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Cisco Is Making Buildings Smarter with Network Innovations
Posted February 1, 2017
Cisco Is Making Buildings Smarter with Network Innovations
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By Jef Cozza. Updated February 1, 2017 9:57AM

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Networking giant Cisco is aiming to bring Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to building environments with a number of innovations included in a new network switch designed specifically for buildings. Unveiled today, the Catalyst Digital Building Series Switch is the first built specifically for the needs of digital buildings, the company said.

The switch includes several features that Cisco said will make it attractive to enterprises looking to transform their buildings, including IP convergence, digital building network architecture, universal power over Ethernet, smart installation and fanless design.

One System To Rule Them All

"We're excited about the new opportunities we can bring to our customers in the digital building and enterprise IOT space through our converged ecosystem of partners, products and solutions," the company said in a blog post.

According to Cisco, building owners are looking at technology convergence to deliver enhanced occupant experiences and improved efficiencies in their buildings.

"However, as the number of networks and connections within buildings grows, they are becoming increasingly complex," the company said. "Interconnecting and interoperating isolated building systems such as lighting, HVAC, badging systems, security, CCTV, sensors and audio-video equipment, into a single converged system is fundamental to the digital transformation of buildings."

Cisco's vision for the digitally converged building is centered on the new network switch that powers and connects building systems onto a single, low-voltage IP network.

Extending Digital Network Architecture

The new switch enables IP convergence and interoperability of disparate building systems such as lighting, HVAC, badging systems and surveillance through the use of the Constrained Application Protocol, an IoT protocol that has never been deployed in a digital building environment before, according to Cisco.

Additionally, the switch extends Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture to the digital building environment. That includes automation, security, and analytics features that allow for faster on-boarding, automated, provisioning and monitoring as well as intelligent threat detection and mitigation. The feature would allow enterprise clients to limit lighting ports so that they can only be used for lighting and not to access other areas in the network.

The switch also delivers twice the power of Cisco’s current power over Ethernet technology, and allows buildings to bring the power back on within five seconds of an outage. The switch is also the first that is Bluetooth-enabled, and it comes with its own mobile iOS and Android app to make installation and deployment easier. Because it features a fanless design, the switch can be installed in such places as office ceilings while maintaining noise-free environments.

"As far as convergence of IoT networks in a building, this product leap-frogs a generation of innovation," Sachin Gupta, vice president of Enterprise Switching at Cisco, said today in a statement. "It brings new IoT protocol integration, automation and enterprise security by extending the Digital Network Architecture to digital buildings."

The Catalyst Digital Building Series switch will be available in April, with prices starting at $895.

Pictured: Catalyst Digital Building Series Switch - 8U (on left), Switch - 8P (on right).

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