its industry and highlights the issues that need to be addressed,” says Wayne Cuervo, Director of global innovation at Cisco. “Technology is fundamental to solving business and industrial challenges. Cisco is here to partner with Canadian organizations to prepare them for the future and guide them on their digital transformation journey.
Sentiom’s candidacy ticked all the important boxes. “Sentiom is a great example of what a complete solution looks like,” said Eric Thibault, Director of Industry Solutions and Country Digitization Acceleration at Cisco. “[They] had a very good understanding of the challenge they wanted to solve and started developing a solution leveraging IoT (Internet of Things) technology. We worked closely with them to execute their idea over an 8 month period. This solution now has the potential to adapt to a broader market opportunity, ultimately creating a greater positive impact in the community. »
At Sentiom, things are going wonderfully. “We are already on track to replicate and scale our innovation in many other vibrant communities: nonprofits, government housing, long-term care homes, condos and apartment buildings,” says Lachaine. “We aim to support the digital transformation of 10,000 multi-residential buildings and beyond over the next five years, from risk and property management to occupant safety, security and health.”
And for Cisco, the Fast Future Innovation Awards support their mission to create an inclusive future for all. “We have the opportunity to work with Canadian innovators and discover new ecosystem partners to co-innovate with in the future,” says Thibault. “All of this is to guide and support the acceleration of digital transformation and innovation in Canada. »
Nominations for the Cisco Fast Future Innovation Awards 2022 are now open and the deadline for submission is November 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. This year focuses on three categories – hybrid work, cybersecurity and sustainability – with one winner in each category . receive up to $200,000 in funding.
This year, applicants have the opportunity to be matched with a Cisco mentor to help them create a strong proposal. Organizations interested in mentoring are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible, no later than October 7, 2022.
Ready to dive into an innovative project of your own? Apply now for the Fast Future Innovation Awards 2022 and visit the website for more information.