Cisco bolsters product portfolio for factory IoT

Cisco has launched security appliances and three switches for factory IoT. The devices are used in gathering and analyzing machine data in manufacturing.

Cisco has introduced switches and security products for manufacturers building internet of things IP networks to gather performance data from machinery on the factory floor.

Cisco launched this week two Industrial Ethernet (IE) switches, an Industrial Security Appliance (ISA) firewall and a new version of the company's Identity Services Engine (ISE) -- all tailored for factory IoT deployments in manufacturing.

The new products represent Cisco's latest offerings in the fast-growing IoT market. Worldwide spending on IoT technology will increase from $699 billion in 2015 to $1.3 trillion in 2019, according to IDC. In the United States, IoT spending is expected to grow from $232 billion this year to $357 billion in 2019.

The new IE 4010 and IE 1000 are switches designed to withstand the vibrations of the factory floor. The IE 4010 includes multispeed Power over Ethernet and POE+ ports that can support up to 24 factory IoT devices. Examples include Wi-Fi access points and IP surveillance cameras. The IE 1000 is a more compact switch, with POE and POE+ ports that support up to eight devices.

Along with manufacturers, Cisco is targeting equipment makers with its IoT switches. The vendor is willing to license the IE 4000, introduced last year, for use in branded factory IoT monitoring systems. 

The IE 4000 runs the last version of Cisco's Linux-based IOx operating system, which can run virtual or containerized applications. The switch includes analytics to support manufacturers' software for delivering actionable intelligence on machine-related performance problems. Companies using Cisco's technology includes Mazak Corp., which provides equipment and software for running manufacturing plants.

Cisco's latest factory IoT security

For IoT security, Cisco has strengthened its ISE appliance for the factory floor. ISE, which companies use in enterprise data centers, controls which groups of users have access to specific devices and applications.

"You now have a consistent security architecture across the network infrastructure [IoT and data centers]," said John Reno, head of Cisco IoT product marketing.

The new ISA 3000 firewall appliance is designed to enforce rules governing industrial applications, such as those from Rockwell Automation, Siemens, Schneider Electric and General Electric.

Finally, Cisco introduced a gateway that acts as an industrial router in low-power wide area networks. LP WANs enable industrial IoT at lower costs and power requirements than mobile networks. Cisco's gateway leverages the open Long-Range WAN protocol, which is used to gather information from sensors placed on equipment operating within a 12-mile radius, Reno said.

Earlier this year, Cisco acquired Jasper Technologies for $1.4 billion to add cellular connectivity to its wireless IoT portfolio. Before buying Jasper, Cisco mostly offered low-power options for static devices. Cellular is typically used for devices in motion, such as cars.

Next Steps

Clear business objectives needed when deploying industrial IoT

Marching toward standards in industrial IoT

Approaching IoT through big data

IOT companies are facing one big issue: back-end integration 

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