Cisco and IBM have unveiled a collaboration aimed at bringing better analytics to projects involving the Internet of Things (IoT) by enabling analysis capabilities at the edge of the network rather than at the data centre.
The partnership will combine IBM's Watson technology and Cisco's edge analytics capabilities to let customers act more swiftly on critical data gathered at the network edge, according to the two firms.
Organisations are trying to make better use of data as devices become more intelligent and get connected to corporate networks, and one of the problems is the process of actually gathering the data.
"Today, in a typical industrial deployment, only one per cent of IoT data is actually analysed. Legacy processes and drawbacks in current IoT platforms make it too expensive and slow to analyse the other 99 per cent of data," said Chris O'Connor, general manager for IoT at IBM, on the firm's blog.
O'Connor cited an offshore drilling platform as an extreme example of how it can be difficult to get data back to a central location for analysis, but other industries also have distributed infrastructure where the cost or limited bandwidth make it difficult to retrieve data to drive decisions.
The solution is edge-based analytics, whereby the analytics processing is also distributed to the edge of the network, or very close to it, and this is the focus of the latest IBM and Cisco collaboration.
"Together, Cisco and IBM are positioned to help organisations make real-time informed decisions based on business-critical data that was often previously undetected and overlooked," said Mala Anand, senior vice president of Cisco's Data & Analytics Platforms Group.
"With the vast amount of data being created at the edge of the network, using existing Cisco infrastructure to perform streaming analytics is the perfect way to cost-effectively obtain real-time insights.
"Our powerful technology provides customers with the flexibility to combine this edge processing with the cognitive computing power of the IBM Watson IoT Platform."
Another use is in telecoms networks, and Cisco and IBM are working with Bell Canada to deliver IBM Watson IoT and Cisco Edge over the firm's 4G LTE network to enable customers to collect data in real time.
"Many of our largest customers operate remote systems, requiring continuous availability and access to data to monitor critical performance factors and avoid downtime," said Stephen Howe, chief technology officer at Bell Canada.
The new solution builds on IBM and Cisco's long-standing relationship, and will be offered through a joint marketing effort, according to the two firms.
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