Cisco Systems Inc introduced data-analytics software packages that are designed to help retailers and other large companies make better use of Web-connected devices, from smartphones to connected bathroom scales.
The world’s largest network-equipment maker unveiled eight sets of programs for different industries and uses, it said in a statement yesterday.
One package could be used by sports venues to shift concession workers to the stands with the longest lines, and another can help retailers make smarter decisions about where to display products.
Cisco has said the trend toward connectivity, which it calls the Internet of Everything, will unleash US$19 trillion in new profits and cost savings globally in the next decade.
Chief executive officer John Chambers predicted that US$7.3 trillion of that would come via analytics software that makes sense of the vast amounts of data that will flow to data centers from personal computers, mobile phones and sensors embedded in all kinds of objects, from roads to light fixtures to factory equipment.
“There is a massive shift in the market where the remote device at the edge is quickly becoming an incredibly strategic tool to share and collect data, enable more informed decisionmaking and deliver the best customer experience possible,” senior vice president of Cisco services Edzard Overbeek said in the statement. “If customers don’t have the right analytics solutions in place to make sense of it, that data is useless.”
Cisco is focusing on real-time information analysis. While a market for centralized big-data warehouses has emerged in recent years, Cisco’s software will let some data be analyzed close to where it is generated. That way, an energy company would not need to continually send huge amounts of information on the performance of oilfield equipment over long distances — instead, the program would only alert headquarters if there is an imminent problem, for example, Overbeek said in a presentation.
The analytics push could help bolster growth in Cisco’s services business, which grew to 23 percent of revenue last year from 16 percent in 2007.
The San Jose, California-based company has been taking steps to boost sales of software and services, seeking to reduce its reliance on demand for proprietary hardware such as routers and set-top boxes.
Profit margins on these products are projected to narrow in coming years, as customers switch to networks built on less complicated equipment running more sophisticated software.
“This is about Cisco moving more into software as a way to deliver value, rather than just through its hardware,” Forrester Research Inc analyst Frank Gillett said.
The data-analytics field has become increasingly crowded. Earlier this week, International Business Machines Corp and Apple Inc rolled out their partnership’s first business applications to help corporate customers use Apple products to communicate and organize more efficiently.
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