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Cisco updates IoT management, go-to-market private 5G plans

Cisco has updated the IoT Control Center to support low-cost, low-bandwidth IoT. The company also released details for its private 5G go-to-market strategy.

Cisco has upgraded its IoT Control Center to support low-complexity IoT devices and has updated the go-to-market strategy for its as-a-service private 5G. The releases show Cisco targeting enterprises that want to improve their IoT deployments' connectivity, power or ease of management.

This week, Cisco optimized the IoT Control Center to reduce management complexity for low-cost, low-bandwidth devices. Capabilities like private network management, machine learning-powered anomaly detection alerts, eSIM as a service, and smart billing capabilities to optimize data plan rates make the platform better suited for simple IoT deployed at scale, the company said.

Cisco's IoT Control Center was previously known as the Cisco Jasper Control Center, acquired when the company bought IoT platform provider Jasper for $1.4 billion in 2016. At the time, Jasper catered primarily to automotive IoT.

The latest update manages and utilizes data collected from simpler, more stationary devices that companies deploy at scale, like utility meters or agricultural sensors. The product category, which Cisco calls "mass IoT," includes devices with low-bandwidth needs, predictable usage patterns and simpler remote management than automotive IoT.

The subscription-based SaaS platform will continue supporting more complex and specialized IoT devices and operate across low-power wide-area network, 4G or 5G cellular networks.

Cisco IoT Control Center competes with connectivity management platforms, like Ericsson's IoT Accelerator and Microsoft's Azure IoT Hub, and enterprises' homegrown systems.

Cisco also detailed its go-to-market strategy for a private 5G offering. The company will offer private 5G as a service through a pay-as-you-use subscription model. The mobile network's management portal will also manage enterprises' Wi-Fi networks, so device policy and identity remain consistent.

The company stressed that it does not see private 5G as a replacement for Wi-Fi networks. Instead, it focused on private 5G's ability to enable IoT deployments as its differentiator.

"Cisco is capitalizing on its IoT expertise to compete in the private 5G market, which makes sense because they are complementary technologies," said IDC analyst Sandra Wendelken.

Cisco will work with a range of partners who will manage the service provided by Cisco's technical kit but use their brands and add capabilities. It has also partnered with JMA and Airspan, which provide open radio access network (ORAN) technology.

Meanwhile, Cisco announced a strategic agreement with Rakuten to collaborate on cloud-native, virtualized 4G/5G mobile networks based on ORAN technology. The joint offering will combine Cisco's mobile, routing, switching and automation portfolios with Rakuten's orchestration, Symphony Open RAN, and Symphony Symworld applications. The partnership aims at global service providers modernizing their networks.

Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Science, as well as covering community news for Boston Globe Media.

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