Cisco upgrades one IoT platform and announces another

by Dave Michels

Following Cisco’s launch last week of its Digital Network Architecture (DNA), which delivers intent-based networking solutions and services, this week’s Cisco Live event in Las Vegas was highly focused on networking. Only a few announcements were made, but the Internet of Things (IoT) made the cut.

Cisco’s approach to IoT has been difficult to grasp because it crosses so many divisions. Its largest IoT unit, Cisco Jasper, is exclusively focused on cellular-connected devices.

Jahangir Mohammed, founder and CEO of Jasper, arrived at Cisco when his company was acquired in early 2016. Mohammed now leads Cisco’s overall IoT strategy, which includes two major platforms: Jasper and the newly announced Kinetic.

Jasper Control Center 7.0

Enterprise customers use the Cisco Jasper Control Center platform to manage cellular-connected IoT devices. The service provides real-time control and visibility to launch, manage and monetize IoT deployments.

Today, Jasper is distributed by 50 service providers that span across 120 countries. According to Cisco, Jasper currently supports over 11,000 enterprises with 43 million devices—adding about 1.5 million new devices each month.

Cisco announced Jasper Control Center 7.0, which expands the service in several ways.

Control Center 7 provides customers with more options. Customers can now upgrade to an advanced offering intended for large-scale or complex implementations. There are also new options for improved reporting and control over network traffic, plus an enhanced security option based on Cisco Umbrella threat protection.

With Control Center 7.0, a new analytics package is available to assist organizations in understanding current and historical trends. This data can identify anomalies in usage or performance to proactively avoid disruptions.

Prior releases of Control Center have been limited to traditional cellular services (2G/3G/4G). With release 7.0, Jasper Control Center will support two low-power WAN (LPWAN) solutions: LTE-M and NB-IoT. Both provide half-duplex connections intended to reduce connectivity costs and extend battery life. Additional low-power connectivity options are planned.

LPWAN technologies are expected to enable new IoT business models, such as value-centric and outcome-driven services.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature of Control Center 7 is a new integration with Cisco Spark. It is common for an IoT event to trigger the need for discussion and collaboration perhaps to resolve a problem. By integrating with Spark, a virtual meeting place can automatically be created for participants to communicate, share and log their activities.

Cisco Kinetic

Cisco Kinetic is a newly announced IoT operations platform. It encompasses connection management, fog computing and data delivery for all types of connected things. It extends the southbound connection from the edge to the thing itself.

Kinetic is new today, but it is envisioned to outgrow Jasper. Kinetic is not limited to cellular services and will encompass all kinds of wired and wireless devices. It leverages some Jasper technology.

Kinetic complements Jasper and Cisco DNA. Kinetic and Jasper together represent Cisco’s IoT platform portfolio.

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