Cisco Expands IoT Capabilities With Big Data Analytics

The company is rolling out its new suite of analytics software that will be integrated into network switches, routers and other systems.


Cisco Systems executives have said that the company will provide the foundational technologies—from networking gear to data center servers and storage—for the tens of billions of devices that will make up the Internet of things.

However, the full value of the Internet of things (IoT)—or what Cisco calls the Internet of everything, when including processors, applications and people into the mix—won't be realized until businesses and service providers are able to take the massive amounts of data generated by all the connected devices, parse it and come out with useable information that will help them save and make money.

That's where analytics comes in, and now Cisco is make a major move into that highly competitive space that includes the likes of IBM and Oracle. At an event Dec. 11 at the company's San Jose, Calif., headquarters, Cisco executives unveiled a broad portfolio of data analytics offerings aimed a range of markets—from retail and telecommunications to events and mobility—and positioned to address data wherever it is, whether in the data center or at the edge, where the devices sit.

Cisco already offers much of the infrastructure technology for the IoT, from its Unified Computing Systems (UCS) converged data center solutions to security software to protect the data. Where Cisco was lagging was the in the area of big data analytics. The importance of Cisco's new Connected Analytics for the Internet of Everything portfolio to the company was underscored by the fact that CEO John Chambers and Edzard Overbeek, senior vice president of Cisco Services, were on hand at the vendor's Global Editors Conference.

The key differentiator for Cisco is that the company can integrate analytics capabilities into its hardware, including its routers, enabling organizations to analyze the data at the edge of the network near the devices and sensors that are generating it, giving businesses the information they need more quickly.

"Just connecting all this doesn't create value," Mike Flanagan, vice president and general manager of data analytics at Cisco, told eWEEK. "It's what you get out of the data that is important."

Cisco executives have said that by 2020, there will be more than 50 billion connected devices and sensors, generating huge amounts of data, and that over the next 10 years, the Internet of everything will be worth $19 trillion to organizations worldwide, in new business and cost savings. Of that, $7.3 trillion of that will come from analytics. A recent Cisco survey found that 40 percent of respondents said their inability to interpret data was the biggest challenge to creating actionable information from the data.

According to Chambers, the bulk of analytics technology was designed to deal with data generated within a business' firewalls and analyzed in the data center. However, with the Internet of everything, important data increasingly will be generated by devices outside an organization's walls, the CEO said.