Cisco forms Internet of Things group

Melds existing Connected Industries, Energy and Physical Security into one business unit

Cisco has formed a business group to specifically address the Internet of Things opportunity -- sensors, industrial electronics, etc. -- which the company reiterated this week is a $14.4 trillion market. Last week, company officials said it represents $613 billion in profits in 2013.

Anyway, the new Internet of Things Group, which was announced at the Cisco Live conference this week, combines Cisco's Connected Industries, Connected Energy and Physical Security groups into a coordinated unit with consistent product development foundations and go-to-market directives. The group is led by Rob Soderbery, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Enterprise Networking Group; and Wim Elfrink, executive vice president, Industry Solutions and Chief Globalisation Officer.

Soderbery says their current duties do not change.

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The group is funded with $200 million in R&D resources, hundreds of people in development and 500 people in sales and marketing. It is focused on four vertical markets: discrete and process manufacturing; transportation; energy; and public sector.

Products folded into the Internet of Things Group include ruggedized and industrial strength wireless access points, the IE 2000 and IE 3000 industrial Ethernet switches, the ISR 819 industrial router - which Soderbery said is the "workhorse of our machine-to-machine routing" offerings - connected grid routers for the utility market, the 5915 Embedded Services Router, and the IPICS two-way radio system. Ecosystem partners include Rockwell Automation for manufacturing, and smart meter maker Itron for energy.

And even though Cisco marketing likes to say "Tomorrow Starts Here" with its Internet of Everything pitch, Soderbery made it clear that the waiting is over.

"This is a today business," he said of the Internet of Things opportunity. "This is already a multi-hundred million dollar business for us."

Cisco teams within the Internet of Things Group will be aligned along vertical markets to build out solutions in each area, which could include applications to make business process flow faster and more efficient, such as video analytics represented as a "heat map" to show where customer foot traffic was heaviest in a retail store. Internet of Things is so in vogue now that there's a confab planned for late October in Barcelona - the IoT World Forum.

"IoT is a lever on GDP," Soderbery says. "It's driving productivity. The numbers get big fast. It's very impactful from a business perspective."

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