Google, Cisco execs discuss IoT at Goldman Sachs conference


Google logo is seen on a wall at the entrance of the Google offices in Brussels on February 5, 2014. Patrick Pichette, the company’s chief financial officer, talked about Google’s role in the Internet of Things during a conference call this week. (Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images)

At last week’s Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Cisco chief executive John Chambers and Google’s chief financial officer Patrick Pichette talked about their companys’ roles in the Internet of Things, a term for a network of connected devices.

Chambers, reprising comments he made at CES 2014 and the World Economic Forum, said during a keynote that Cisco has been building the technology for Internet of Things for the past several years. About six years ago the company launched its Smart+Connected Communities program to use technology to help monitor problems like overcrowding and pollution, and two years later started developing a so-called smart grid to improve energy efficiency. Most recently, the company announced it was working on technology to collect and process data from the endpoints of the Internet of Technology.

“Everybody thinks it’s about the cloud, but most the computing and analytics will actually be at the edge — if you will, fog. And the ability to capture that data and turn it into results very, very quickly gives you major leverage points,” Chambers said.

Google, which announced its $3.2 billion acquisition of smart-thermostat company Nest in January, entered the Internet of Things more recently. Also in January, it announced it had created the Open Automotive Alliance, a group of companies including General Motors, Honda, Audi, and others, who plan to use the Android operating system for in-car apps.

“That journey has begun, the elements are showing up on the horizon,” Pichette said during the conference. “What’s beautiful about Android is it’s an open architecture and because it’s open it enables. . .every entrepreneur and every innovator can actually have the platform on which they can just put their” software development kits, he said. “So we should never think that we have the monopoly of innovation...What really matters is you enable a couple of applications that you’re really excited about, but that mesh with so many others.”

Mohana Ravindranath covers IT and small business for the Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication.
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