Beth Schultz
Beth Schultz is editor of No Jitter and program co-chair for Enterprise Connect. Beth has more than two decades of...
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Beth Schultz | February 04, 2016 |


Cisco & IoT, But Where's the UC?

Cisco & IoT, But Where's the UC? Industry vendors have yet to deliver compelling stories that weave together IoT and enterprise communications strategies.

Industry vendors have yet to deliver compelling stories that weave together IoT and enterprise communications strategies.

As industry watcher Andrew Prokop tells us this week in his No Jitter slideshow, "Internet of Things: Hardware," if you haven't been paying attention to the IoT, then "you've been missing out on one of the most important technology trends in the last several years." I'm happy to report we here at No Jitter and the Enterprise Connect program planning headquarters haven't let IoT escape our notice.

Frankly, I'm surprised anybody could. Turn any which way these days and you're sure to encounter an IoT mention. A mere 24 hours ago, for example, word out of Cisco was that it intends to purchase Jasper Technologies for its cloud-based IoT service platform.

As Rob Salvagno, VP of corporate business development at Cisco, wrote in a blog announcing the $1.4 billion deal, he believes that having a "simple, scalable and interoperable" IoT service platform will help Cisco "accelerate the digitization journey of our enterprise customers."

Complementary But Disconnected
Oddly enough, Cisco itself is keeping its IoT and enterprise communications initiatives separate -- even though Rowan Trollope, who Enterprise Connect regulars know from his keynote presentations of the last couple of years, not only heads Cisco's collaboration business but also, as of a few months ago, the company's IoT business unit, too. But in a recent No Jitter interview with Dave Michels, UC analyst, Rowan made the distinction clear.

As he told Dave, IoT is a separate functional area from enterprise communications, and his job relative to the former is "to define and build Cisco's future IoT platform to help our customers make it easy to connect their products and to transform themselves into digital businesses." Complementary as his IoT and enterprise communications roles might be, Rowan reiterated that these businesses are separate. "The goal was not to find synergies."

Automated UC Actions
I find that... interesting, let's call it. Yes, IoT is much bigger than enterprise communications, but the promise of a collaborative component cannot be overlooked -- especially when viewed in the context of digital transformation. Back in the summer, IoT experts at systems integrator Arrow SI (where Andrew happens to work as well) shared a couple of examples of this with us (see "Get In On the IoT-UC Action").

As one use case example, we heard how data pulled from a patient's heart-rate monitor gets streamed to a cloud IoT platform for real-time analysis and automated triggering of a UC action. A certain threshold gets hit, and the system launches a voice call to medical practice's contact center. From there, a nurse sends a text message to the patient's doctor.

We heard, too, of an example from the oil industry. Here an advanced predictive analytics engine crunches through data fed to it by thousands of sensors on oil rigs. The goal is to spot disaster before it hits, and when the machine learning algorithm does so, the system will initiate a video meeting or other communications action for the emergency response team.

IoT Disruption
With good use case examples like this but the failure of enterprise communications vendors to deliver -- as yet -- a compelling story that weaves together their IoT and UC strategies, IoT was, as I said, very much in mind as we planned this year's Enterprise Connect conference. The big question on our minds was what might come from the collision of IoT and enterprise communications, so we've invited a group of industry experts to hash answers out during what we like to call a "disruptor" panel. Thought leaders from top industry vendors will join me and my co-moderator, No Jitter blogger and industry expert Zeus Kerravala, in a discussion exploring the inevitable convergence and its potential consequences for the enterprise. I hope you join us!

In fact, if you haven't yet registered for Enterprise Connect 2016, which will take place March 7 to 10 in Orlando, Fla., then I have a deal for you. If you register hereregister by next Friday, Feb. 12, use the code NJPOST to save an additional $200 off the early bird rate. Note, this discount code, which is valid for Entire Event and Tue-Thu Conference passes, represents a total savings of $700 off the onsite price. As an added bonus, you can get even bigger savings when you register three or more attendees from your company.

See you there.

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