Cisco will meld its recently released Intelligent Edge software with Microsoft’s Azure IoT Hub to make transferring data from edge devices to applications in the Azure cloud simpler.

Cisco and Microsoft have tied together their edge-to-cloud software packages in an effort to ease the management of IoT devices.

Specifically, Cisco this week said it will meld its recently announced Intelligent Edge software with Microsoft’s Azure IoT Hub.  Cisco Edge Intelligence runs on Cisco’s IoT packages and gathers data from connected devices to create logical flows from the edge into private, public or third-party clouds – in this case Microsoft Azure IoT Hub. IoT Hub is a managed cloud service that acts as a communications traffic cop between IoT devices and applications. 

“Using software-based intelligence pre-loaded onto Cisco IoT network devices, telemetry data pipelines from industry-standard protocols like OPC-Unified Architecture (OPC-UA) and Modbus can be easily established using a friendly UI directly into Azure IoT Hub,” wrote Tony Shakib, IoT Business Acceleration Leader with Microsoft Azure in a blog outlining the marriage.  

Services like Microsoft Azure Stream Analytics, Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, and Microsoft Azure Notification Hub services can be used to build IoT applications for the enterprise, Shakib stated. 

“Additional telemetry processing is also supported by Cisco through local scripts developed in Microsoft Visual Studio, where filtered data can also be uploaded directly into Azure IoT Hub,” Shakib stated. The collaboration provides a fully integrated package that gives access to design tools, global connectivity, advance analytics, and cognitive services for analyzing IoT data, he stated.

Cisco and Microsoft have made it simpler, faster and more secure to send IoT edge data to enterprise-class applications, and they will be able to integrate their IoT devices through Cisco Edge Intelligence to Azure IoT Hub with a click of a button, wrote Cisco’s Vikas Butaney, vice president of product management with the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) Business Group in a blog about the deal. “Customers will be able to drive their artificial intelligence, analytics, machine learning, and business intelligence applications to support a better digital transformation.”

Getting IoT-generated data securely into the enterprise for application access and control is a key direction for customers.

“The edge is the first ‘point of contact’ with machine data, and the proper security, segmentation, filtering and summarization are required to maximize value and minimize cost and latency,” according to a recent  IoT report from 451 Research. “An agile and secure data management and governance pipeline that enables real-time data-driven decisions by stake-holders across the organization is achievable with a combination of edge intelligence and analytics.”

Gartner estimates that by 2025 75 percent of Enterprise data will be generated at the Edge. As computing resources and IoT networking devices become more powerful, the ability to manage vast amounts of data near the edge will mean infrastructure and operations teams are required to manage more advanced data workloads, Shakib added. 

And IoT traffic is growing rapidly.  According to Cisco’s recent Internet Report, of the 29.3 billion networked devices in use by 2023, near half will support IoT applications. Machine-to-machine communications are among the hottest applications, including applications such as smart meters, video surveillance, healthcare monitoring, transportation and package tracking.

IoT traffic is growing faster than the number of connections because the use of video applications on M2M connections is up, as well as other high-bandwidth, low-latency applications such as telemedicine and smart-car navigation systems, Cisco said.

Cisco and Microsoft have plans to expand this integration to other areas where we can further simplify the IoT solution for our common customers, Butaney stated. 

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Michael Cooney is a Senior Editor with Network World who has written about the IT world for more than 25 years. He can be reached at michael_cooney@idg.com.

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