Cisco Partner Summit Day 1: IoT Getting Real

Cisco Partner Summit Day 1: IoT Getting Real

By Lorna Garey / April 28, 2015

CISCO PARTNER SUMMIT 2015 — Cisco kicked off its 2015 partner summit on Monday, hosting 2,200 global partners and 70 press and analyst attendees. The choice of Montreal complements the company’s continued IoT push; Canada is a top user of Internet of Things analytics in its oil and gas industry, and Toronto will be the site of one of eight new IoT innovation centers, opening in September. New Cisco Canada president Bernadette Wightman says the facility will be the "smartest building in North America" — each light fixture will have its own IP address.

Steve Steinhilber, vice president of strategic alliances at Cisco, said the company expects enterprises to spend more than $40 billion globally in 2015 designing, implementing and operating the Internet of Things. The company sees the split as 75/25 private sector/public sector and has 38 IoT-specialized partners, with an additional 94 going through the training process. ABI Research just released numbers estimating that spending on IoT analytics alone will be $5.7 billion by the end of this year, with an anticipated five-year CAGR of 30 percent, so Cisco is not alone in seeing big revenue potential. One limiter is expertise: Data scientists are in high demand, and without analytics ability, IoT deployments will not reach their potential.

Channel Partners has weighed in on Cisco’s rather laser-like IoT focus before. At the event launch session, execs worked hard to demonstrate real-world IoT projects that can start delivering on this promise, even using telepresence to loop in Gordon Adie, managing director of Cisco partner Arrowdawn, from a drilling rig in the North Sea to highlight the security benefits of IoT. Besides oil and gas, use cases focused on smart buildings and smart cities.

Two areas where smaller partners could adopt some IoT technology sooner rather than later: security and using IoT to help customers save on energy costs.

Among the security-focused IoT products highlighted by Kip Compton, vice president and general manager, IoT systems and software, were Cisco’s Video Surveillance Manager and Physical Access Manager. Compton said the company plans to continue to expand security offerings to treat video cameras as just another type of sensor. Security is one area where CIOs are willing to invest, and merging physical and logical security while increasing analytics capabilities is a smart way to spend those funds.

For partners serving municipal governments, Cisco highlighted its partnership with Sensity Systems. Sean Harrington, SVP of sales and marketing for Sensity, pointed out that there are 1 billion outside lights in North America, and that LED changeover is happening. Since municipalities are touching the poles, why not have partners install sensors with cameras and embedded storage, thus enabling lighting management, security and traffic tracking, as well as delivering open data to enable appsthat notify those looking for parking when spots open up?

In response to a question about security and bandwidth, Harrington said the company addresses those concerns by placing storage in the sensors and transferring data only as it’s needed for analysis. Cisco’s Steinhilber held up Kansas City, Missouri, as an example of smart technology; Kansas City will spend more than $3.7 million with Cisco and partners over the next 10 years.

Dan Utech, White House deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, wrote that outdoor lighting in the U.S. will cost cities about $10 billion annually, and that local governments can cut their outdoor lighting bills by 50 percent or more using new technologies. The administration launched in January the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting, which offers financing and technical assistance in hopes of upgrading 1.5 million poles to high-efficiency lighting. Partners have an opportunity to help municipal clients maximize that investment.

On the docket Tuesday: Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers and Bruce Klein, senior vice president, worldwide partner organization, on more ways to capture on IoT technologies. 

Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.