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3/15/2013
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Cisco CTO: Internet Of Everything Much More Than SDN

CTO Padmasree Warrior goes one-on-one with InformationWeek to explain Cisco's larger vision for Internet of Everything.

When John Chambers discussed IoE in February, he said that success will rely on open standards and cross-industry collaboration; otherwise, an object speaking one proprietary language won't be able to communicate with objects built on other proprietary platforms, limiting the extent to which different data points can be pulled together. To effectively deploy IoE on a citywide scale, for example, local leaders would need to aggregate data collected by devices from different manufacturers. If utility meters, traffic monitoring devices, atmospheric sensors and other objects all collect information autonomously and in a vacuum, their respective data points will speak only to finite use cases.

Cisco's devotion to standards is notable, given that less than a year has passed since InformationWeek survey respondents criticized the company for being too proprietary. Warrior said the results were somewhat surprising, as Cisco has advocated an open approach for years. She suggested the outgoing network model itself might be partly to blame, however; pointing out that while the command-line interfaces that typify traditional networks amount to a closed system, the new networks' API-driven compatibility translate this system into an open platform.

Warrior said that businesses must consider specific challenges when devising an IoE strategy, a recommendation that echoes John Chambers's view that companies should focus on use cases rather than technology. She said that Cisco is developing use cases for specific verticals to improve efficiency, such as a manufacturing plant that installs sensors in the factory to more accurately detect developing equipment malfunctions.

Evoking the CEO's argument for cross-industry cooperation, Warrior said that certain vertical uses cases could easily become horizontal in execution. A merchant, for example, might collaborate with the city to help customers reserve parking spots via a smartphone app, which would benefit the retailer by driving traffic to the store, the city by reducing traffic congestion and pollution, and consumers by mitigating gas costs and time lost to parking searches.

Cisco's IoE plans are already moving quickly and could pick up additional steam in October, when the company will host its Internet of Things World Forum in Barcelona, Spain. Based on the agenda discussed at a steering committee in February, when Chambers declared IoE's place in his company's plan, the conference will address revenue opportunities, standards and collaboration, as well as security, privacy concerns, social impacts and IoE availability in the developing world.

Chambers suggested that IoE's winners and losers could be determined within the next five years, if not sooner. Time will judge this statement, of course, but given that the World Forum's participant roster includes heavyweights such as General Electric, Ford, Oracle, Qualcomm and Verizon, Cisco certainly seems to have the industry's ear.

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Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/18/2013 | 10:37:01 PM
re: Cisco CTO: Internet Of Everything Much More Than SDN
Yeah, I have no idea if $14.4 trillion is a reasonable number, but I have little trouble believing that many trillions of dollars are at stake. Cisco's own research abstractly assigns $3 trillion of the total to "innovation," which injects a margin for error into the figure, without even looking at the other $11 trillion+. I don't know if the Internet of Everything will be the revolution Cisco's anticipating-- but even if the IoE disappoints, it should still a force to be reckoned with.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
3/18/2013 | 6:20:51 PM
re: Cisco CTO: Internet Of Everything Much More Than SDN
The industrial uses get pretty persuasive in a hurry, though -- connected machines where you can measure the ROI from monitor-and-analyze uses in uptime, reduced maintenance costs. I have no sense of whether that adds up to $14 trillion, but it is real cash flow savings.
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
3/15/2013 | 9:29:39 PM
re: Cisco CTO: Internet Of Everything Much More Than SDN
Cisco will have an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to open standards as the industry works out the northbound API on SDN/network virtualization controllers. Cisco certainly has the market clout to go proprietary here, so we'll see what happens.

Drew Conry-Murray
Editor, Network Computing
Paul_Travis
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Paul_Travis,
User Rank: Author
3/15/2013 | 5:36:09 PM
re: Cisco CTO: Internet Of Everything Much More Than SDN
It is hard to shake the feeling that this $14.4 trillion Internet of Everything is more wishful thinking than reality.I've been hearing about Internet-connected washing machines for years but have yet to meet anybody who wants one or is wlling to pay for one. Paul Travis, InformationWeekcom
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