Enterprise IoT: when companies choose cellular, Cisco is ready
Cantaloupe connects more than 120,000 vending machines to cloud-based servers that collect data on product inventory, cash put into the machines, and operational status. The company says vending machine owners have been able to shrink their fleet sizes by 30% – 50% thanks to the data they are getting about when machines need to restocked or serviced.
The company relies on cellular connectivity, and it uses Cisco’s Jasper to manage its devices and data on cellular networks. Cantaloupe says Jasper’s Control Center software simplifies device provisioning, data use management, payment plans and global deployments.
In March 2016 Jasper became part of Cisco and since then Jasper’s customer base has grown from 3,500 to 11,000 enterprises.
“They are adding about a million and a half devices a month,” said Cisco’s director of IoT strategy Theresa Bui. “Anything from a connected car to a Coke vending machine … if it has a SIM card in it, it is a device from our perspective.”
Cisco Jasper markets its platforms through mobile network operators, and Control Center is currently active on 552 mobile networks, representing 50 global operators. The company is laser-focused on the needs of the enterprises who are the end users of Jasper, and Bui said those customers have been telling Cisco that their biggest challenge is moving from the pilot phase to large scale deployments. Jasper has responded with tiered service offerings, so that the developer experimenting with a new service does not pay for the same advanced security and analytics as a company connecting millions of devices in the field.
Control Center has also added support for LTE-M and NB-IoT, two new low-power wide area cellular standards. LTE-M caps uplink and downlink data rates at 1 megabit per second, and NB-IoT caps both at 0.2 megabits per second.
Cisco is also offering its customers a new security service that is integrated with other Cisco solutions. Bui said these services target the connected car market, Control Center’s biggest vertical. Bui said that when a car senses the owner’s key fob Control Center sends an SMS message to the cloud, which verifies that the key fob is the right one for that car.
Bui said analytics is also a key part of effective security. She said Control Center gives device owners full reports on everything a device has done on the network, so that they can see what normal behavior looks like for that device. Knowing what to expect from a device makes it much easier to see when that asset deviates from normal behavior on the network, which could indicate a security breach.
For Cisco, the $1.4 billion acquisition of Jasper is just one part of the company’s plan to capitalize on the internet of things. Cisco is also an investor in Actility, which helps companies deploy IoT solutions using LoraWAN technology.
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