Cisco is getting into analytics in a big way, announcing Thursday a suite of applications designed to help network operators make sense of the torrents of information coming from the Internet of Things.
The Cisco Connected Analytics for the Internet of Everything portfolio is designed to help network operators "extract value from data generated by a rapidly expanding ecosystem of connected people, processes, data, and things that together forms the Internet of Everything (IoE)," Cisco says in a statement. The Internet of Everything is Cisco's name for the Internet of Things. (See Cisco Unveils Analytics Portfolio.)
Previously, analytics has been designed to work with data mostly created within the organization, nearly always residing in a central data store, Cisco says. Data emerging from the Internet of Things increasingly comes from everywhere, often from mobile devices and sensors at the edge of the network. The biggest obstacle to "translating connections into actionable insights" is the "inaccessibility and inability to interpret data," according to 40% of respondents to a Cisco study.
Cisco announced eight packages for different analytics applications. For carriers, Connected Analytics for Service Providers looks for patterns in networks, operations and customer data to help service providers improve network planning and understand infrastructure investments in the context of service usage and adoption, and customer and competitive information. "These insights help service providers deliver a better and more personalized experience, such as more accurate recommendations on the types of movies a customer may enjoy or the ability to send out alerts regarding usage in advance of billing cycles," Cisco says.
Customizing customer experience has been a theme in recent carrier networking headlines. For example, hosting provider Codero uses software defined networking to allow its customers to configure their own cloud services on the fly. Arista Networks Inc. this week introduced EOS+ software designed to help network operators implement SDN apps to customize their networks. And ConteXtream upgraded its SDN fabric to support OpenDaylight and other standards; ContexNet is designed to facilitate network customizability. (See SDN Drives Codero's Flexible Hybrid Clouds, Arista Gets With the Programmability Program, and ConteXtream Launches OpenDaylight-Based SDN Fabric for NFV.)
Analytics packages Analytics for network deployment analyzes networks for operational efficiencies, incident resolution and other factors. It's designed to allow network operators to detect problems before they happen and help make planning decisions.
Analytics for mobility uses location information to analyze wireless network and provide data about Cisco Service Provider WiFi users. It's designed to let service providers plan WiFi capacity, improve business operations and uncover potential new revenue opportunities, such as tailoring pricing to customer usage.
Analytics for contact centers is designed to help businesses improve customer satisfaction, for example by optimizing call routing.
Analytics for events is designed to use data gleaned from WiFi and device usage to improve event management. For example, understanding what sports fans are doing, where they are in a venue and what kind of experience they are having enables organizations to make on-the-fly decisions to enhance the fan experience. A stadium might use the information to beef up staffing at particular concession stands, or to deploy event security.
Similarly, analytics for retail correlates in-store video camera feeds and WiFi data with existing operational data such as inventory to determine, for example, where shoppers are spending more time in stores and which shelves need restocking.
Help for IT Analytics for IT is designed to help IT align capabilities such as data management and governance with business objectives.
And analytics for collaboration measures adoption of collaboration technology internally for use with Cisco Collaboration applications; for example, tracking how many employees are using the tools, how they're using them, and what kind of ROI they're seeing from collaborative selling, or how the tools are reducing travel costs.
The analytics push is part of a big strategic shift for Cisco, as it transitions from selling products to trying to help customers achieve business results through services, software, consulting and, yes, products. It's a transition that's been underway in IT for years; vendors such as IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) shifted from selling products and solving technology problems to helping enterprises use technology to drive revenue and increase profits.
Cisco sees the Internet of Things (a.k.a. the Internet of Everything) as integral to that shift, and also as a vastly bigger market than the existing networking market. The Internet of Everything is a $19 trillion business opportunity over the next 10 years, and analytics will drive $7.3 trillion of that, according to Cisco Consulting Services.
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