- Cisco’s recently launched IoT System aligns well with the company’s continuing commitment to IoT sales and solutions, not to mention the need to educate the market on IoT solution components.
- Where the launch falls short is in tying IoT to the service provider (SP).
Cisco has taken time in the past to outline the foundational components of IoT solutions. It’s “Internet of Things System” launch from late June, however, took this one step further in outlining solution building blocks, along with its own efforts to deliver new products supporting these solutions. What it didn’t do was to link these solutions to SP networks or agendas.
Cisco’s IoT System focuses on six “pillars” or IoT technology components: Network Connectivity, Fog Computing, Security, Data Analytics, Management and Automation, Application Enablement. As the market still grapples with what it takes to execute on the promise of IoT, this type of messaging makes sense. If nothing else, it’s solid marketing logic for Cisco to continually highlight its commitment to the space, a commitment that includes R&D and a willingness to partner where needed.
Where Cisco, in the past, has also argued for the critical role of the SP in making IoT a reality, a lack of SP-specific components in the IoT System is worth noting. To be fair, it’s not Cisco’s job to connect everything it does to the SP market or SP opportunities. Yet in an effort to drive IoT forward, ignoring SPs in the new solution launch is either a major mistake or an acknowledgment that the SP simply isn’t needed to make IoT work. Whether or not Cisco is explicitly ignoring the role of the SP in IoT is up for debate. Yet there are several links that could have easily been made to make the connection clearer.
- Fog and Edge Computing. NFV is helping SPs move computing and application deliver to the edge of their network – similar to the concept of Fog Computing. Yet how the two concepts play together was absent from the launch messaging.
- Multi-Layer Security. Cisco’s made it clear that it sees end-to-end security as strategic SP imperative, one it’s ready to support with solutions like its FirePOWER offer and associated partners. The IoT System launch, however, focused more on physical security and not the broader end-to-end requirements.
- Use Case Marketing. Cisco is a master of leveraging use cases and customer references to build credibility. So why were no SPs mentioned in the launch?
It may not be incumbent on Cisco to explicitly call out opportunities for SPs or the links between new products and SP strategies. If the vendor truly believes that there is a role for the SP in moving IoT forward, however, it needs to be more explicit in messaging how its solutions fit SP needs.