Partners Bullish That Cisco's New IoT Platform Will Overcome Internet Of Things Challenges

Partners are pumped about the new IoT Operations Platform unveiled by Cisco today; they believe Cisco's platform can solve many of the issues customers have when deploying Internet of Things solutions.

"Right now, I'm dealing with customers in the medical industry that have problems with the WannaCry [ransomware attack] because these connected medical devices are running very old operating systems – they have no updates, no ability to change the operating system, they can't scale … There's a lot of struggles with IoT," said Robert Keblusek, CTO of Sentinel Technologies, a Downers Grove, Ill., solution provider and Cisco Gold partner. "There's not really an easy platform or at scale. How do you manage and scale these things? How do you secure them at scale? These are all questions I think Cisco's platform can answer."

Cisco recently finished a survey of 1,845 business IoT leaders which found that 60 percent of IoT initiatives stalled at the proof-of-concept stage. Of the 40 percent of the IoT projects that made it through to the pilot stage, only 26 percent were deemed successful by business leaders.

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"With current tools, there's not enough technical talent to get most projects to make the leap from prototype to production. There's often not enough capacity or reliability in the network, either," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's IoT and applications businesses, in a blog post. "Without a coherent set of tools like [the IoT Operations Platform], the real world will continue to get in the way of IoT deployments."

The two main failure points for IoT projects revolved around technology integration complexity – such as blending networking platforms, new products and services, and data-gathering tools together – as well as lack of internal expertise, according to the survey.

Cisco's new Cisco IoT Operations Platform aims to solve these issues with its three main components: connection management at scale, data delivery and fog computing.

Kent MacDonald, vice president of business development at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based Cisco partner, said Cisco's fog computing is a perfect tool for the IoT platform.

"Fog is at the edge of the cloud and makes the best decisions for you," said MacDonald. "You're moving only the data that's relevant or impactful from the edge back to your core or your central operations. Fog computing takes processing to the edge to give better decisions at the edge."

Regarding scale, Trollope said the IoT platform was built to manage the exploding number of IoT devices coming online. The platform also contains scalable tools for filtering and distribution to ensure the right data streams go to the right networks, applications, data stores and people.

"These new tools will make it easier to spin-up and maintain huge fleets of connected devices from unified applications," Trollope said.

Partners said they have been expanding and investing in bulking up their Cisco IoT practice over the past two years.

"We all see IoT as a growth opportunity with the millions of devices that are potentially going to be connected and to have a platform like this go to market with – and bring Cisco's networking experience in the IoT world – to me, this creates a great growth opportunity for channel partners," said Long View's MacDonald.

Sentinel's Keblusek said Cisco has been making the right moves in the IoT market over the past few years, including its $1.4 billion acquisition of Jasper Technologies last year.

"With the fog networking, Jasper they acquired, then just the legacy of handling routing and traffic, plus the analytics they've building … Cisco's in an awesome position to come out with an architecture around IoT like this to address a lot of the open issues that exist around an IoT deployment," said Keblusek.

Cisco's IoT Operations Platform will become available for the channel to sell later this year.