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Cisco NZ boss to resellers: Embrace IoT and reap the rewards

30 Jun 15

Cisco New Zealand boss Geoff Lawrie is urging Kiwi resellers to get ready for the opportunities internet of things brings, as the vendor bulks up its IoT portfolio with 15 new offerings and a ‘framework for the transformation of industries’.

Lawrie, Cisco New Zealand country manager, says internet of things is the next large growth horizon for the networking industry and is important not just for Kiwi resellers, but the New Zealand economy as a whole.

“There is a lot of stuff that happens around the world that we have a hard job scaling to New Zealand, just because of the size of our economy. But this is one of those things that can work at our scale and will be one of the things that keeps New Zealand at the front of the productivity curve in key areas like agriculture,” he says.

“How well we understand and embrace this stuff will be an essential determinant of whether we remain the most productive agricultural nation on the planet.”

Lawrie says the next stage of productivity will be driven not by working harder, but by IoT.

“We are as intense and hard working as we can be. The next phase is about getting really smart and IoT is the thing that provides all of the data and analytical capability that will enable that.”

For resellers, that means the opportunities presented by IoT are huge.

“This is something that will have an implication for almost every industry and vertical in New Zealand,” Lawrie says, adding that manufacturing, transportation, agriculture and consumer applications and home automations will all be early leaders.

“You’d be hard pressed to think of an industry where there won’t be some kind of innovation around this and so, regardless of where resellers currently make their money and what verticals or geographies they are involved in, this is something that will have some relevance to where they are. And all of the customers they have will be looking for help around this stuff.”

Lawrie says manufacturing organisations will be looking for help around industrial level automation and products specific to that. Transportation and logistics companies will be looking for help about doing telemetry across their vehicles consolidate and analyse the data, the sensors and information they need and the management or reporting template they need to wrap around it all.

“Everywhere you look, this is an initiative that is going to have some relevance and every company looking to use it will be looking for help in terms of how they implement, manage, report and do analytics across it,” Lawrie says.

But he cautions that New Zealand resellers are ‘undoubtably not’ as prepared for IoT as they will need to be.

“And it may be a whole raft of new resellers that do this stuff,” he warns.

“If resellers are still thinking that their business model is installing and supporting PCs and that sort of stuff, that will remain a relatively low value part of what we do, but the value part of the reseller equation is going to come out of embracing stuff like this.

“Not all resellers will lift with the tide, but then that’s the nature of our industry.

“It is those guys who understand and embrace where it is going to be coming from and where people are prepared to pay for value. And this is one of those areas because it has such an incredible ability to impact the economics of business productivity and utility we get out of things like home automation.”

Cisco IoT portfolio bolstered

Lawrie says today’s announcement from Cisco of the new offerings and framework are an attempt to ‘evolve the industry from individual innovation to industry-wide momentum around some platform standards’.

Cisco’s new IoT System includes six technology elements, or ‘pillars’ that Cisco says when combined together into an architecture help reduce the complexities of digitisation with an infrastructure designed to manage large scale systems of diverse endpoints and platforms, and the data deluge they create.

Included in the six pillars are network connectivity, with purpose-built routing, switching and wireless products, fog computing – a distributed computing infrastructure for IoT which extends compute capability, and therefore data analytics, to the edge of networks; and security.

Data analytics, management and automation, and application enablement platform offering a set of APIs for industries and cities, ecosystem partners and third-party vendors to design, develop and deploy their own applications on the foundation of IoT System capabilities, round out the list.

The vendor also released more than 15 new IoT products including purpose built networking products including an industrial switch and routers, and a wireless access point for connected mass transit systems and city Wi-Fi.

New physical and cyber security offerings, including IP cameras and physical security analytics were also launched along with Fog Data Services in the data analytics arena.

Management and automation tools including management software to allow operators to monitor and customise IoT network infrastructure for industrial scale, and Fog Director for central management of multiple applications running at the edge also joined the Cisco IoT line-up.

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