- Cisco held its third annual IoT World Forum in Dubai from December 6-8. Attendance at the event exploded year-to-year, with dozens of Cisco customers reporting positive results from IoT deployments focused on simplifying and automating workflows; making employees more efficient and innovative; and building more customized experiences for customers.
- As it continues to expand and refine its IoT strategy, Cisco is relying heavily on its roster of partners with deeper customer relationships, particularly in the manufacturing industry. Building on its traditional strength in IT, Cisco is relying on partners to expand Cisco into OT systems such as control, safety, sensors, actuators and the like where it has not traditionally participated.
- Complexity remains a key challenge to IoT deployments, particularly in the industrial setting. One clear theme that emerged from Cisco and its customers is that there is a strong role for a “system of systems” provider that can build, manage and integrate communication networks, smart devices from multiple vendors, plant equipment, again from multiple vendors. This need was voiced by Cisco, many of its strategic partners and customers, but it remains unclear which group of vendors is best positioned to fill this role.
- Cisco provided details on its newly formed IoT software group, which was formed by reorganizing a handful of internal assets and embarking on a hiring plan to attract new ideas from outside the company. The software unit remains small and the company is still strategizing on how best to position itself within the IOT software stack.
- Cisco’s IoT strategy is inexorably linked to its digital strategy, both internally and in positioning with customers. As IoT matures, Cisco is correctly recognizing that many companies will see IoT as part of a larger focus on digital.