Cisco’s IoT World Forum: 2015 inflection point?

According to Cisco’s  VP of Infrastructure and Digital Solutions Marketing, Inbar Lasser-Raab, an analyst survey revealed 58% of its respondents saying that the Internet of Things (IoT) is strategic, while the remainder are already deploying it. She pointed out, “That’s ten-percent more than last year.”

She shared thjs statistic with a hall full of attendees during her welcome keynote at Cisco’s IoT World Forum (IoTWF) in Dubai.

“IoT will touch everything, even amusement parks, “she said when going through a list of deployments that Cisco is involved in with brands like Louis Vuitton, Shell, London Gateway and more.

In fact, IDC study shows that IoT is growing double every year, and for the first time this year, business-to-business (B2B) driven IoT has overtaken business-to-consumer or B2C-driven IoT.

“IoT is becoming mainstream for businesses with 54% respondents saying that IoT will grow business opportunities.”

While other tech vendors; especially those who specialise in storage or have storage portfolios, are touting big data and analytics solutions and capabilities, Cisco has had to take it further down the stack with Internet of Things (IoT) and security solutions, to where their networking capabilities play an integral role.

Cisco President of Smart and Connected Communities, Anil Menon said, “Network being the place where everything gets connected, we better know how to make them work.”

“The strongest point of your network is not your strength, the weakest point becomes your strength,” he also said, drawing attention to the role that networks play at securing an enterprise and its information.

During his press briefing with global press later, Cisco chairman John Chambers had said 2015 was an inflection point for IoT. “It Is something that can level the playing field so that small companies can compete with big ones.”

Smart cities

Cisco has more smart city proof-of-concepts (POCs) in Dubai, than in Barcelona and Chicago combined. “And the government doesn’t think it is enough,” Anil said.

Political will is an important factor, as Dubai demonstrates with its nearly 20 POCs, but Inbar pointed out main factors that is stopping IoT from moving faster than it is right now.

She said, “We are in every industry, in every area. When it comes to interoperability, it takes a long time for IoT POCs to get together because there are many different vendors and different moving parts – security, applications, infrastructure, sensors and so on.

This has necessitated a steering committee that tries to work out what areas to accelerate and deploy faster.

Another challenge to IoT is security. “It comes into every IoT conversation. The trick to IoT success is data and analytics and acting upon it to drive something better But once you expose data, there is risk. Each sensor is your weakest point, and it could also be the highest point of strength you have,” Inbar said.

Last but not least is innovation. There may not be enough industry applications to drive wider implementation of IoT, and Inbar said that Cisco is in the process of working with customers and talking to their lines of businesses, IT folks and developers.


(This journalist was a guest of Cisco’s to their IoT World Forum in Dubai, UAE)

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