The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vast and complex ecosystem, but Cisco wants there to be one underlying factor that brings it all together: Cisco.
The networking giant this week unveiled its IoT System, essentially a conglomeration of its existing products and services brought under one umbrella, but with the addition of 15 new products targeting companies looking to make connected devices an integral part of their business. (See IoT in Action.)
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s goal is to cash in on what it sees as a $19 trillion market in the next decade. According to Kip Compton, vice president of Cisco's IoT Systems and Software group, another goal is to build the de facto IoT infrastructure that can "support applications that enable business outcomes." (See Cisco Pitches Vision for 'Internet of Everything'.)
"The majority of our customers are looking more for some sort of integrated system that will enable them to cut through the complexity and take advantage of IoT," he said on a webcast today. He called Cisco IoT System a "systematic architectural approach to take advantage of IoT use cases with security, scalability and simplicity."
Cisco IoT system is built around six pillars: network connectivity, where Cisco's routers and wireless products come into play; fog computing, Cisco's edge computing platform; security -- both physical and virtual; data analytics -- Cisco's own and third parties through the open platform; management and automation that it says can cross organizational silos; and an applications enablement platform with APIs so partners can build their own IoT apps. (See Cisco to Acquire API Specialist Tropo, Cisco Builds Analytics Into Network Edge and Cisco Puts a Fog Over IoT.)
"It's about an infrastructure to enable IoT, but it doesn't make any sense unless it enables applications that let customers get the business outcomes they care about," Compton said.
The announcement of the IoT infrastructure also included no less than 15 new products that span the six pillars. Those include a new wireless access point, industrial router, LTE module, security camera system, Fog analytics platform and a management platform and software. See the full run-down here.
Cisco has been working particularly hard on making its mark on Smart Cities across the globe, most recently announcing a partnership with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) to outfit Kansas City with WiFi. The announcement of its overall IoT strategy included supporting quotes from a number of vendors and service providers, including Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Klas Telecom, to show the traction it's getting across verticals. (See Cisco CEO: Get Ready for New Digital World and Sprint & Cisco Bring WiFi to Downtown KC .)
The company is, however, far from the only networking player targeting a piece of the $19 trillion IoT opportunity. IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) and Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) all have their own variations on smart cities initiatives. Plus, all of the major wireless operators are pursuing the space, both on their own -- primarily from a connectivity perspective at this point -- and with the big software and hardware vendors as partners. (See IBM to Pump $3B Into IoT, HP Gives Carriers IoT Management Smarts and Cisco: Carrier IoT Role Still Taking Shape.)
— Sarah Thomas, , Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading