Cisco invited South Korean startup N3N to the opening of its Perth IoE Innovation Centre and Cisco CTO Kevin Bloch says the company epitomises what Cisco hopes to achieve with the centre, and the possibilities of its fog computing architecture.
N3N has developed software that allows an operator to view on a screen small low resolution images of the feeds from multiple remote high definition video cameras and to select any one to have that camera’s image delivered in full HD resolution.
The technology could be used, for example, in a road network monitoring system, enabling an operator to view small images from multiple cameras at road junctions and select any camera to see a high definition image of a particular junction.
Bloch said: “N3N is a really good example of what we are trying to do with fog computing and it shows exactly what we are trying to do with the Innovation Centre. The Centre is not about Cisco developing products, it is about others developing their own products leveraging our platforms.”
Fog Computing is Cisco’s terminology for edge computing. It represents a network architecture for IoT networks in which much processing will be undertaken at the edge of the network either because most of the data is redundant, because to transmit it all to the core would overload the network, or because latency would be too great for IoT implementations where real time decisions must be made on the data.
Bloch said: “[Innovation Centre partners] Woodside and the SKA [Square Kilometre Array telescope] are using fog computing because they have a lot of data that needs to be processed in real time: they don’t have the time to ship it all the way back to the data centres.” He added: “Some projections are that 40 percent of IoT data will never get to the core of the network.”
To cater for fog computing Cisco has developed the IOx which combines routing and standard processor functionality enabling applications to be run at the network edge.
“N3N has written their codec to run on the IOx,” Bloch said. “Their product is now ready to go and we demonstrated it live at the Innovation Centre opening. N3N had three of their people here from Korea at the opening and the CEO has 15 appointments in Perth alone. We are taking their product and putting it on the Cisco price list and taking it global.”
A boost for Australian IoT startups?
Bloch said that his vision for Cisco’s Australian Innovation Centre was that it would help Australian-developed IoT products reach world markets. Referring to his pre-Cisco role at an Australian IT company, Bloch said: “I toiled for 14 years at JNA building products in Australia and trying to take them offshore and my view is that it takes a dollar to do the research, 10 dollars to build the product and 100 dollars to take it to market. So if we can take a dollar of clever technology in Australia and with Cisco’s help take it to over 140 countries then we have some real potential for this country.”
Cisco has opened its Perth Innovation Centre with two large, long term partners: Woodside Petroleum and Curtin University but Bloch said that, as the centre developed it would be looking for smaller partners with short-term projects.
“We have quite a bit behind the curtains. I have quite deliberately held back, but now we have a platform in place I would like to see far more shorter term, smaller projects, one of which would around smart campus and that would be to do with things like intelligent lighting.
“A campus is a microcosm of a city: they have traffic, they have security issues, they have surveillance issues. So we see a lot of opportunity on the Curtin campus to do a lot interesting work around the idea of the intelligent campus.”