Our Supply Chain Matters stream of commentaries focused on the Internet of Things (IoT) technology area has provided various perspectives be they market, technology vendor presence, user adoption challenges and other considerations.  For the past two years, we have included a specific prediction on IoT adoption challenges and 2016 was no exception.  (Our 2016 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains is available for complimentary downloading in our Research Center)

Thus it did not surprise us to note that Cisco has announced its intention to acquire privately-held IoT cloud platform provider Jasper Technologies for $1.4 billion, a sizeable sum lately in the tech world.  According to the announcement:

The proposed acquisition will allow Cisco to offer a complete IoT solution that is interoperable across devices and works with IoT service providers, application developers and an ecosystem of partners. Cisco will continue to build upon the Jasper IoT service platform and add new IoT services such as enterprise Wi-Fi, security for connected devices, and advanced analytics to better manage device usage.”

We last updated our readers on Cisco in a July Supply Chain Matters commentary highlighting that Cisco would offer a full IoT platform targeted to support larger scale industrial networks. The July announcement was somewhat unique in that the announced IoT system included a technology architecture consisting of six pillars and the technology of the Fog Computing System. It included 15 new IoT focused products within respective pillars, addressing support in areas of network connectivity, physical security, data analytics and overall data management.

This month’s announcement on the acquisition of Jasper is the opportunity to broaden the platform of connected devices and deliver them to market much faster and with less friction, according to Jasper CEO Jahangir Mohammed. A Cisco blog post related to the announcement notes:

Cisco views Jasper as a unique IoT service platform that is disrupting a massive market with strong strategic alignment with Cisco. Jasper represents the largest platform of scale in IoT today with over 3500 enterprise customers and 27 service providers across 100 countries.”

The broader implication of Cisco’s continuing efforts in support of IoT relates to specific industry vertical support, an emphasis on building out a strategic platform and key strategic partners.

Perhaps the most significant Cisco partnership is that related to General Electric and that equipment manufacturer’s strategies related to its industrial Internet ecosystem of partnerships and its own Predix equipment intelligence platform.

Of broader significance for our readers to ponder is that select technology vendors are now positioning themselves to be the preferable platform of choice in support of industrial and supply chain IoT needs. Besides the active acquisition and architecture efforts of Cisco and PTC, other vendors are positioning for platform dominance as well. They include Oracle, Microsoft, and to some extent, IBM.  For early adopters of IoT enabled business models related to industrial and supply chain needs, the caution is to understand that vendors are indeed positioning for dominance and to do your homework on the long-term resilience and scalability aspects of the network platform.

Vendors with influence and large pockets will continue to positioning for platform dominance, but that should not be deterrence to early adoption business initiatives for new business models that can leverage IoT information. A large building or business initiative requires a solid foundation built for endurance, solid architecture and partner support resources.  That should remain the criteria for building a resilient approach.

Bob Ferrari

© 2016 The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.