The Nexus of the Internet of Everything? It's in the Palm of Your Hand

On a typical day, we hold in our hands a portal to our civilization’s entire trove of information and entertainment — and a window into our finances, our health, and the lives of our friends. Not to mention, the ability to make a purchase anywhere and anytime the whim strikes us.

To say that our personal devices have become an integral part of our lives is a vast understatement. But get ready for an even bigger wave of change. Mobile is poised to become ever more ubiquitous. But the focus will be less on the device itself, and more on its role as a critical enabler in the connected world of the Internet of Everything (IoE).

IoE is the intelligent connection of people, process, data, and things. And those “things” are gaining an increasing ability to talk to one another — and orchestrate events on our behalf. In the expanding universe of connections that is IoE, your smartphones and tablets will find an accelerating number of things with which to interact. In turn, those mobile devices will evolve from simply holding our apps to becoming highly intelligent devices that enable us to communicate with all manner of things in exciting new ways.

Mobile will also be more defined by wireless, network-connected sensors. These cheap, ubiquitous sensors will be embedded in our everyday world — in objects, in our homes, in “wearables” attached to our clothing, and throughout our cities. The emergence of standardized ultra-low power wireless technology such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Cellular NFC, provide the ability to achieve data transfer between nodes and devices — the core connectivity that will enable IoE. Adidas, for example, offers a smart ball with a sensor that integrates with an iPhone to show information on the trajectory and speed of the ball.

Once our devices are connected to wearable technology, they can sense our mood, know our behaviors, then course correct in real time. At this year’s, Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Billie Whitehouse unveiled a GPS-enabled smart jacket that integrates with the mapping app on your phone. Type in a destination and the little vibrators built into the shoulder pads tap out directions for which way to turn.

But that is just one example. As the digital understanding of our behaviors, our moods, and our emotional involvement deepens, it will enable a new level of self-knowledge that will improve our productivity, health, and wellness. For example, Stress Tracker, created by a team of psychologists and researchers, tracks your moods and tensions and learns what makes you anxious. Google Now and the Sherpa personal assistant remember past behaviors to predict a user’s next move. With AutoPebble, you can automate your life from your wrist, and perform a multitude of daily tasks by simply changing the screen to align to your current location and time.

Meantime, some of the functionality once contained only in your mobile devices is shifting to a multitude of other devices and connection points. The Nest Learning Thermometer, for example, contains a sensor that monitors your home temperature but can be controlled through your mobile device. And Aloft smart check in lets you zoom into a hotel, right past the check-in counter. The hotel sends a message to your mobile device with your room number; then you simply touch your RFID-embedded loyalty card to the door, and it will unlock.

In effect, your phone is becoming the master controller, holding your preferences and profile while enabling access to data in real-time

In a retail setting, smart devices will detect wireless signals and receive content as you walk through the door, or even before. The store’s network will share offers and information on what services and products are available at that location at that time. And your phone will enable you to control the interaction, blocking unwanted solicitation and allowing you to choose whether you want to reveal your identity for a more personalized experience. Not all shoppers are comfortable with opting into a system that enables retailers to track their moves, even in exchange for value-added offers and services.

Over time, more data will be leveraged for predictive analytics, combining and analyzing data from various sources in order to anticipate your behaviors. This means, for example, that your local coffee shop could sync with your phone to know you are on your way — and start brewing a made-to-order beverage before you even arrive.

Combining data from all these sources will certainly pose challenges. For marketers, the challenge might be even greater: figuring out what provides the most value for customers. Early studies, such as one conducted by Harvard Business Review, have determined that the success of such real-time discounts depends on parameters like distance and time. If done well, however, such offers have the potential to truly delight customers.

Mobile’s ability to enable interaction with the connected world is driving disruption across a wide swatch of industries. And new business models are emerging at an ever-faster pace.

So, remember the mantra: disrupt or be disrupted. And start thinking about how mobile will transform your core value proposition.

Tags: Big Data, brand loyalty, Cisco, Cisco Consulting Services, innovation, Internet of Everything, internet of things, IoE, IoE Value Index, IoT, retail, value at stake

Running Out of Bandwidth? Take a Fresh Look at 100G

Service providers around the world share concerns about running out of bandwidth. Business challenges surrounding continued bandwidth growth, linked to video, mobility, and cloud applications, are significant. Service providers also report declining revenue from a cost-per-bit perspective, so not only does the network need to grow, it also needs to grow more cost effectively. The Cisco Virtual Networking Index™ (Cisco VNI™) predicts that over 50 billion devices will be connected over these networks by 2020. The network effects of the Internet of Things, LTE mobility, and mobile video are just beginning to be understood. In a world where mobile device network additions are growing four times faster than the population, and machine-to-machine (M2M) device network additions are growing five times faster than mobile device additions, this problem is clearly becoming highly important and requires a good solution.

To solve this challenge, it’s best to deconstruct the problem. In the case of bandwidth growth, all the described services share some component of network connectivity. Network connectivity over the highest-bandwidth metro, regional, or core portions of networks requires dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) transport technology. This technology has primarily been deployed with 10G lambdas or channels, resulting in 10G scale and 10G price points. 10G technology has been an attractive solution as a result of investments during the previous technology boom. A more recent period of 100G investment, led by Cisco, is now producing higher scale, better performance, lower power consumption, smaller form factors, and compelling price points. This white paper describes each of these technological advances and how this 100G benefit in scale can even be accomplished with existing, fully depreciated, legacy 10G DWDM systems.

The Solution

Given all the technology and market trends just described, transporting services over 10G trunks or waves is just not viable any longer. When your aggregated service demands are 1G and 10G or higher rates, the trunk ports need to support a rate that is at least an order of magnitude higher to manage the workload effectively. To maintain proper operational scale and extend the life of the service provider’s fiber investments, 100G trunking just makes more sense.

Currently 100G coherent technologies are at the beginning of what’s destined to become a prolific new network life cycle. In many ways, 100G is much like 10G was back in the early 2000s, when initial products were deployed in the long-haul and core portions of the network first, and then the base technology migrated out to, essentially, all parts of the optical transport network over time. This migration will happen to 100G coherent technology as well, as the product research and development (R&D) investments create solutions that fit across a wider range of network applications, and as they go from today’s discrete component-based DWDM modules to highly integrated silicon photonic pluggable 100G modules. Those 100G silicon photonic pluggable modules offer lower cost points, lower power consumption, and lower space requirements.

One big difference between legacy 10G and coherent technology is the ease of use, all the way from the network-planning phase through the deployment phase. Coherent technology has incorporated digital signal processing chipsets (DSP) in the transceiver modules and that means that 100G DWDM optics deployments have become easier. Now the service provider does not need to know complex optical physics and fiber waveguide-transmission theory to procure, plan, and deploy high-speed optical networks, span by span. Most of that deployment operating expense (OpEx) has been removed from the equation because the DSP does all the “hard work” for you. In return for this freedom, service providers can focus their time and energy on what matters most to them, the services they deliver to their customers and the revenue produced by those services.

In fact, the enhancements provided by coherent technology are encouraging service providers to build 100 percent coherent networks for new networks. This provides the following great benefits:

  • There is no need to purchase, plan, and install dispersion compensation units (DCU), because they are not needed.
  • Without DCUs in the network, overall network performance is better, with respect to amplifier design and their inherit noise figures, which saves money by extending optical reach (which allows elimination of optical regenerators, in most cases).
  • Multiple 10G services can be quickly added to the network by provisioning pluggable client ports on 100G muxponders, rather than adding new 10G transponder cards as we do today.
  • Cisco 100G solutions offer up to 10 times the efficiency in space utilization.

To be clear, these coherent technology benefits are not just for new deployments. Many of the same benefits can be gained on existing, depreciated network infrastructure. In fact, today’s 100G technology can extend the life or investment profile of those networks by tenfold. For example, a service provider may be running a network that was installed five years ago using 100-GHz spaced filter technology. Due to their success and the current bandwidth explosion of services, service providers may only have 10 channels left, at 10G per channel on the legacy network. If 10x10G to 100G muxponder cards were deployed on those remaining 10 channels, then the service provider has effectively extended the life of the existing network and remaining bandwidth by up to 10 times. Figure 1 gives a simple illustration of this network across a single optical span.

Figure 1. Substantial Gains from Deploying 100G on the Remaining Channels of a Legacy 10G Network

Of course, the initial cost of 100G is higher than 10G today (although that is quickly changing), but this difference is less, when you factor in all the costs associated with planning, deploying, and operating a network. Today’s 100G modules take up fewer slots in the chassis than legacy 10G systems. The network planning and design is greatly simplified due to coherent technology, and adding services and bandwidth to the transport network is quick and easy. This 100G solution can even be deployed as an alien wavelength in another manufacturer’s legacy 10G network to take advantage of all the depreciated assets in the field.

Economic Analysis

Figure 2 illustrates the simple comparison of a 10G transponder and a 100G muxponder, which was used for this analysis, and shows the per-channel service increase that is possible.

Figure 2. Legacy 10G Transponder vs. 10 x 10G to 100G Muxponder

In this analysis, the Cisco 100G solution, when compared to Cisco 10G or any competitive current 10G DWDM transponder solution typically yields the following result ranges:

  • At first, the 100G lambda with 10G client is two to three times more expensive than 10G.
  • The break-even point between using 10G or 100G DWDM trunks usually occurs between the second and fourth 10G client interface, depending on the network design and per-product price points.
  • The final solution is typically 40 to 70 percent less expensive than current 10G transponders, comparing 10 x 10G transponders to one 100G muxponder with 10 x 10G clients.

These advantages occur regardless of the optical span length or the number of reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) degrees or amplifiers at a site. If the legacy 10G channel can reach the optical span, the 100G coherent solution from Cisco can as well, with no guard bands and no additional regens or other hidden penalties. The performance can really be that much better. In addition, the following operational benefits can be realized:

  • Added optical span budget for the 100G muxponder, due to coherent detection
  • 10 times fewer devices to manage for equivalent service delivery
  • No need for dispersion compensators for 100G coherent optics
  • The option to use 100G coherent optics as an alien wavelength in an existing 10G deployment
  • Ability to deliver 100G services
  • Better utilization of the fiber plant


Early 100G DWDM solutions suffered from high prices, poor performance, high power consumption, and poor use of space, compared to 10G. A new crop of 100G products from Cisco has leveled the playing field. While this 100G technology is being used in Cisco products, ranging from data center to core routing to DWDM, the optical use cases can be particularly compelling. Using the new 100G technology with your embedded base of ROADM and amplifier technology, no matter which manufacturer, can gain even more out of an old investment that might have been considered obsolete. Using the new 100G technology in a Greenfield deployment can yield even greater results, streamlining capital expenditures (CapEx) and OpEx in the process. No matter where you are in the technology life cycle, 100G deserves a fresh look.

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Telstra Building the Foundation for Premium Cloud Services

Internet traffic in Australia is set to grow 3-fold from 2013 to 2017 according to the latest data from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI). However, if we “look behind the curtain” there is more to this story beyond just greater bandwidth demand as both consumers and enterprises are increasingly adopting cloud-based services. This move to the cloud provides a new opportunity for traditional service providers since they can uniquely combine network infrastructure and data center capacity to deliver premium cloud services with an SLA guarantee. Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company, Telstra, has established itself as a trusted provider of cloud services, such as collaboration and management applications, to customers. They’re achieving this with a new architectural approach that enables a next generation Internet experience combining networks, data centers and applications together while ensuring resiliency, low-latency performance, and programmability.

Telstra recently announced extending partnership with Cisco to provide scale, innovation and improved global reach with a network that can manage multiple applications across hybrid, public cloud environments. The scale and intelligence of this cloud will provide the reliability and reach that Telstra customers demand. With cloud-ready capabilities such as providing service level assurance and dynamic network services for workloads and applications, business can now shift more to the cloud with confidence.

A key milestone in partnership was the inauguration of live traffic on Cisco’s Network Convergence System (NCS) 6000. With the Cisco NCS 6008 at the core of their network to provide the capacity and intelligence to allow customers to shift more workloads to the cloud with confidence, Telstra has led the industry in building a scalable and resilient programmable network. A network that can easily virtualize services, simplify and consolidate network layers and automate and provision services real-time across multiple domains. The Cisco NCS6008 underpins a new Evolved Programmable Architecture from Telstra that will see the network dynamically adjust to provide the required capacity and SLA for the application or service being delivered.

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