Cisco launches global NB-IoT platform

Cisco launches global NB-IoT platform

Cisco has launched its Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) platform worldwide. The networking giant claims that Control Center for NB-IoT is the first such commercially available global platform.

When used alongside the Cisco Jasper Control Center IoT connectivity management platform, the new system will allow enterprises to manage both NB-IoT and cellular devices.

The launch comes after a number of live trials, including implementations with China Unicom and Australian telco Optus. China Unicom said that it saw adoption from businesses across a variety of smart-city applications, including smart metering, parking, fire control, and street lighting.

“The demand for low-cost, low-power connectivity is extremely high throughout China, and we expect to have over 100 million NB-IoT connections on our network by 2020,” said Xiaotian Chen, general manager of China Unicom’s IoT Business Unit.

“By embracing multiple technologies for both traditional and low-power devices, we give our customers – regardless of their industry – the flexibility to choose what fits their specific business needs.”

Pick n mix automation

Control Center for NB-IoT customers will be able to choose the level of features they want for their business applications. The platform comes equipped with automation capabilities that Cisco said will make it easy for its customers to manage large deployments with minimal operational overheads.

“NB-IoT dramatically reduces the power and cost of connectivity, so now even the most simple things will be capable of delivering valuable IoT services. This is going to drive exponential growth in the IoT industry, and one size will not fit all,” said Daniel Collins, VP of IoT products at Cisco.

“We designed Control Center for NB-IoT to address a broad range of low-power use cases and business models – from a water meter that sends a burst of data once a week, to a city parking meter that handles transactions at all times of the day and night.

“Companies need the flexibility to get and pay for connectivity, based on the value that each of those transactions represent to their business. We are excited to support our service provider partners and enterprise customers in China and worldwide in their quest to cost-effectively deliver meaningful business outcomes,” he added.

Internet of Business says

NB-IoT has been the popular choice for low-power, wide area network (LPWAN) operators in Europe and Asia, as it offers advantages over GSM/GPRS, including better accessibility and affordability. However, in the US only T-Mobile has been focusing on NB-IoT, while its competitors AT&T and Verizon have backed LTE-M technology.

Cisco has been ramping up its offerings in the IoT space for a number of years. In early 2016, it bought Jasper for $1.4 billion, acquiring Control Center, which Cisco has since upgraded to 7.0 and delivered in two editions: Control Center and Control Center Advanced.

Cisco also has an IoT Operations Platform, which it claims helps customers overcome proof-of-concept challenges to deploy IoT systems successfully.

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