Cisco Builds Analytics Into Network Edge

Analytics tools need to be built into routers and other network edge technologies to get the greatest business value from the Internet of Everything, Cisco executives said Thursday.

"It's not about connecting things," Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) CEO John Chambers said during a press conference Thursday. "Connecting things is the easy part. It's the ability to connect things and bring them together for business outcomes that's key."

To that end, Cisco on Thursday announced a suite of analytics tools for network operations, retail, WiFi management, events such as professional sports matches, and more. The software is part of a strategic push into analytics, also including services, for Cisco. (See Cisco Makes Big Analytics Push.)

Some 15 billion devices are connected to the Internet today, but this is expected to increase to 500 billion as the Internet transforms into the Internet of Everything -- Cisco's name for the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Everything will help build a new generation of analytics, which Cisco calls Analytics 3.0. First-generation analytics is based on historical data. Analytics 2.0 uses social media, video and other formats, combining structured and unstructured information into big data. And the next generation of analytics will combine all other available data from sensors and equipment, in real time, said Edzard Overbeek, senior VP services for Cisco.

This new analytics will put new demands on the network. "Do we need to bring all that data back to the enterprise data warehouse? That's economically unviable," Overbeek said. The amount of data is overwhelming. Instead, analytics intelligence should be built into sensors and WiFi points. An oil field might have analytics in the edge routing devices, to automatically control pumps during routine operations and only signal back to the data center in emergencies requiring human intervention.

"If you just think of the opportunity of everything being connected to the Internet, all that data, the core of your analytics strategy needs to be at the edge," Overbeek said.

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Only Cisco has the network architecture to connect that data in real time, Overbeek said.

What does this mean to network operators? Cisco is offering them analytics tools to help optimize their networks. Also, carriers can partner over Cisco's Intercloud to connect data sources with cloud providers for global analytics. (See Cisco Beefs Up Its Intercloud, Adds Telco Partners and Cisco's Cloud Bet: What's in It for SPs?)

For Cisco, analytics and the Internet of Everything is an opportunity to offset revenue stagnation in its traditional markets, including carriers. Company revenues declined in consecutive quarters this year, returning to a 1% increase in first-quarter fiscal 2015 last month, despite a carrier slowdown. (See Cisco Busts Slump Despite Carrier Slowdown.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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