Cisco Has Quietly Launched A New 500-Employee Business Unit

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Robert Soderbery

YouTube/CiscoLiveTV

Cisco's Robert Soderbery

When Cisco's John Chambers said a new tech market is coming that will generate an astounding $14 trillion in revenue in the next decade, it wasn't just idle talk.

Cisco has quietly launched a new business unit to go after that cash.

The market is called the Internet of Things, though Cisco likes to call it the Internet of Everything, and the new Internet of Things business unit was announced at its Cisco Live conference going on in Orlando this week.

IoT refers to using wireless chips and sensors to put all sorts of everyday objects on the Internet. If this takes off as planned, every object in your house, office, and life will one day be "smart" and controlled by an app. Smarts will also come to airports, trains, factories, cities, and so on.

Cisco's new group is significant, with about 500-employees already. It's headed by Cisco Rob Soderbery, who was formerly the senior vice president of the Cisco's all-important enterprise networking group.

Soderbery is the guy that orchestrated one of Cisco's largest acquisitions in 2012, the $1.2 billion buy of San Francisco-based Meraki, a startup that was generating about $100 million in revenue at the time. (Soderbery bought Meraki before CEO John Chambers vowed he wouldn't buy U.S. companies anymore because he thinks U.S. corporate taxes are too high.)

Another exec going to the new unit is Wim Elfrink, chief globalization officer and executive vice president of emerging solutions. Elfrink was previously tasked with establishing Cisco's India operations and he just moved back last year.

The new unit was formed from several groups serving vertical markets like transportation, manufacturing, smart grid and smart cities, reports TechTarget's Shamus McGillicuddy.  It will manage existing products like the industrial versions of Cisco's wireless, switching, routing products and physical security.

All told it has 500 people working in it and an over $200 million budget including money ear-marked for R&D and products, Soderbery said at the press conference.



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