Cisco outlines a new IoT strategy for the channel

SAN FRANCISCO – Cisco Systems has tended to align its Internet of Things (IoT) strategy towards the massive $19 trillion market opportunity. The networking giant even described it as Internet of Everything. But at the Cisco Partner Summit, the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor is moving to position solution providers to build the next generation data centre specific for IoT first solutions.

Canadian executive Rowan Trollope, the senior vice president and GM of Cisco Internet of Things and Applications Division, pinpointed four key themes behind Cisco’s new approach to IoT.

They are:

  • To somehow make IoT simple;
  • The network must be able to handle IoT;
  • Focus on the things part of IoT which generates data; and
  • Lastly to put parts two and three together and make it a technology platform for customers.

“This can be an ah-ha moment for people. What they are building (networks) today does not work for IoT. The networks in play do not scale. What they are trying to do is solve a problem that is impossible to solve. You can’t do IoT on a networking layer because it is fundamentally broken,” Trollope said.

The first step in Cisco’s new IoT direction involves something the company unveiled earlier this year: Cisco Digital Network Architecture or DNA. DNA is a platform specific for the digitization of business with built-in automation features and security. Trollope said, today’s network must evolve to the DNA product with an infusion of Jasper, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based (Jasper Technologies Inc.) company that Cisco acquired that has an IoT connectivity management platform. This solution is expected in 2017.

The second hurdle is with security, according to Trollope, because security was made for general purpose computing and in IoT you are dealing with special, purpose-built devices such as a camera. “The camera does not buy a book on,” Trollope said.

Look for channel partners to find opportunities in developing a whole new set of services around IoT and cloud built around the Jasper platform, he added. “Imagine that anywhere in the world you can power up a Cisco IoT device and see the traffic flow with total security for the device? This is a brand new business for Cisco and a new opportunity for the partners,” he said.

Gregg Pruett, senior vice president of CompuNet Inc., said he sees IoT becoming more of a channel opportunity especially in the vast amounts of data produced from an IoT device. How that data is collected and dealt with in the analytics world can be lucrative.

“Now it’s a matter of building a platform where IoT brings that data in and enables our customers to do something with it,” Pruett said.

Trollope also said Cisco is working on developing more industry-specific solutions for IoT such as smart cities and in healthcare. “These will be solutions unique to an industry and we are investing in those. We are committed to this as we embark on this big technology transformation in our lifetime.”

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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