The announcement is coming later today, but Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins gave a quick preview this morning during the company’s annual Global Editors Conference, held at Cisco headquarters in San Jose, California.
The focus with Fanuc isn’t just about connecting robots together. It’s more about analytics — using real-time information to make the manufacturing floor more efficient.
Without giving specifics, Robbins referred to the partnership already connecting “300,000 robots on the manufacturing floor” and saving $38 million for Fanuc’s customers, “getting analytics out of machines to know well ahead that they have a problem.” Downtime for these machines can cost a company $16,000 per minute in lost work, Robbins said, so predictive maintenance could be big for some operations.
Most of the talk in IoT, at least around Silicon Valley, has focused on the consumer side — refrigerators and automobiles — but there’s a lot of progress already being made on the industrial side, going beyond automation to build a fully intelligent IoT movement. Cisco clearly wants to be a player in that sector.
More generally, Cisco thinks its business could benefit greatly from IoT, not just for the networking gear Cisco could sell but also because of the implications in areas such as analytics and security. The vast, distributed nature of IoT could lead companies to select architectures — Cisco’s calling card — rather than best-of-breed products, Robbins said. Security could be a key example; Robbins called out the “45 to 50” security products a large IT shop might select today versus Cisco’s single-architecture approach.
“I do believe this is bigger than the first wave of the Internet,” Robbins said of IoT and digitization. “It has to be,” because of the sheer number of things being connected, he said.