Cisco yesterday announced new IoT networking products and developer tools to boost scale, flexibility, and security for industrial IoT deployments. The hardware that Cisco announced – new Catalyst switches and an Integrated Services router for the network edge – are arguably not as important as the company’s related news of IoT developer tools and partner training, several analysts said.
“As I look at companies deploying IoT solutions, one of the stumbling blocks for success is the customer experience of end-to-end integration and delivery of services,” explained Vernon Turner, an analyst at Causeway Connections.
“It is great to see that Cisco is bringing its developer community to the edge of the network,” Turner added. “This announcement takes Cisco’s IoT strategy to a more pragmatic approach for industry and IT groups rather than deliver a piecemeal product-only offering.”
Zeus Kerravala, analyst at ZK Research, called the Cisco announcement “brilliant” because it is designed to help enterprise IT shops deal with “IoT havoc as the network edge is now stretched to the last connected device.” Such devices range from parking meters to autonomous cars, point-of-sales terminals, and even oil rigs.
With the announcement, Cisco brings its intent-based networking (IBN) concept to the IoT edge, giving IT shops better visibility into IoT and automating management and security processes, Kerravala added.
The switches and routers Cisco announced are “necessary but not sufficient,” so it’s fortunate that Cisco is supplementing the gear with validated designs, IoT developer support, and certifications, added MachNation analyst Steve Hilton.
Cisco, with more than 40,000 IoT customers, is also helping to bridge the gaps between IT and OT (operational technology) that is used in manufacturing to control processes and robots, said Will Townsend, an analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
“I believe IT and OT will converge over time and Cisco is well positioned to manage all of it from a single instance and single pane of glass,” Townsend said. “Security has been a gap for OT and Cisco can help address this and do it at scale.”
Townsend added that Cisco’s biggest competition in this arena will be Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)/Aruba and some smaller startups. But, he noted that Cisco’s large customer base and end-to-end approach will give it an advantage.
IHS Market recently ranked China’s Huawei as the world’s biggest IoT platform vendor, while Cisco ranked second. Microsoft and PTC rounded out the top four spots. Other large vendors in the space are Alibaba, Amazon Web Services (AWS), GE, IBM, and SAP.
Cisco’s latest announcement included a new IoT Developer Center, complete with new tools and support.
The new Catalyst IE3300 rugged switch (one in a series) starts at $1,036, and the new Integrated Services IR1101 Rugged router starts at $1,700, a Cisco spokesman said. Both are available now and run on Cisco IOS XE, which powers intent-based networking across campus, branch, and WAN settings. Cisco’s DNA Center also provides a single view of networking across a campus, branch, and IoT setting.
Cisco collaborated with Enedis, a power grid operator in France, on the new router. The utility used field network director software for provisioning thousands of Cisco routers backed by a network running IPv6.