I regularly meet with customers – current and future – about their IoT initiatives. We discuss their successes, their struggles, where they are frustrated and where they are delighted. Very few have any problem telling me exactly what they expect from Cisco in IoT, and it usually has a common refrain – get me access to the outcomes I seek in the fastest, least complex way. And this informs our engineering and partnering strategy.
One of the beautiful outputs of connecting ‘things’ is unlocking access to real-time data. Next is turning that data into information and, more importantly, actions that drive business value. In trying to do so, companies are finding themselves deluged with data. So much so that demand for vast compute and storage needs have arisen, very nicely handled by public cloud providers. But the cost of transport and speed of processing has also increased, which is challenging for many uses cases such as mission-critical services (e.g. autonomous driving, factory line management).
As a result, many IoT initiatives are now distributing this computing power across the edge network, data centers, and public cloud. The benefits of local edge computing are clear:
- Make fast decisions close to the point of action
- Minimize latency in delivering data and reduce bandwidth costs
- Route and deliver specified data to appropriate targets
Making this seamless transition between intelligence at the edge and intelligence in the cloud is exactly what we’re doing in collaboration with Microsoft.
Today at the IoT World Forum in London we announced that we’re working together with Microsoft to develop the hybrid IoT solutions that businesses need to ensure the scalable, economical and secure execution of their IoT services from the edge to cloud and all points in between. As a result, Azure IoT Suite will be able to connect to Cisco Fog deployments.
For the many businesses already using Microsoft Azure to build and run their IoT applications – and for those looking for a cloud platform to do so – this will enable customers to use the platforms they love, while bringing them added value through an integrated solution. And that will benefit customers by:
- Enabling businesses to build and host their IoT applications in Microsoft Azure, while extending the power of those applications to the edge via Cisco’s leading fog computing solutions
- Bringing intelligence and processing capabilities closer to where the data is originated so that critical decisions can be processed in real time
- Optimizing costs by only sending the right data at the right time to target endpoints
Cisco and Microsoft already have a long history of collaboration in many areas, including IoT. The Cisco Jasper connectivity management platform has long been integrated into the Azure IoT Hub. In March, we partnered in the launch of the Microsoft IoT & AI Insider Labs. And earlier this year we announced the Cisco Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack, ideal for those who want the full benefits of the Azure cloud in an on-premise environment.
By working to ensure seamless interoperability between Azure IoT and Cisco IoT, we’re one step closer to fulfilling what customers are demanding – getting outcomes in the fastest, least complex way.