Cisco has had a jam-packed week at DistribuTECH last week. This year’s conference – held in San Antonio, Texas – was a great opportunity to talk with some of our key stakeholders. A highlight of the week was a very exciting announcement around a new open application framework that will drive Internet of Things innovations– called IOx.

Wednesday morning, I was joined by Cisco partners Itron, Alstom and OSIsoft to help deliver the news.  IOx is a software architecture that will impact many of Cisco’s products. The platform combines open-source Linux and Cisco IOS, to allow industries across all different segments to build applications that leverage sensor data and compute closer to the network edge (for a more in-depth look at IOx, have a look at this blog post). Soon to be embedded onto Cisco networked hardware, IOx delivers on our vision of fog computing. With the massive amount of data expected to be generated in the Internet of Things, this new computing model is necessary to parse out only the most important data back to the network (abnormalities, essentially); this will help save heaps of bandwidth, while enabling real-time responses. Itron, Alstom and OSIsoft were on-stage to provide some insight into how IOx will impact their businesses and customers.

This new platform comes at a pivotal time for many industries. As the age of the Internet of Things grows, traditional infrastructures will break down. We need a new way of doing things – and that is where distributed computing comes in. Previously, utilities needed separate platforms for everything they monitored – water, energy, gas – which became a major pain point for the industry. IOx breaks down these barriers and allows for much-needed convergence. Industries no longer lack the platform – the computing fabric – that can do everything that the industry needs. The utilities have the control.

This sentiment was backed by our partners on the panel. Stewart Young of OSIsoft told attendees, “It is getting harder and harder to measure our consumer usage. With the popularity of car charging stations and solar energy panels on rooftops, it is becoming difficult to tell exactly how much energy is being produced and how much is being used. IOx gives us much more insight and flexibility.” It is because of these stories from our customers and partners that I believe IOx is what the industry is looking for and what utilities need. For a full look at exactly how OSIsoft is using the platform, see the video of the demonstration below (skip to 21:00 for the demo).

Not only are our partners currently using the platform, but they are also excited about the future implications. “The way we manage energy and water will shape this next century,” Russ Vanos of Itron said on Wednesday. “IOx represents innovation enablement, which is what we are most excited about.”

Also, by allowing for BYOI (Bring Your Own Interface) and BYOA (Bring Your Own Application), deployment and enablement of the platform is incredibly simple. Companies have been able to get the platform up and running in a matter of hours, easily synching their interface and applications to the platform. To demonstrate, OSIsoft shared how they were able to start collecting data almost immediately after introducing the platform.

While last Wednesday’s event was focused on the grid, IOx goes far beyond this as well. For instance, the platform can be deployed by a rail company or transportation fleet to facilitate fleet communication or Positive Train Control (PTC). Municipalities can also find value in the platform to deploy smart city applications like intelligent street lighting and smart parking. Regardless of the industry, be it utilities, rail or manufacturing, customers are asking for the same types of capabilities – to be able to leverage the data in their infrastructures and react in real-time without causing massive bandwidth issues. Fog computing represents the next wave of computing power. As we move into the world of the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything, change is necessary. Cisco is helping to pave the path.

View the announcement below:

View the partner discussion below: