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Cisco’s Latest Networking Innovations: Bringing Intelligent Networks to Industrial Automation

Today, Cisco announced the Industrial Ethernet (IE) 2000 switch series which will help customers build intelligent networks for industrial automation by delivering highly secure, scalable connectivity from plant floor to enterprise network.

Cisco’s IE2000 switch series provides:
- consistent network services between industrial networks and enterprise business applications
- integrated security
- better manageability
- highly secure remote access and monitoring of automated systems
- intelligent energy management with visibility into machine performance to help customers better manage costs.

The IE2000 industrial switch also interoperates across corporate and manufacturing floor networks in a cost-effective manner to deliver video and corporate applications to manufacturing plant floor.

The IE2000 switch series is key product from our Connected Industries business unit.  According to Maciej Kranz, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Connected Industries business unit, “Major sectors of the economy are undergoing a transformation driven by new requirements around production and factory automation, traffic management, data analytics and machine-to-machine communication.  Cisco’s Connected Industries business unit was created to help customers realize the benefits of the transition to Ethernet and IP across the operational technology segments including manufacturing plants, transportation infrastructure and vehicles.”

Many of you have highlighted machine-to-machine (M2M) communications as a key consideration for organizations over the next few years.  Cisco’s own Visual Networking Index (VNI) showed that, by 2016, there will be nearly 2 billion machine-to-machine wireless connections.  This includes everything from in-car GPS systems to asset tracking systems in manufacturing and other sectors.

The result is a need to more tightly connect and integrate devices, machines and vehicles with traditional enterprise networks.  This “Industrialization of the Internet,” as Cisco calls it, will accelerate the networking industry beyond the IT and service provider (SP) networks in industries such as manufacturing and transportation.

Any industry analysts interested in more information on Cisco’s innovations for industrial automation, please contact me for details of our upcoming session with Maciej Kranz and the Connected Industries team.  This will include a more detailed overview of this announcement, more background on the Connected Industries business unit and the opportunity for Q&A.

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Trends Affecting Your Strategy for Business Video

Consider your enterprise communication strategy. Now consider the role of video in that strategy. Is video critical, best effort, nice to have, or outside the scope of your communication strategy?

Business video comes in different flavors, shapes and sizes and there is no one answer for everybody.  Your video requirements will vary depending on the size of your company, what you want to do with video, and how you want to do it.  Let’s examine different types of business video and how the latest trends are impacting the future strategies of business video as it relates to communications across mobile and social platforms.

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Profiting from the Rise of Wi-Fi

The amount of mobile data generated globally is growing very rapidly and shows no sign of abating. This growth is largely driven by smartphones, tablets and connected devices, as well as mobile applications and content.   The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) has been tracking this for quite some time – the latest update predicts that mobile data traffic will double globally in 2012 and increase by another 78 percent by 2014. 

In addition, there is a corresponding worldwide growth in the popularity of Wi-Fi. The number of Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to reach 2.7 million by 2014, with usage growing 200 percent. This growth is inspired by new enabling devices, recent technology improvements, public and private availability, and tiered mobile data plans from service providers. 

With this in mind, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has consulted with leading service providers from around the world to develop and evaluate 16 Wi-Fi business models that can provide a reasonable return on investment. Opportunities for monetization fall into four broad categories: (1) business effectiveness, (2) end-user services, (3) inter-carrier wholesale, and (4) value-added services.

For details about this and other interesting, provocative papers, go to the Service Provider Thought Leadership page of the IBSG web site.

Check it out . . .

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Policy Implications in the Rise of Mobile Broadband and Heterogenous Network Access

Over the last few months, a growing consensus has emerged pointing to a dramatic change in the way people access the Internet.

In 2011, for the first time ever, worldwide annual demand for smart phones surpassed that of PCs, laptops and tablets combined. Then last month our Mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI) Update reported that global mobile data traffic is growing even faster than previously forecasted and will increase 18-fold over the next five years.

So by this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, the ‘top of mind’ for network operators, government officials and device manufacturers was the dramatic accelerating impact that mobile data consumption will have on Internet access, networks and users.

When we launched the mobile VNI report on February 14, a panel of industry, academia and government experts glimpsed into the future of mobile broadband and related policy issues, with three key takeaways:

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Revving for the Mobility Race

A few days before Mobile World Congress, the world’s elite Formula 1 teams tested their cars and skills at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. F-1 racing is a thrilling blend of courage, precision, technology, and teamwork: the same things service providers use to compete in the race to deploy seamless, profitable mobility services.

This year was my first time at Mobile World Congress, and I got a rush from it as if I were driving an F-1. Cisco CEO John Chambers set the pace for the event, saying, “We are now entering the post-macrocell era, where small cells also will play a critical role in delivering the next generation mobile Internet.”

As part of this shift, Cisco extends its M.O.VE reference architecture for service provider mobility with two major announcements at the show. We announced the industry’s first standards-based small cell solution, providing coverage and capacity solutions built off Wi-Fi and Femto technologies.  Read More »

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