April 14, 2015 Return to overview

Internet of Things – An Interview With Roberto De La Mora

The Internet of Things is Already Starting To Affect Peoples Lives.


Today we have a special guest, a very senior Cisco director Roberto De La Mora. Roberto has over 20 years of experience in the industry bringing some great industry insights here today.

He is currently the head of marketing for the Internet of Things globally in Cisco. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with Roberto.

Follow Roberto on Twitter – @rdelamora for more great industry insights.

Firstly we would like to know more about yourself, your professional background, about your experience in Cisco and the main projects you are leading & involved in?

Well, I joined Cisco over 10 years ago, as the LATAM and then the Emerging Markets sales and business development lead for a new “advanced technology” – as we called it those days – called IP Communications, which was essentially our voiceover IP and Telephony businesses, that eventually evolved into Unified Communications and Collaboration. It was a great ride in years of very fast growth. After 5 years selling around the globe, I came back to LATAM to run sales and business development for all our technology architectures (networking, security, UC/Collab, DataCenter, etc.), and about 3 years ago I moved to central marketing to run worldwide UC products and solutions marketing, and since last October I am the head of marketing for Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things is already starting to affect people’s lives and its really only beginning. What changes you do predict for the next few years and how will Cisco be a part of them?

The Internet of Everything is becoming quickly one of the most important technology and business trends and drivers of our age. Fueled by the convergence of many digital disruptions, and the networked connections of people, process, data and things, it is creating a platform for value creation we have never seen before. To me the most exciting element of the IoE is the Internet of Things, that is fueling incredible increases in productivity, efficiency and quality of life by intelligently connecting devices in ways never possible before, and enabling new business models and sources of value at the personal and business levels. It is the fastest-growing area within the Internet of Everything, and a fundamentally new business opportunity for Cisco and other companies.

Cisco has been a dominant player in the networking space for the past 30 years, how do you expect to bring this dominance into the IoT arena?

Not sure if I would use “dominance” to describe our objectives, but I would agree that we want to be both an IoT thought and market leader. IoT implies things connected to the Internet, right? Well Cisco is probably one of the most relevant companies tied to the build-out and development of the Internet, and we built Cisco based on our expertise on networking and connectivity. Cisco is not only a networking leader, we provide more gateways for systems interoperability than any other company in the world. And while connectivity, networking and gateway functions are foundational elements for IoT, we can do more. We understand security, both cyber and physical security, that is a pretty unique combination. Distributed intelligence, application enablement and management are also areas where Cisco can and is bringing in innovation in the form of solutions, architectures, protocols and standards. All to advance the development of IoT.

The Internet of Things is a very vertically focused market space.  What verticals you think will impact society the most in the short term and why?

We did a very detailed analysis across many verticals and industries, not only about their size and the potential opportunity, but also around the readiness of the vertical to adopt new solutions, processes and business models enabled by the IoT. We believe that in the public sector, City Governments have an opportunity to provide a new breed of citizen services with a great deal of impact on our quality of life. Manufacturing (discrete and process), transportation and energy utilities are all private-sector industries that are ripe for disruption and innovation. In all of these, the advances in technologies related to IoT can enable new business models, and enhance efficiencies, productivity and better quality in the products and services delivered.

And in the long term?

IoT will transform all verticals and industry, healthcare, retail, financial services, etc.
What are the key challenges you see in Smart City service realization: Governance, Integration, technology, data management, citizen engagement, etc.
The most exciting part is related to the new breed of citizen services that I mentioned before. For example, smart parking will help cities to generate revenue without increasing taxes, will reduce pollution and traffic, and will provide higher level of satisfaction to the citizens. Smart public lighting, smart traffic management, smart garbabe collection, and many other new “smart” services will make cities more attractive, efficient and a better place to live.

In your blog post – Making Fog Real For IoT, you said “IOx helps overcome the costly need to constantly move data around and allows analysis and notification to occur before the critical information is stored by performing critical data processing and analysis capabilities at the edge of the network…” Do you agree when people say “it’s all about the data?” What’s your opinion about Big Data and Analytics on this data, the challenges it brings and the possible solutions?

IoT devices are rich in data, but poor on the information. So I would not say that is not only about the “data” but about how we can make data into an insight that is actionable. Collecting data per-say will never be enough. The IoT data will quickly become an impossible task if we do not have a distributed computing platform that enables data analysis and reduction at the edge, coupled with capabilities to perform programmable actions on the spot, instead of trying to haul all that data to someplace in the cloud to then be analyzed and acted on. In some scenarios, like when a plane is in flight, trying to backhaul and process 10TB of data every 30 min of travel while the plane is moving at 500 mph is just too hard to do, and can compromise the safety of the flight and delay immediate actions. But big data and analytics are still core elements of the IoT solutions, and having a way to wrangle this data tsunami will be essential to deliver the full value of IoT.

And finally Roberto, it is widely believed that the Internet of Things will be an App driven industry, how can Cisco, as a predominantly hardware orientated company make the change to this software-focused world?

Cisco has been a software development company for a long time now. Most people think that because we ship a lot of networking gear we do not understand what it takes to deliver value from software. But fact is that those hardware components are the vessels for our software. The intelligence and power of our infrastructure is based not only on the work we do to create great, reliable hardware and even purpose-specific ASIC’s, but also on building powerful software that powers those networks and devices. About IoT being and App driven industry. I think we agree, but we should clarify that the apps we are talking about are not those that you have now running on your phones and tablets. IoT is taking the lessons learned from the mobile app market and inserting it into simple, easy to use applications that will be deployed across different devices and network elements, and will help to break the protocol barriers and offer better programmability, data access, visibility, automation and control.

Check @Davra_IoT and @CiscoIoT on Twitter for more news.

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