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1871 and Lighting a Fire For IoE innovation

This morning I had a pleasure of joining 1871 CEO Howard Tullman, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and many others in launching the expansion of 1871. 

Launched in 2012, 1871 is a leading Chicago non-profit incubator that provides affordable co-work spaces to Chicago entrepreneurs as well as community gatherings and programs such as tech talks, hackathons  and more.  They’re named after the fire of 1871 – not because of the destructive nature of the fire, but because of the innovation and ingenuity that built up Chicago afterwards.  1871 is true to its name as we’re seeing a similar surge of innovation and ingenuity from the startups that are based there.

Cisco was a founding sponsor of 1871 and today we’re expanding that sponsorship.  Cisco will be offering equipment, tools, training, and mentorship to members of 1871 (and we’re sponsoring their wireless deployment!)  The goal of this collaboration is to support entrepreneurs that are building Internet of Everything solutions.  Internet of Everything is the connection of people, processes, data, and things to the internet – connecting the previously unconnected. With an expected 50 billion devices that will be connected in just the next 5 years (up from 13B now) – there is a strong need for creativity and ingenuity as we build the infrastructure and systems to support all of those connection. We hope that this collaboration will lead to identifying promising companies for closer cooperation – with the possibility of developing joint solutions and bring products to market.  Read More »

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Fog – A Clear Vision

This week at the Internet of Things World Forum we are challenging the industry to accelerate the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT leverages many ‘off the shelf’ technologies but also has some unique requirements, which must be met. How do we make sure that the right critical information is being processed while conserving bandwidth and having a resilient network? Here at Cisco, “fog computing” is a clear technology vision, with the means to provide greater visibility and control- having the network and applications process the critical data in concert with the cloud. With today’s announcement at IoT World Forum, Cisco continues to deliver on its vision for fog computing with an increase in the number of platforms supporting Cisco IOx and the addition of application management capabilities.

Earlier this year we announced the availability of Cisco IOx, as part of the Cisco Fog portfolio of technologies. Cisco IOx allows customers and solution providers across all industries to develop, manage and run software applications directly on Cisco industrial networked-devices, including hardened routers, switches, and other devices. We have seen tremendous market traction of Cisco IOx in the last few months along with the accelerating IoT market growth. As IoT transitions from early adoption to wide deployment, Cisco IOx is enabling solutions providers across many industries to create innovative software solutions. Today’s announcement of the second phase of the IOx platform builds on the continuing momentum of Cisco’s vision for Fog computing. Read More »

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Enabling Agile Business Operations in a Connected World

We have all heard visions and use-cases about the Internet of Things (IoT). Many of these take on the flavor of pots talking to kettles and capture our imagination on what IoT can do. The question of “why” we connect things in the first place becomes obvious when we think about the value of such connections to users and businesses – a value creation that requires connecting people, processes, data, and things for the Internet of Everything (IoE). Unlocking the potential for such value means facing the reality of how we bring those four dimensions together – a complex effort that requires us to bind all types of enterprise business assets in unique ways. We’ll take a quick look at how we go from the “Why IoE?” to the “How to IoE?”

While the promise of intelligent connections across these dimensions is easy to see, how we make those connections in a replicable and scalable fashion is far from easy. We are not just connecting machines to machines (M2M), people to people (P2P), or people to machines (P2M); not just enabling B2B or B2C. We need to enable all permutations of such connections for X2X connectivity.  Unless we have core building blocks that enable this, an X2X world can become a spider-web of unmanageable connections that require reinventing and rearchitecting for every new type of intelligent connection.

Enabling X2X Connections

Let us take a look how we can bring these assets together; the technologies and services that are critical to enable this value creation; and how Cisco’s suite of software & services for enabling IoE applications will help.

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Delivering IoE Solutions requires us to have capabilities that power each of the above four quadrants as follows: Read More »

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Welcome to the Second Internet of Things World Forum #IoTWF

Today I have the honor of kicking off the second Internet of Things World Forum in Chicago.  We first launched the Internet of Things World Forum last year in Barcelona with the goal of accelerating the IoT ecosystem along with our steering committee members. In the second annual World Forum over the next few days attendees will see many great talks and I expect you’ll be hearing quite a few announcements moving the Internet of Things forward.  Our goal was to bring together the best and brightest to enable collaborations and new cross-industry business models.

Over the last year the investments and deployments in IoT solutions have accelerated. From many deployments in cities and industries around the world, the Internet of Things is Here and Now – which is also our theme for this year’s World Forum.  We have also seen the industry mature with quite a few IoT startups being acquired. Cisco has advanced this trend further with our announced innovation fund, opening IoE Innovation centers around the globe, holding Grand Challenges, introducing IOx, and many more.

As an example of this growth, the IoT World Forum 2014 has also more than doubled – in attendees, in sessions, and in sponsors and has expanded in the types of activities happening.  This last weekend we hosted the IoTWF Hackathon at Chicago innovation space 1871 – with over 100 attendees and 15 teams.  They competed through 24 hours using an ISR 819 and APIs from Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX), Data in Motion (DMO), and a few other APIs to build something innovative and new, quickly.  Also new this year is a Startup Showcase featuring 20 startups at the event.world deployment map Read More »

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Drop the IT-Centric Mindset: Securing IoT Networks Requires New Thinking

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a popular topic of discussion amongst security company executives, analysts, and other industry pundits. But when they begin discussing the technical details, it quickly becomes evident that many of the most experienced security professionals still approach IoT with an IT-centric mindset. That’s because they believe IoT is mostly about the billions of new connected objects. While the dramatic increase in the number and types of connected objects certainly expands the attack surface and dramatically increases the diversity of threats, they’re only part of the IoT security challenge. In addition, the convergence of the organization’s existing IT network with the operational technology (OT) network (e.g., manufacturing floors, energy grids, transportation systems, and other industrial control systems) expands the depth of security challenges and makes threat remediation remarkably more complex.

While IT and OT were once separate networks, they’re now simply different environments within a single extended network ‒ but by no means are they the same! The architectures, operational needs, platforms, and protocols are vastly different for each of them, which drive radically different security needs for each of them. As a result, security architectures, solutions, and policies that have proven effective for years in the IT world often don’t apply in OT environments, so attempting to enforce consistent security policies across the extended network is doomed for failure.

Protecting data confidentiality is IT’s primary concern, so when faced with a threat, their immediate response is to quarantine or shut down the affected system. But OT runs critical, 24×7 processes, so data availability is their primary concern. Shutting down these processes can cost the organization millions of dollars, so the cost of remediation may be greater than simply dealing with the aftermath of an infection. In addition, because OT is a human-based operation in what can be dangerous working conditions, their focus is on the safety of their operation as well as their employees. As a result of these main differences, the two groups approach security in completely different ways. While IT uses a variety of cybersecurity controls to defend the network against attack and to protect data confidentiality, OT views security more in terms of secure physical access, as well as operational and personnel safety.

Securing IoT networks must go beyond today’s thinking. Rather than focusing on the individual security devices, they need to be networked, so that they can work together to produce comprehensive, actionable security intelligence.  By combining numerous systems, including cyber and physical security solutions, IoT-enabled security can improve employee safety and protect the entire system from the outside, as well as the inside. As a best practice, IT should maintain centralized management over the entire security solution, but with a high level of understanding of the specific needs of OT. Based on that understanding, they need to enforce differentiated security policies to meet those specific needs, and provide localized control over critical OT systems.

At the end of the day, IT and OT need to work together for the common good of the entire IoT implementation – thereby driving truly pervasive, customized security across the extended network.

Want to learn about the part Big Data plays in your overall security plan, and how Cisco can help organizations deliver the security they need to succeed in the IoT and IoE eras? Join us for a webcast at 9 AM Pacific time on October 21st entitled ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge with Cisco Big Data and Analytics Solutions.’ #UnlockBigData

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