Cisco this week unveiled an updated line of Ethernet switches at the Hanover Messe Industrial Automation trade fair in Germany this week. Cisco has reinforced its commitment to the industrialization of the Internet with this new series of switches aimed squarely at the industrial market. The IE 2000 series is an extension of Cisco's current industrial Ethernet product lines, the Catalyst 2955 and the IE 3000 series. They are intended to address the expansion of machine-to-machine communications on factory floors and in other industrial environments.
"Major sectors of the economy Relevant Products/Services are undergoing a transformation driven by new requirements around production and factory automation, traffic management, data analytics and machine Relevant Products/Services-to-machine communication," said Maciej Kranz, vice president and general manager, Connected Industries business unit.
Cisco believes that by 2016 there will be nearly 2 billion machine-to-machine wireless connections -- including GPS systems in cars and asset tracking systems in shipping and manufacturing sectors. Thus the need to more tightly connect and integrate devices, machines and vehicles with traditional enterprise networks, the networking giant says.
The new switches are designed to enhance the communication between the industrial environments and enterprise business applications by providing consistent network services between the two. They enhance security and manageability by providing secure remote access and monitoring of automated systems. According to Cisco, they also have the capability to manage and monitor energy usage with visibility into machine performance as well as, deliver video and other corporate applications to manufacturing plant floors. Over all, these improvements should help Cisco customers manage costs better.
Cisco predicts that this “Industrialization of the Internet” as they refer to it, will accelerate the networking industry in industries such as manufacturing and transportation. Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research said, “It’s a niche for sure. It's still probably about a $1 billion market. That's nothing to sneeze at. When you look at factory environments, they are connecting far more to the network than just users of PCs and IP phones. Cisco's got the scale to afford to put a lot of investment dollars into this niche whereas companies like Juniper are fighting to grow their overall share."
He went on to say, "There's a lot of automation systems and environmental systems in buildings. For Cisco, it's an important part of their overall story as the network-as-a-platform. They are trying to show that the network can do more than just connect people to the Internet. A lot of the things it connects aren't mobile, so the wired connection becomes very important."
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