Cisco Creates Comprehensive IoT Portfolio with Jasper Acquisition

by Jeff Wiener on February 5, 2016

cisco_the_internet_of_things_h8qcpLegacy technology companies like Cisco now stand at a crossroads; abandon the old way of doing things and find different roads to growth through new technologies like cloud computing, and/or the Internet of Things, or watch their once dominant core business quickly become antiquated and obsolete.

To that end, Cisco is leveraging its familiarity with networking to evolve into a new role in today’s technological world, providing the backbone for the growing IoT market, and with that, the company announced earlier this week that it is purchasing Jasper Technologies Inc, a tech start-up that provides arguably one of the best connectivity platforms for disparate connected devices, for a cool $1.4 billion.

Not only is Jasper a leading IoT platform for connecting multiple devices, such a cars, wearables, or e-readers, but Jasper also allows devices to connect and manage content delivery over multiple networks, meaning Cisco now stands as probably the first one-stop shop for the world’s IoT needs.

“Cisco views IoT as a massive opportunity. It’s one of the top priorities of the company,” Cisco’s vice president of corporate development, Rob Salvagno said on a conference call with analysts and investors. “Jasper has built a platform that has a massive market, with strong strategic alignment for Cisco.”

Not only that, but Salvagno revealed that IoT development has been a priority for Cisco for several years, and the acquisition of Jasper, a much-coveted asset in this growing market, was something too good to pass up.

“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,” he said.

As one example of how Jasper works, note that it’s currently being deployed by Amazon to manage that company’s Kindle e-readers. Amazon has used Jasper to manage and deliver content to Kindles, regardless of their individual networks or connections. As ZDNet’s Larry Dignan explains, “Without Jasper, Amazon would have to work with every service provider in multiple markets to hook up Kindle e-readers.”

It is exactly this sort of network-agnostic approach to device connectivity that will allow a cohesive and comprehensive approach to IoT, and one that Cisco’s executives see as highly “transformational,” and I have to agree. By acquiring Jasper, Cisco has shored up its IoT portfolio, adding Jasper’s transformative software to the company’s existing hardware, creating what Cisco reps referred to as a full “sandwich” of IoT services.

“We can extend the reach of Jasper to all of Cisco’s global service provider partners,” Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s IoT and collaboration technology group said on the analyst call. “If you lay a map of Cisco’s IoT portfolio over Jasper’s, there’s almost no overlap. And you can’t do one without the other, you need them both.

As other legacy technology companies like IBM and Microsoft vie for positions in today’s transforming technology market, amidst other industry heavyweights like Intel and Qualcomm working to establish their own comprehensive solutions, Cisco has put itself in a strong position to take the lead in this burgeoning market, the first to deliver an end-to-end IoT solution…now I suppose it’s just a matter of how well it can deliver all that it promises.

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