Cisco Networking Academy Creates Changemakers: Meet Eleftherios Xinaris


Get all the backstories of our 2023 Cisco Networking Academy alumni award winners in this five-part series. In this first story, you’ll learn what motivated Changemaker award winner Eleftherios Xinaris to make waves with an AI-driven vessel monitoring system, and how Networking Academy was a cornerstone to his career development.


While digital transformation is fundamentally changing the way people work and communicate, there are some professions and institutions that remain resistant to change. Cisco Networking Academy alumnus Eleftherios Xinaris found himself at the confluence of these opposing forces.

“Operating at the intersection of law, public service, and technology, I was acutely aware of existing inefficiencies and the potential for significant improvements,” he says.

“The public sector remained untouched by the digital revolution transforming other industries. This disparity drove my desire to bridge this gap, utilizing my networking knowledge to streamline public service operations. I envisioned a tech-integrated public sector that was efficient and competitive, motivating me to trailblaze this unique path.”

Eleftherios applied his Cisco Networking Academy skills to help deploy and manage networks in the public sector in Cyprus, but he could see further benefits from digitization, and by applying tech in completely new ways.


Changemaker graphic


Applying tech in new ways

To this end, Eleftherios spearheaded a project to create an AI-driven vessel-monitoring system called AiCaptain.

The project almost floundered on the rocks because of its complexity, and its appearance to address only issues of the shipping industry.

The first challenge for Eleftherios was selling the broader benefits of AiCaptain. “I strategized to rebrand our product as a powerful security tool that addressed the pressing issue of illicit maritime activity,” he says.

He set about selling the benefits of the project to a broader audience, showing its value not just for the shipping industry, but also for the financial, insurance, and investment sectors.

Being a changemaker frequently means pushing against inertia, and Eleftherios did so by demonstrating how AiCaptain could aid the decision-making processes across a range of sectors. This strategic refocusing took AiCaptain from a niche product into a solution for a broader ecosystem.

Validation received

“Our success was marked by securing second place in the prestigious Cyprus Cassini Hackathon, solidifying our position in the maritime sector and beyond.”

Eleftherios was also awarded the Changemaker award in the inaugural galactic-themed Cisco Networking Academy Alumni Awards in August 2023.

The Changemaker Award celebrates its recipient’s creativity in looking past obvious solutions, in creating something new, and inspiring us all to wonder: What's new? What's next? What's better?

“I led the unexplored path of integrating legal expertise with network technology in the traditionally resistant public sector,” says Eleftherios. “Despite the uncertainty, I persisted, trusting in the transformative power of technology to redefine public service, making it more efficient and effective.”

Eleftherios combined his unique knowledge of public service, law, and technology to envision a new way of doing things. “Cisco Networking Academy's courses have been integral to my success,” he says.


The Cisco Networking Academy Alumni Awards honor alums who have maximized their potential in the digital universe. Next “call for nominations” will be in May of 2024.