Cisco’s John Chambers: Internet of Things a business imperative

John Chambers talks up the Internet of Things and claims increasing interest in and acceptance of the concept means it will reach a tipping point very soon

Cisco CEO John Chambers has been talking up the Internet of Things, describing the nascent phenomena, which has built up a head of steam in the market in the opening weeks of 2014, as a “business imperative.”

Taking questions on a conference call to mark Cisco’s second quarter results, Chambers said: “A year ago, I had to buy somebody a drink for me to talk very long about the topic. Now, they are offering to buy us dinner and they bring the board of directors.”

Cisco’s latest set of quarterly figures have shown that in some regards, the networking kingpin is struggling in the face of market transitions, with service provider sales dropping and core routing and switching sales both on the slide, while Stifel analyst Sanjiv R. Wadhwani went so far as to suggest that the vendor is behind the curve on software-defined networking.

However, Chambers insisted that despite the pain Cisco is feeling in its traditional business, it would continue to evolve and capitalise on the major market transitions, and made it quite clear that he sees the Internet of Things as the key to where the industry is headed.

“[It] will encompass every technology transition we are seeing in the market today,” said Chambers.

“With the network squarely at the centre, we are building the platform for the Internet of Everything with scale and security to address the unparalleled complex the requirements. We plan to continue to disrupt the market and disrupt ourselves to deliver the value and solutions our customers require.

“Last year, we introduced entirely new approaches to networking, designed around future proofing the best customers are making today and enabling them to harness the benefit of Internet of Everything.

“The Internet of Everything has moved from an interesting concept to a business imperative driving opportunities across every major vertical. It was the central conversations at the Consumer Electronics Show and the World Economic Forum, the last couple months with CEOs, industry and country leaders globally. Anyone walking away from these events should characterise this year as the tipping point,” he concluded.

IDC figures on the Internet of Things suggest that the market is set to expand to a total value of over $7tn by 2017, three years from now. Outside the consumer market, resellers specialising in discrete manufacturing and public sector verticals look most likely to be able to capitalise on the trend, according to the analyst house.

"Successful sales and marketing efforts by vendors will be based on understanding the most lucrative verticals that offer current growth and future potential and then creating solutions for specific use cases that address industry-specific business processes," said senior research analyst Scott Tiazkun.

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