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The Cisco IoT System and Industry Solutions: Enabling rapid prototyping, faster time to market, and better value

TonyShakib95percentImageThere’s no doubt that deployments of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are increasing at a rapid pace as organizations face intense pressure to innovate and embrace the next wave of the Internet. Digital technology advances now enable new market entrants to threaten — and overtake — incumbents who fail to answer the innovation challenge. Think Uber, Airbnb, Tesla, and more. To up the ante on innovation and stay relevant, organizations across all industries are deploying IoT in an effort to embrace digitization.

How organizations embrace IoT as part of their digital transformation varies widely from industry to industry. For example, in manufacturing the focus is on automating inventory management, real-time monitoring/controlling of machine operations, and energy management. In the public sector, the emphasis is often on theft protection, asset tracking and real-time billing. What these industries and solutions have in common is the challenge of successfully navigating the very complex technology environment involved in getting the insights that drive successful outcomes. Successful IoT deployments require complex elements – connectivity, security, automation, analytics, and application enablement — to work together as a system to deliver those business insights.

At Cisco, we’ve done a great job of bringing powerful industry solutions to our customers that give them the business outcomes they need. Building these solutions requires drawing upon different ingredients to deliver an offering that is simple, agile, and repeatable. Many elements must to come together to deliver the value our customers need. The process for building a solution that seamlessly integrates all the elements to support a specific industry can be lengthy.

That’s why I’m excited about this week’s announcement of the Cisco IoT System. Read More »

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Accelerate Your Business with the New Cisco IoT System

Consider this: By the time you’ve finished reading this short paragraph, another 1,000 “things” will be connected to the Internet. And we’re not even talking about a lengthy paragraph of Dickensian proportion — just this modest paragraph of 39 words.

Those newly connected things will be a mix of mobile devices, parking meters, sensors, thermostats, lab equipment, supermarket shelves, cars, cardiac monitors, and more. The fact is, this list of connected things keeps expanding by the second. Just a few years ago, the number of connected devices began outnumbering the Earth’s human population. Fast forward to 2020, and this gap will widen exponentially – with the number of connected things projected to exceed 50 billion.

As a result, countries, cities, industries, and businesses around the globe are becoming digital to capitalize on the unprecedented opportunity brought about by the next wave of the Internet. When people, process, data, and things are connected, we can capture unprecedented business value. And an essential part of capturing this value is connecting the unconnected through the Internet of Things. Read More »

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Connected Machines Take Manufacturing to the Next Level of IoT

We’ve all seen how connected products can transform industries in areas like home energy management and personal health, and manufacturing is no exception. When products communicate back to their original makers, the manufacturers can detect production flaws well before customers would need to raise warranty claims. Further, product usage data can become the core of value delivered to the customer. Now that we have Fitbit and Jawbone UP, would you ever consider buying a traditional pedometer whose only method of telling you steps is on an LCD display?  These ideas can be applied to machines on the factory floor too.

In a previous blog post on the Connected Factory, I shared how Cisco’s validated designs combine best practices from operational technology (OT) and IT into robust and secure networks. I also addressed how wireless connectivity can enable a more effective workforce and how digital transformation with real-time production analytics improves quality. Read More »

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What happened to the “Things”

We are all very caught up in the “Internet of Things” phenomenon.  There isn’t a day goes by when we don’t see an article (or sixteen) on the topic.  We see statistics quoted here there and everywhere about this is going to/already is affecting our lives, yet almost none of these articles seems to see the big picture.

In “How to Fly a Horse” by Kevin Ashton (http://www.amazon.com/How-Fly-Horse-Invention-Discovery/dp/0385538596 ) we learn that Kevin coined the phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) in 1999 when he was trying to present a solution to the problem of tracking the sales of lipsticks.  Kevin worked at Procter & Gamble and the misplacement of lipsticks in the display case was causing a sales issue when the required color was in stock, on the display, but in the wrong place and not easily found.  Kevin put an RFID tag in the lipstick and an antenna under each location, monitored the display unit, uploaded the information to the internet and used it to make decisions about the actual sales stock position.

Since then the term has been broadened to include almost anything that is in some way connected to the Internet and is providing information that can be used. The term has almost become a part of everyday use, though it seems the understanding of the term has morphed.  In 2013 the Oxford English Dictionary included a definition for the IoT – “The interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/Internet-of-things ). While this definition is fine, it does not capture the real essence of the concept.

OSI ETC JTC 1In 2013-4, Special Workgroup 5 under ISO/IEC JTC 1 (International Standards Organization/International Electrotechnical Committee Joint Working Group 1) spent a lot of time looking at the definition of the IoT and found over 30 definitions in common use including one from CISCO.  The group reviewed all of these and created a new definition that is currently being used in ISO – “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a global network infrastructure, linking physical and virtual objects through the use of interoperable data capture and networking methods.  Standards‐based object identification, sensors, controls, actuators, and connection capability provide for  the  development  of  independent  cooperative  services  and  applications  supported  by data analytics and characterized by a user‐defined degree of autonomy.” The work of this group can be found in a report and annexes to be found at http://www.iso.org/iso/jtc1_home.html. Read More »

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Disrupt or Be Disrupted: Industrial Internet of Everything at Cisco Live

I just returned from Cisco Live and the vibe was incredible. We had over 25,000 customers attend this event and additional partners and Cisco employees that pretty much took over San Diego. I had the pleasure of spending most of my time in the Connected Factory Experience Manufacturing vignette, as part of the industry stories in the World of Solutions part of the conference. This was truly the biggest business area in a key vertical for Cisco. During this time frame, I was able to speak with about 200 customers and the resounding feedback was that we are spot on with IoT, IoE and Business Outcomes. We had demonstrations in the World of Solutions that revolved around industrial use cases including security and analytics.

In customer meetings, manufacturers were looking for guidance on where to start with the Internet of Everything and Industrial IoT. In fact, John Chambers’ farewell keynote which focused on the messages of ‘Disrupt your industry or be disrupted’ resonated well with attendees. There was a strong, consistent theme of change, disruption, connecting your company and connecting your world as well as how Cisco can help. I also felt more of a sense of urgency for network and IT managers and professionals to be more engaged with the lines of business. Everyone understands that being more creative, disruptive and closer to the business positions IT to be integral to meeting industrial imperatives.

We have been working with quite a few customers to start their IoT journey. Despite IoT being a relatively recent trend, we have been working with a very innovative food manufacturing company in the Midwest who is embarking on a new facility and wanted to build the “factory of the future” or “digital Factory” and fully embraced Cisco to help them down this journey. While it is a bit easier with a green field or brand new factory, there are still issues with identification and starting pilot projects. Read More »

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