Cisco debuts network switch for IoT devices to make buildings smarter
Cisco debuts network switch for IoT devices to make buildings smarter
Cisco debuts network switch for IoT devices to make buildings smarter

Cisco debuts network switch for IoT devices to make buildings smarter

Cisco has unveiled a new network switch that can be linked up to IoT devices, such as lights and CCTV, within a building.

The Catalyst Digital Building Series Switch is a network switch designed to connect different kinds of building infrastructure over Ethernet.

Launching in April this year, it uses Cisco’s version of Power over Ethernet (PoE), called Universal POE, to support bigger, brighter lighting fixtures with up to 60W per port available. This is double the power of standard PoE Plus.

In addition to this, Cisco is also touting several other features that it hopes will make the switch attractive to organizations looking to make their buildings smarter. These include IP convergence, digital building network architecture, smart installation and a fanless design.

The switch is also Bluetooth-enabled and comes with its own mobile iOS and Android app to make installation and deployment easier. The fanless switch should allow placement in office ceilings in a noise-free environment.

Related: Asda deploying IoT technologies for smarter retail stores

An important step for Cisco

The switch marks an important step in Cisco’s strategy for converging traditional networks with IoT networks. The new network switch brings together disparate building systems such as lighting, HVAC, badging systems and surveillance through the use of the Constrained Application Protocol, which is an IoT protocol the switch supports.

It also brings Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture to the digital building environment. This brings analytics, automation and security features which enable faster on-boarding, automated provisioning and monitoring, intelligent threat detection and mitigation. For instance lighting ports can only be used for lighting and not to access other areas in the network.

According to Pankaj Gupta, director of Enterprise PSM – Portfolio, Software, and Campus Switching at Cisco, building owners are looking at technology convergence to deliver enhanced occupant experiences and improved efficiencies in their buildings.

“However, as the number of networks and connections within buildings grows, they are becoming increasingly complex,” he said. “Interconnecting and interoperating isolated building systems such as lighting, HVAC, badging systems, security, CCTV, sensors and audio-video equipment, into a single converged system is fundamental to the digital transformation of buildings.”

Related: Smart buildings start-up Verdigris raises $6.7 million in funding

Smart buildings, lower energy costs

Cisco touted two companies as customers, Sinclair Holdings in Fort Worth, Texas, and Alpiq InTec in Switzerland. The former runs a hotel where the switch has lead to a 50 per cent reduction in energy costs.

“The Catalyst Digital Building Series Switch allows us to converge disparate building systems onto a single IP platform,” said Farukh Aslam, president of Sinclair Holdings, in a statement. “We can now establish digital competencies for tomorrow’s hospitality industry. As one of the world’s largest hospitality brands, this allows Marriott to enjoy real-time analytics and reduce energy costs. It also offers our business travelers and unique destination vacationers an authentic, enhanced boutique experience.”

Alpiq InTec integrated Cisco’s Digital Building switch converging siloed building systems into the Digital Building IP platform. Stefan Tschanz, managing director of Alpiq InTec  Switzerland said that this allowed the firm to offer customers “new digital products and services, delivering real-time analytics, reducing costs and responding to demand of agile services in today and future digital marketplace.”

Related: Automated ‘smart building mashups’ on the way