Cisco Launches Major IoT Initiative

Mike Vizard
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How the Internet of Things Will Change Our Lives

Moving to provide a foundation on which Internet of Things (IoT) applications can be delivered, Cisco today unveiled 15 separate products across six different IoT functional areas.

Spanning everything from classic network and security products to analytics and management software, Kip Compton, vice president and general manager of the IoT Systems and Software Group at Cisco, says Cisco is determined to create enough critical IoT mass to be considered a major player.

Products launched today include switches and routers specifically designed for manufacturing and outdoor environments, video cameras, and management and analytics software designed to provide a control and data plane capable of addressing the challenges associated with managing millions of endpoints, otherwise known as fog computing.

In addition, Cisco announced that Covacsis, a provider of analytics software used in manufacturing environments, has become the latest third-party vendor to join a rapidly growing IoT ecosystem led by Cisco.

Key to that Cisco effort, says Compton, is a set of application programming interfaces for IoT applications that Cisco makes available via its DevNet portal. In building those applications, Compton notes that IT organizations would do well to remember that video cameras within the context of an IoT application are now essentially a new type of sensor that, just like any other sensor, captures data. The challenge with IoT applications is that there is so much data that most of it will need to be processed at distributed gateways at the edge of the network, rather than transferred directly back in its rawest form over the network to servers residing in a data center.

While Cisco concedes that IoT environments are by definition heterogeneous, Compton says that Cisco clearly wants to provide much of the foundational networking components on which IoT environments will rely. The degree to which that occurs, of course, will have everything to do with the number of independent software vendors and IT organizations that wind up building IoT applications that actually make use of Cisco APIs, versus simply treating the network element of the IoT environment as if it were just another “dumb pipe.”

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