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Cisco launches IoT System for enterprise and smart cities

Cisco unveils 15 products to address the growing complexity of internet of things deployments

Networking kingpin Cisco has moved to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the internet of things (IoT) by launching 15 products under the banner of the Cisco IoT System.

Cisco’s own forecasts claim that despite being on course to see 50 billion devices and objects connected to the internet of things by 2020, at present 99% of “things” are not connected.

It said the wave of digitisation set to take place over the next five years would introduce unprecedented levels of complexity, and enterprises would struggle to realise the value of the IoT without the application of advanced data analytics and the introduction of ever more intelligent applications.

Cisco said its IoT System would address this complexity with an infrastructure that was designed to “manage large-scale systems of diverse endpoints and platforms, and the data deluge they create”.

Six pillars

IoT System is based around six technology elements, or pillars, which Cisco sees as critical to the success of the IoT. These are:

  1. Network Connectivity
    Comprising purpose-built routing, switching and wireless products, ruggedised if necessary.
  2. Fog Computing
    A distributed IoT computing infrastructure that extends compute – and by definition, therefore, data analytics – to the network edge, enabling customers to analyse and manage data with more immediacy.
  3. Security
    Unifying cyber and physical security and incorporating Cisco’s IP surveillance portfolio and network products with TrustSec security and cloud/cyber security products to allow users to monitor, detect and respond to IT and operational technology attacks.
  4. Data Analytics
    An optimised infrastructure to implement analytics and harness data for Cisco’s own Connected Analytics product and third-party software.
  5. Management and Automation
    Providing enhanced security, control and support for multiple functions to deliver a system that can better manage the increasing volume of endpoints and apps.
  6. Application Enablement Platform
    A set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for industries, city government, ecosystem partners and other developers to build their own apps on the IoT System foundation.

Among the products being rolled out by Cisco are IoT switches, wireless access points and industrial routers, a line of internet protocol surveillance cameras and physical security analytics products, and a package of services around Fog Computing.

“The IoT System provides a comprehensive set of IoT technologies and products that simplify and accelerate the deployment of infrastructure for the IoT,” said Cisco’s vice-president and general manager of the IoT Systems and Software Group, Kip Compton.

Doug Davis, senior vice-president and general manager of Intel’s IoT Group – which assisted in the development of the IoT System – added: “IoT is a significant opportunity, but one that needs interoperability and scale to fulfil industry predictions of billions of connected devices.

“The IoT pillars serve as a strong foundation for companies to build IoT solutions that can be seamlessly interconnected and achieve the scale that delivers the value promised,” he added.

Multiple verticals

Cisco is pitching the IoT System at verticals such as manufacturing, oil and gas, utilities, transport, public safety and smart cities.

Additionally, a number of software houses are already porting their software applications to run on the Fog Computing system, including General Electric’s Predix industrial internet cloud platform, and Itron, which has brought across its Riva distributed intelligence platform.

Italian infrastructure and datacentre services provider Valtellina has already deployed some elements of IoT System on behalf of a major highways project in northern Italy.

Underpinned by Cisco IE 3000 switches, Valtellina has created a cutting-edge infrastructure that has allowed the customer, Autostrada Pedemontana, to introduce a road toll collection system that has eliminated the need for drivers to stop at tollbooths and improved traffic flow as a result.

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