Cisco says its IoT parts are now a whole

The company's Internet of Things System combines many products, adds 15 more

The IR 829 industrial access point, with Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities, was one of 15 products that Cisco Systems introduced as part of its Cisco IoT System on Monday, June 29, 2015.

The IR 829 industrial access point, with Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities, was one of 15 products that Cisco Systems introduced as part of its Cisco IoT System on Monday, June 29, 2015.

The Internet of Things System that Cisco Systems introduced on Monday at long last ties together a broad range of IoT parts from the company, but users may want to take a close look at what this really gives them.

Cisco formed an IoT division two years ago out of groups dedicated to industrial networks and smart electrical grids. It saw that those technologies were part of a larger trend, but turning them into a cohesive set of products took time.

"In 2013, when we pulled this stuff together, it didn't work as well together as it should," said Kip Compton, vice president of Cisco's Internet of Things Systems and Software group. "We're now feeling like we're at a point where we can claim that."

The Internet of Things System spans all the parts of infrastructure that go into an IoT deployment, including communications gear, computing elements, security and management software, Cisco says. Some of those already exist, but while announcing the system on Monday, the company also introduced 15 products that will be part of it. They include routers, a switch, a Wi-Fi access point, security cameras, and tools for gathering data from the edges of the network for analysis. All will ship within 90 days, Compton said.

Some core features of the IoT System, such as Cisco's TrustSec role-based security technology, will exist across the company's IoT line. Another common thread is IoT Field Network Director, built from management software tools Cisco already had.

Field Network Director is designed to manage all the elements of an IoT deployment. For example, it can manage smart meters and the routers connected to them as well as mobile routers built into maintenance trucks. That combination, plus location-based capabilities in the software, could allow a utility to detect failed meters and quickly tell which of its repair trucks was closest to the failure.

IoT Field Network Director can be added to Cisco products already in the field, Compton said. It can also feed information into applications from other vendors through APIs (application programming interfaces).

The Cisco IoT System is just part of the company's broader Internet of Everything initiative, which includes data analytics and the business transformations that Cisco says will become possible with connected things. Cisco is primarily in the business of IoT infrastructure rather than applications or connected "things" themselves, Compton said. It works with numerous partners, including General Electric and Rockwell Automation, that make those components.

However, when it comes to integrating third-party elements into Cisco's infrastructure, the same rules apply in IoT as in traditional networking. Cisco supports standard communications and management protocols, but specific enhancements added by Cisco and other vendors won't necessarily work across both Cisco and third-party gear, Compton said.

A complete architecture like Cisco's can have benefits to enterprises and the system integrators that often put together IoT infrastructures for them, said analyst Andy Castonguay of Machina Research.

"They're trying to make this transition for enterprises easier than what was there before," he said.

For one thing, going with Cisco's IoT System may reduce an enterprise's reliance on middleware vendors or developers to make disparate systems work together, Castonguay said.

Still, enterprise decision-makers are faced with complex decisions as they look at emerging products and the legacy IoT gear they may already have, Castonguay said. Any vendor's overall system needs to offer real benefits.

"It's going to be important for enterprises and operators to push back on companies -- not just Cisco," he said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetCisco SystemsInternet of Things

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?