2 abril, 2019

Cisco and Cognitive Computing

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It only took ten years for IoT to transform, from a science fiction tale, into a reality. Outstripping all expectations for its applications, as well as overcoming its uses for current needs in the industrial field and in our day-to-day life. Furthermore, its quick growth has created new needs for all industries.

By 2020, around 20 billion devices will be connected to the internet, generating huge amounts of information constantly. Thus, in a period, no longer than four years, companies will have the need of processing and analyzing, in a quick and efficient way, great quantities of data that will generate value to their operation and businesses (IBM, The Power of Analytics at the Edge, 2016).

Another need is the increase of environments of distributed and large scale data within an Organization. The great amount of possible locations on which data could “live”, generates constant information that goes beyond the “four walls” of a company.

Finally, the high cost of data processing outside a company creates another need. According to analysts, the cost of data processing is reduced by 60% when the information is processed in a ratio less than 161 km from the source and in a 30% when processed in a ratio between 161 km and 322 km from the source (IBM, The Power of Analytics at the Edge, 2016).

Organizations can see in companies dedicated to providing cloud services, an option to the challenge of data processing. Nevertheless, for many operations, this is not the best choice and neither the safest one, mainly because:

  • Service and Access failures (maintenance, actualizations, accidents, communication devices failures etc.)
  • In the event of handling bigger sizes of information, cloud solutions can be slow in both response and transmission
  • Internet speeds can affect operation, specially when a quick decision needs to be taken


In the technology world there is not a single provider that could solve every need with just one product or service. In June 30th of 2016, IBM and Cisco announced that they would join forces to transform workers and job knowledge (IBM, IBM and Cisco Tap the Power, 2016).

IBM, leader in the field of COGNITIVE COMPUTING, brings into the equation, Watson, which provides data analysis capabilities that can predict incidences. Cisco, who has helped that internet works since 1984 (Cisco, Cisco Technology News Site, 2016), brings the communication between devices and data gathering without the need of uploading them to the cloud. This seeks to create the new generation of smart collaboration, allowing companies to compete, in the fast and ever-changing digital world.

Together, they provide a unique solution that allows clients to analyze and make decisions from the moment that information is generated, allowing great control over the business process, infrastructure and people in real time.

Furthermore, the solution provides, a high quality analysis, automatic learning, continuous improvement of devices based on its surroundings, it filtrates and liberates the workload of inserting new data into the cloud, while lowering the costs of service and remote communication (IBM, IBM Internet of Things blog, 2016).

Specifically Cisco adds (Turner, 2016):

  • Onsite data processing, optimizing real time performance
  • Allows an intelligent construction, that makes network capabilities larger without overworking bandwidth
  • Monitors asset behavior and performance
  • Performs onsite data analysis
  • Automatically manages and separates information, distributes information where needed, based on context

IBM adds (Turner, 2016):

  • Secures information by isolating processes inside the device
  • Combines internal and external data, from different sources, thus optimizing context
  • Defines the analysis made within a same recollection source, as well as those needed from cloud
  • Filtrates and applies rules to high value information for Companies
  • Provides advanced analytics including: machine learning, cognition and predictive capabilities


Currently, Cisco and IBM are working in two areas focused on enterprises, work in the office and the applications for industry.


Constant distractions and interruptions in the office make it hard for employees to concentrate, think and create efficiently, which in turn, affect a company’s production. The average worker gets distracted every eleven minutes and needs around twenty-five minutes to go back to activity. To compensate this loss of time, the worker will try and work faster. Nevertheless, this does not mean he will be more productive, on the contrary, this will cause stress and frustration (CISCO, Cisco technology news site, 2016).

Furthermore, workers need to be connected and in constant communication. Yet, the technological tools that connect them, are also important distractions from their day-to-day activities. Mainly due to the great amount of apps, services and information available (IBM C., 2016). Inho Cho, general manager of IBM Enterprise Solutions commented, “The great amount of tools that an employee can choose from, can result on a reduction in their effectivity”.

Cisco provides tools that integrate messages, meetings and calls, which combined with IBM’s Watson, allows a Company to change how their workers collaborate (IBM C., 2016). It also allows the analysis of structured and unstructured data gathered from conversations, as well as new information and workflows that help manager create better ways to work. It can also filtrate and prioritize information based on roles, historic work patterns and current tasks, manages complex tasks and helps amend chaotic communication environments (IBM, IBM and Cisco Tap the Power, 2016). This solution makes communication and collaboration more personal, friendly and effective.

This helps a worker within a Company to contact the right person at the right time. Whether it’s a colleague, agent, partner, client or vendor, this hybrid tool accelerate the communication process, disregarding its location, in an effective and productive way.


A factory in the industrial sector might have hundreds, or even thousands of sensors that constantly generate information. From that information, 40% of data is not stored, 59% are stored outside the Company and only 1% is processed on the cloud for analysis. Because of this, information cannot be processed nor analyzed in real time, losing opportunities for a deeper understanding of the information coming from the sensors (Turner, 2016).

Studies show that half the maintenance services done on machines or devices are ineffective (IBM, The Power of Analytics at the Edge, 2016). It is important then, to apply machine learning and automatization to computing tools used on a daily basis in the industry.

The IBM and Cisco’s solution allows real time asset monitoring before a problem arises, taking corrective actions, thus, reducing maintenance, extending the life span of devices and ensuring business continuity.

One example of business continuity is the port of Cartagena, Colombia. It is the fourth busiest port in America as it handles around 2.5 million containers per year, working the full 365 days. If something fails, it translates into setbacks and high losses. With the hybrid Cisco – IBM solution, workers at the port can predict the possible failures on the equipment before they happen, avoiding setbacks and losses (IBM, The Power of Analytics at the Edge, 2016).

The telecommunications company Bell Canada, reported a better performance and reduced interruption by transmitting only the most important data from remote sites through the solution mobile network.

Other application can be:

  • Measuring the performance and state of turbines through sensors
  • Remote management of equipment and infrastructure
  • Management and operation of equipment that doesn’t need of direct human interaction
  • Transportation fleets management


As a unique product, Cisco and IBM offer a hybrid solution for cognitive analysis, distributed from the source, which create first big step to leverage the value of the Internet of Things applied to business (IBM, The Power of Analytics at the Edge, 2016).

They will also continue creating several tools and applications that combine: advanced analytics, Watson, email, social offers with collaborative solutions for messaging, meetings, and phone calls. This, with the goal of helping to do more with less, based on individual needs, historic patterns of work, and current assigned tasks (IBM C., 2016).

Finally, developers will be pleased by knowing that they can create IoT applications, adding capabilities for communication on web and cognitive processes. Because every solution and app works as a centralized structure within an ecosystem, every IBM and Cisco partner will be directly benefited (Turner, 2016).

What do you think? What results do you expect to come up from this collaboration? What other tools and appliances will be developed? Share your thoughts and comments in our social networks, and let us know if you want to know more about a specific topic or answer a question.


CISCO. (April, 2015). Collaboration. From de http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collaboration/index.html

CISCO. (June, 2016). Cisco technology news site. From Cisco the network: https://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=1776239

Flannagan, M. (December, 2015). Cisco Blogs. From Trends for Data & Analytics: http://blogs.cisco.com/analytics-automation/trends-for-data-analytics

Flannagan, M. (June, 2016). Cisco Blogs. From http://blogs.cisco.com/analytics-automation/announcing-a-first-of-a-kind-technology-combining-ibms-watson-iot-cognitive-computing-and-ciscos-edge-analytics?cm_mc_uid=30082745492214687061950&cm_mc_sid_50200000=1477692278

IBM. (November, 2015). IBM Collaboration Solutions. From http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/

IBM. (August, 2015). IBM Social Business Spotlight Blog. From https://www.ibm.com/blogs/social-business/2016/10/25/ibm-and-cisco-create-a-seamless-digital-workplace-and-the-best-is-yet-to-come/

IBM. (June, 2016). IBM Watson Internet of Things. From http://www.ibm.com/internet-of-things/iot-news/announcements/IBM-Cisco/

IBM. (June, 2016). IBM and Cisco Tap the Power of IBM Watson and Cisco Spark to Transform the way People Work. Obtenido de http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/50085.wss

IBM. (June, 2016). IBM Internet of Things blog. From https://www.ibm.com/blogs/internet-of-things/whats-possible-iot/

IBM. (June, 2016). The Power of Analytics at the Edge. From http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=WWS12351USEN

IBM, C. (October, 2016). IBM and Cisco: Redefine Everyday Work with Watson. From https://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=LOO14042USEN&

Turner, V. (June, 2016). IDC LINK. From IBM and Cisco Bridge the IoT Edge and Enterprise: http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=WWL12359USEN

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