Cisco today announced at MWC that Cisco Jasper has completed live trials of NB-IoT on its Control Center connectivity management platform, making it one of the first IoT platforms to support NB-IoT. NB-IoT (Narrow Band-IoT) is a 3GPP-standard for LPWAN that is expected to drive growth of IoT at a massive scale, increasing the number of connected devices in excess of 3 billion by 2023.
Supported by the GSMA, NB-IoT delivers a reliable, cost-effective IoT connectivity solution for low-cost devices. This is achieved by leveraging existing LTE infrastructure to enable lower power consumption while maintaining excellent coverage. Examples of industries where NB-IoT is expected to transform business models include smart meters, smart cities, smart parking, building automation, asset tracking, and remote agriculture.
Cisco Jasper post-acquisition
I spoke to Macario Namie, Vice President Strategy at Cisco Jasper to learn more about the growth of Cisco Jasper. I was particularly interested to learn how the company has fared since its 2016 acquisition. According to Namie:
“When we were acquired in 2016, our reach encompassed about 3000 enterprises which had about 17 million devices that were connected and utilizing the platform and those enterprises are now working with us via service providers or the network operators else which we had 35 partners at that time. Flash forward to today’s numbers. Really it’s been really fantastic. We’re now at over 9000 enterprises over 40 million devices growing at a rate of over a million and a half per month and have now reached a nice milestone that we have partnerships with over server 50 service providers.”
Namie expanded on their growth:
“This growth is a reflection of really two things. One is just you’re starting to see the maturity in the market and more specifically the cellular market where companies you know are starting to really trust their deployments and are starting to scale that up. And the second is we have maintained a very maniacal focus on our business and servicing our customers even while we became part of Cisco and very much credit Cisco for allowing us to do that and not get distracted with things that sometimes happen when you become part of a larger organization.”
Namie also elaborated on their partnership with KT (Korea Telecom) which enables KT customers in Korea can manage their IoT services on a global scale from a single IoT platform thanks to Cisco Jasper’s partnerships with more than 50 service providers, which manage IoT devices across more than 550 mobile operator networks worldwide:
“We’re now announcing the fact that we’re live we’re available for launch and so we’re really excited about some of the work there I think the Korean market has been arguably one of the most sophisticated and advanced markets in telecommunications KT has long been deeply interested in and investing in IoT and has been a presence in IoT events or things like mobile world congress. So to be able to pair us with some of the work that they’re doing I think is a fantastic result and will yield and open up the Korean market to international players who are coming in and making it just that much easier. So we’re we’re really excited about the relationship that we have with these guys and that puts us now at covering yet another market around the world. Every major market is now is now covered which is which is fantastic. I remember it didn’t seem that long ago that we had one and two but since then we made some big strides.”
Cisco Jasper expands its reach in connected cars
Also announced at MWC, was a new partnership with Honda and Bright Box, a connected car platform for European Honda owners in Europe that provides services such as finding open parking spots based on GPS coordinates, and transmitting maintenance information to Honda. Cisco Jasper also revealed a collaboration with Jupl to provide a wearable mobile Personal Emergency Response System (mPERS) that promotes safety and wellness. The wearable device leverages the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch and purpose-built software from Jupl to provide a personal emergency response device without the need for a smartphone.
It’s easy to envisage a small company being gradually melded into the larger organization upon acquisition with a resultant loss of identity. Cisco Jasper was able to avoid this from the get go as Namie detailed:
“One of the things that was part of the discussion was that we would remain our own business. And so you know we’re we’re not simply Cisco we’re Cisco Jasper and the entire team is intact, the entire management team that joined Cisco in March. We haven’t lost a single senior leader and the charter remains the same. The vision remains the same and the mission remains the same. everything just feels like you know we now have basically a financial sponsor and a helper and for the most part is business has fundamentally not changed dramatically. And so that help us right that helps us remain focused and make sure we stay committed to what we set out to achieve.”
IoT is still in its infancy
It’s easy to forget that as a sector of technology, IoT hasn’t been around all that long as a commercial entity compared to its contemporaries. Namie agrees:”For technology as a whole, IoT is still very much emerging and very dynamic. And so you know if you’re if you’re in a small business or you get acquired by a large organization you’re there for a reason, you’re there because you have a skill set or an expertise that may not necessarily be present yet in the organization of the successful partnerships they’re going to be the ones for they respect their expertise and Cisco very much respects our expertise and our skills. And so it’s been a very, very positive experience.”