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Cisco prepares application platform for Internet of Things

Company claims its IoT vision goes far beyond ruggedised switches, routers, wireless and boxes

By Sophie Curtis, TechWorld
January 31, 2013 02:45 PM ET

TechWorld - Cisco is working on a platform for the Internet of Things (IoT), that will enable customers in multiple industry sectors to rapidly deploy and manage their machine-to-machine (M2M) applications.

At the Cisco Live event in London yesterday, Robert Soderbery, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Enterprise Networking Group, showed off a range of products that he said were "IoT-ready".

These included ruggedised WiFi access points like the Aironet 1550 Series, connected grid products like the 2000 Series Connected Grid Router, and industrial switches like the IE 3000 Series, as well as a selection of smaller embedded devices for the automotive and military industries.

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However, Soderbery said that Cisco would not be revealing its complete vision for the IoT until next year, because the company's vision goes far beyond just ruggedised switches, routers, wireless and boxes.

"We're looking to deliver an IoT platform which will enable you to rapidly and easily deploy IoT applications, manage those applications and present them to your application development community who can think up all the great things to do with these products," he said.

Cisco executive demonstration manager Sean Curtis went on to show off some of the things that Cisco Labs have been working on in the IoT space. Much of these centre around Jabber - Cisco's UC platform that combines instant messaging, voice, video, desktop sharing, and conferencing.

Curtis showed how sensors on the network could be used to provide presence information for Jabber users. For example, when the user enters his or her office, motion detectors on the door would trigger the lights to turn on and change the user's Jabber status to 'available'.

Using the GPS in the user's smartphone, Jabber would be able to keep track of whether the user remains in his office or goes elsewhere. If a second person enters the office and closes the door - indicating that a private meeting is going on - the user's Jabber status will switch to 'busy'.

Driving home, the accelerometer in the user's phone could be used to indicate whether he is available to talk. If he leaves his phone face-up on the passenger seat, his Jabber status will remain available, but if it is face-down he will appear as unavailable.

Jabber will also provide suggestions on how best to contact the user, based on their current activity. For example, if they are stationary and in their office, they might be contactable by phone, SMS or email, but if they are in a private meeting, the application will recommend voicemail or email only.

"These sensors on the network are going to provide information, but it's what we do with that information that really improves the experience, and how we change business processes - that's really what the Internet of Everything is about," said Curtis.

The Internet of Everything was one of the topics highlighted in Cisco's Connected World Technology Report, which provides insight into the attitudes of the world's next generation of workers.

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