Alright, it’s still in its infancy, but the Internet of Things (or the Internet of Everything as our friends at Cisco call it) continues to make headlines. If not for its size ($14.4 trillion over the coming decade) then for the issues it raises from privacy, security and control, to environmental impact (as The Economist pointed out, in the future even cows will generate data).
CiscoLive gave me the opportunity to catch with Tony DeSpirito, VP Global Alliances, Schneider Electric, and get some perspective about the Internet of Things as well as why Schneider Electric’s relationship with Cisco is important and good for both companies.
Tony explained that Schneider Electric’s systems, whether they’re factory automation, industry or smart grid, sense the entire environment but they then need to transmit that data via IP and Cisco is the networking provider of choice globally. So it makes perfect sense for the two companies to work together.
Schneider Electric’s experience and presence also helps take Cisco into places they’ve not been before such as IP on the factory floor or in mining or smart grid and right now, Schneider Electric is introducing Cisco to exactly these kinds of opportunities. Cisco in turn is taking Schneider Electric into the C-suite of companies.
In short, both of the companies benefit each other by broadening the connections to business and industry, as well as bringing complimentary products and services together. So if you think of Schneider Electric of a traditional industrial company but one that bridges that gap between operational and information technology, and Cisco as an IP provider and technology provider of choice.
I asked Tony about how the 50 billion connected devices mentioned during the event would contribute towards new efficiencies. Tony explained that if you want to achieve efficiency you first need to measure where you are regardless of whether you’re running a hospital or a factory. Once you have that baseline data you can start to make some changes towards greater efficiency but before you get to that point you’ve got to collect that data. At this level Schneider Electric brings many solutions putting measuring and managing infrastructure which can then be transmitted via a Cisco IP network to an analytics platform which could be SAP or IBM as a couple of examples.
I did start to wonder wonder if all of these devices and all of that data that we might lead us all to a point of information overload, and put that very question to Tony DeSpirito. He said that applications will be the key to taking the data and turning it into powerful and actionable information, which is also where the money will be made both for customers and suppliers.
Applications which will incorporate the analytics and processing will then provide users with the snapshot or access into the data they need to maximize the value of the particular challenge they are looking to manage. This analysis will be able to filter through potentially vast amounts of data, providing decision making dashboards to give operators and users the ability extract a range of efficiencies that is simply not possible without the Internet of Things and the data that can be gathered via a device to device led information processing future.