The Internet of things was a focus of Cisco Systems' media event Oct. 5, with new CEO Chuck Robbins calling it "bigger than the first wave of the Internet."
The giant networking vendor is planning to grow its presence in the IoT, which Cisco officials have said will grow rapidly to include more than 50 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020, and as many as 500 billion after that. Network IP traffic will triple over time.
Cisco intends to be the foundational technology vendor for the IoT, from the networking that connects everything to the analytics, security and platforms that enable enterprises and SMBs to safely and rapidly make near real-time decisions that will drive business growth. That will be important, given that 75 percent of companies worldwide have not yet prioritized their digital strategies, company officials said.
"Digital transformation necessitates a combining of business and IT strategy that connects everything, embraces analytics, and takes a holistic approach to data security that spans technology and operations," Tony Shakib, vice president of IoE (Internet of everything) vertical solutions engineering at Cisco, wrote in a post on the company blog.
Shakib noted that Cisco has created a framework businesses can use to migrate to a more digital environment, from unified connectivity and security to managing data from the network's edge to the cloud.
To help accelerate organizations' adoption of the IoT, Cisco is unveiling four new offerings aimed at the manufacturing, transportation, utilities, and oil and gas industries. At the same time, the vendor announced a security solution for the IoT that spans all verticals.
In the manufacturing space, Cisco is offering an architecture designed to give businesses the tools they need to connect and manage their machinery and enable such new models as remote access, monitoring and serviceability. The company announced a partnership with industrial robotics company Fanuc America to develop a way of remotely monitoring Fanuc's robots in factories to see how they're performing and to proactively address issues when a robot looks as though it will break down.
Cisco also introduced technologies being developed with Schneider Electric that will enable oil and gas companies to make their pipelines safer, more efficient, and easier to manage and monitor, and another package aimed at making power grids more reliable and efficient. SCANA, a utility in South Carolina, will be the first company to use Cisco's Substation Security Solution, which is aimed at enabling such companies to comply with version 5 of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC/CIP) standards.
For the transportation space, Cisco is offering a converged network architecture through which mass transit systems can improve safety, efficiency and passenger experience through enhanced automation, collaboration, video and business intelligence in all areas, from control centers to the transit stations to the vehicles.
"For the first time, organizations in [all] these fields have the opportunity to integrate digital capabilities across all business operations," Shakib wrote. "They can break down information siloes, optimize operational performance, and get access to the information they need to innovate, all while mitigating an ever-increasing number of risks."
Cisco's new IoT Security System addresses one of the largest challenges to making the move to the Internet of things, according to officials. Included in the offering is a new dedicated security appliance, the ISA-3000 for greater application visibility, policy enforcement and protection against cyber-threats, and a Fog Data Services security solution.
The security package enables the IoT network to enforce security policies in switches and routers, and includes physical security via surveillance cameras, physical access control and a video surveillance manager that includes advanced analytics.