Cisco has reinforced its commitment to the industrialization of the Internet with a new series of switches aimed squarely at the industrial market. The networking giant just rolled out the Industrial Ethernet 2000 switch series.
Cisco called the IE 2000 switches a cornerstone of its Connected Industries Business unit and industrial network offerings. The new switch series aims to help customers build intelligent networks for industrial automation with highly secure, scalable connectivity from plant floor to enterprise network.
"Major sectors of the economy are undergoing a transformation driven by new requirements around production and factory automation, traffic management, data analytics and machine-to-machine communication," said Maciej Kranz, vice president and general manager, Connected Industries business unit.
Targeting a Niche Market
Cisco's timing seems right to forge ahead with new products. 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 -- demonstrating the need to more tightly connect and integrate devices, machines and vehicles with traditional enterprise networks, according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index.
Cisco predicts that the resulting transition, which it refers to as "The Industrialization of the Internet," will accelerate the networking industry beyond the IT and service provider networks in industries such as manufacturing and transportation. Cisco said it is ready to address these new demands on industrial networks and its IE 2000 switch series is part of the mix.
We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his insights on the new switches -- and the niche market they serve. Kerravala told us the industrial market is probably no more than 5 percent of the overall switching market.
"It's a niche for sure," he said. "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." (continued...)