Cisco Smart Building IoT Discussion and Digital Ceiling Strategy

At NFD11 Cisco has presented their vision of modern buildings and how IoT could change the way LED lightning inside of office buildings is designed today. Basically modern LED lights consume less power as that what we can deliver with UPoE over an Ethernet cable.  The maximum power that can be delivered over an ethernet cable was increased over time. At the beginning the main use-case was to deliver power to VoIP Phones. With the original IEEE 802.3af standard it was possible to deliver ~15 Watts. After that we had 30Watts with the 802.3at for power hungry access-points and now with UPoE Cisco has increased this with a proprietary standard up to ~60 Watts UPoE specifications . That makes it possible to deliver to all office lights of a building the power via Ethernet cables and UPoE without the need of traditional power cables. Cisco has formed up a strategic partnership with Phillips to deliver that vision of IoT based LED lightning for buildings. Philips and Cisco form global strategic alliance

To enhance their IoT strategy Cisco has aquired recently Jasper Technologys . With that acquisition Cisco can round up the IoT story to a full blown service that goes beyond LED lightning. The prediction is is that it will start with digital lightning and grow to building automation with sensors. This Cisco calls the Digital Ceiling strategy. Besides the PoE capabilities Cisco is contributing to open protocols like CoAP to deliver a complete package for IoT. Partners will get a predictable infrastructure that can deliver all the needed features for IoT deployments.

The Network Autobahn View

IoT and the automation around buildings is getting more momentum. I am personal still concerned about the security aspect. Cisco mentioned a new Class of switches for building automation that works PNP, so that it is easy to deploy for facility managers. If some hacker is messing up my PC that is one thing, but when my lights are shut down or I have in the winter no heating because somebody is manipulating my building automation network it becomes a completely different story IMHO. For a corporate network you have in most cases IT Security people that do hardening and logging of all the systems. When now Janitors have to apply these task in the next generation of buildings I have my doupts that this will be secured probably. I compare this to the situation that we have with a lot of SCADA Systems that are a security nightmare, the world where telnet and default passwords is still a common thing. I have to admit that IoT brings a lot of benefits regarding to automation, but always remember with great power comes great responsibility.


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