Cisco Systems is preparing for a major shift in the industry, as the Internet of Things starts to become a reality. At an annual press event in San Jose, California this week, Cisco officials claimed that the much-anticipated IoT industry could be a $14 trillion opportunity, and they are ready to embrace the change.
Rob Lloyd, president of sales and development at Cisco, told the press that he believes as many as 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020, from which, he believes, the $14 trillion business opportunity will stem. The trend will create business opportunities initially in manufacturing, but extend into government, energy and health care, he said, as sensors will become part of traffic systems, hospitals, refineries and other civil and business infrastructures. These opportunities will extend far beyond today’s budgets for computer and communication systems.
An ambitious plan for Cisco, though some might recall that Cisco’s CEO has announced this plan before. Last year, John Chambers, Cisco’s chairman and chief executive, told the press that he expects the company will experience a shift in customers, handling government and large businesses’ projects such as designing and managing systems for clean water or efficient traffic.
“The first 10 years (of the commercial Internet) were really about transactions, and the last 10 were about interactions,” Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s chief technology and strategy officer, told the press this week. “The next 10 is about processes being more efficient.”
However, the IoT space is already presenting plenty of challenges. Cisco is working with utilities worldwide in the hopes that 10 million smart meters will be deployed by the end of the year, supporting IoT protocol. Cisco has already deployed about $180 billion worth of network equipment into the world, Warrior said, and will build hardware and software that interacts efficiently with the legacy gear, so new kinds of intelligent systems can be quickly deployed.
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