ORLANDO, Fla. -- As far as Cisco Systems Inc. is concerned, the Internet of Things is more than a marketing buzzword.
The networking giant has quietly organized a Cisco Internet of Things business unit, which it unveiled to the press at this week's Cisco Live. This cross-platform group is headed by Rod Soderbery, senior vice president of the enterprise networking group, and Wim Elfrink, chief globalization officer and executive vice president of emerging solutions.
Soderbery said the Cisco Internet of Things business unit is a formal consolidation of several different initiatives within the company that emerged to serve vertical markets such as transportation, manufacturing, smart grid and smart cities.
"The Internet of Things group has 500 people working in it and over $200 million is going to R&D [research and development] and go-to-market resources," Soderbery said.
A world where everything is connected to the network
Gary Moorechief operating officer, Cisco Systems Inc.
The Internet of Things is the concept of connecting objects -- from automobiles and electronics to medical devices and appliances -- to the network in order to extract data from them. A platform built on top of an Internet of Things can then analyze and take action on that data.
Soderbery pointed to an airport as an example. An Internet of Things can improve how an airport tracks large equipment and get that equipment in and out of service more quickly. It can analyze how airplanes are processed from the time they land to the time they take off, and can find efficiency in those methods.
"Reducing the turnaround time on an airplane by 5 minutes can add millions in revenue over the course of a year," Soderbery said.
Several product categories have been rolled into the Cisco Internet of Things business, among them industrial wireless, industrial switching, industrial routing and physical security.
The new unit also incorporates Cisco equipment, such as the vendor's Integrated Services Router (ISR) 819. The small device is equipped with 3G/4G uplinks and Wi-Fi downlinks. A transit agency, for example, could install the router on its buses to track telemetry data and thus enable it to route those buses more effectively. The router could also feed security video footage to an operations center, giving management the ability to view events as they occur.
Chambers: Market pegged at $14 trillion
During his keynote presentation at Cisco Live on Tuesday, Cisco CEO John Chambers said the Internet of Things represents a $14 trillion global revenue opportunity for the companies that invest in it.
Chief Operating Officer Gary Moore added, "This past February we hosted 68 customers and partners from 18 countries to talk about the Internet of Things. We brought them all together and helped them start the dialog and think about processes, standards and how do we monetize this moving forward? Companies that don't embrace this are going to get left behind."
Soderbery said the market potential reflects the technology's overall impact on gross domestic product, driven primarily by productivity enhancements.
"This is a unique opportunity for IT pros and especially networking pros to get engaged in driving the business in fundamentally new ways," Soderbery said.
Cisco will co-sponsor and host an Internet of Things World Forum in Barcelona, Spain this October. The event, aimed at raising the profile of the concept, will bring together key market leaders, Cisco said.