SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Cisco Systems has created a new business unit and investment fund for the Internet of Things. The move is the latest example of how IoT is impacting top-level business decisions in and outside the tech industry, according to a new study commissioned by ARM.
Cisco combined three smaller business units into one larger group focused on the smart grid, physical security, and vertical industries. The group starts its life with five existing product families focused on industrial markets such as transportation, manufacturing, and utilities.
The group's engineers will work to add to the portfolio more ruggedized switches, routers, and gateways. They also will continue to develop software that encapsulates onto Internet Protocol legacy protocols from a variety of vertical markets.
"As processing moves closer to the edge of the network, people are asking for ruggedized Ethernet and routing -- we are connecting the unconnected," said Guido Jouret, general manager of the new Internet of Things Group and former head of a Cisco incubator that gave birth to its video conferencing and other products.
"Now we are adding SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition] systems to the network, and they have unique requirements in latency and determinism," he said in a phone interview.
Cisco also created an IoT initiative leveraging executives from multiple groups to spawn company-wide projects and oversee investments in the area. The company earmarked funds for investments in IoT startups, but did not say how large the fund is or whether it is in addition to existing Cisco venture funds.
Many other big corporations are re-thinking their future in light of the Internet of Things and the flood of data it may generate. One large medical equipment supplier just completed an internal strategy for connecting its currently stand-alone hospital and personal systems in ways that could generate new services.
According to a new study of the business impact of IoT from the Economist Intelligence Unit, the moves inside these companies are typical of what's happening in many businesses in and outside the tech industry.