Cisco's increasing focus on IoT not as a separate line of business but getting into main stream was evident from the analyst event in Bangalore held on December 8th and 9th. The strategy to develop the ecosystem and partners is continuing. The most recent partnership announced in the event is the tie-up with IL&FS to develop smart cities. The IoE strategy to connect people, products, processes and data at all levels starting from entire cities to discrete products is interesting. Feasibility studies and piloting on smaller scales have been implemented and what would be vital is to display scalability on a wider canvas. Navi Mumbai is the example implementation of a smart city for Cisco.
Computing and storage are getting commoditized with prices falling following Moore's law. Networking has been following Metcalfe's law with the boom seen in internet adoption and more importantly with the expected explosion of connected devices, but at flat networking cost. Applications of IoE in areas like Smart cities can produce massive amounts of data. This makes the case of 'fog computing' appropriate to push actionable computation to the edge of the network and not consolidate all data generated by devices at a central location for processing. Deciding what to store and process locally, how much to store, what events and insights are to be pushed to the core and what interoperability standards to use for data exchange will have to be thought out and planned well for 'fog computing' to be successful and effective in the long term. In countries like India where bandwidth is still a constraint, pushing all data to the core can make network the bottleneck. Factors like pricing, power supply, security and physical size need to be considered for computing at the edge.
Cisco believes that with the rapid explosion of applications that is happening today, an 'application centric infrastructure' that converges associated technologies is the key to manage and simplify the operations that is increasingly getting complex in the journey towards IoE. This type of infrastructure with edge computing can also vary from country to country based on the maturity of the IT landscape and acceptable price points. Products conceptualized, designed and developed in India were demonstrated - ASR 920-O, MDS 9250i, ISR 800M.
A new division called the Growth Vertical with new investments in the pipeline has been carved out and it should be interesting to see how new initiatives are supported starting all the way from 'Smart cities' to areas within an enterprise like manufacturing which are expected to undergo transformation. In manufacturing specifically, Cisco collaborates with Covacsis to implement intelligent plant frameworks. For companies looking at a refresh of their IT landscape, such a closed loop framework with IoE providing the feedback in an optimized shop floor can be a huge differentiating factor.