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How the IT network marshals OT and IoT to power hybrid work

Feb. 8, 2022
A recent Cisco blog describes how "IT can support smart and sustainable workspaces to safely promote collaboration in the office, campus, and branch by delivering IoT and OT benefits in smart buildings at scale."

A new blog article by Cisco's Chris Stori, SVP and GM of the company's Networking Experiences unit, contends that "the network is the core" of the contemporary trend toward "hybrid work."

Stori observes, "While the hybrid concept emerged during the pandemic to enable people to work from home, the office, or anywhere else of their choosing, it is now essential for everyone looking to move faster and operate more autonomously in an asynchronous environment. It encompasses trends such as the next generation of wireless networking with Wi-Fi 6E and Private 5G, ubiquitous IoT and OT devices monitoring and adjusting workspaces, and technologies that more closely integrate the digital realm with the material world."

In describing how the IT network is at the core of this technology shift, Stori offer this thumbnail description of the sheer breadth of applications network technology enables for hybrid work:

"Hybrid work...means connecting the workforce via collaborative applications to create inclusive workspaces, no matter where people are physically located.


Personal devices connected via ultra-fast Wi-Fi and cellular networks unify workflows. Applications distributed among clouds and data centers communicate with a myriad of services in milliseconds to extend the reach of the enterprise to customers worldwide. Industrial sensors keep watch on inventories that feed the machines producing millions of products every day. Healthcare facilities monitor in-house as well as remote patients, providing real-time telehealth on demand and instant access to medical records and diagnostics.


Making all those connections possible is the underlying fabric of networks—from private campuses and indoor spaces to public venues and government offices, to the vast resources of the internet."

Notably, Stori adds, "As leaders think about their future workplaces, their priorities are focused on sustainability and building efficiencies to keep employees safe and minimize the organization’s energy usage, and ultimately their carbon footprint. IT can support smart and sustainable workspaces to safely promote collaboration in the office, campus, and branch by delivering IoT and OT benefits in smart buildings at scale."

New products for hybrid work

This month, Cisco announced it's releasing several new products geared to help IT improve the campus experience to support hybrid work from the office. As directly stated in Stori's blog, these technology enhancements include:

The Wi-Fi 6E Catalyst 9136 and Meraki MR57 wireless access points, "using newly available clean spectrum that matches wireline speeds and exceeds gigabit performance. Wi-Fi 6E will greatly expand capacity and performance for the latest devices using immersive collaborative applications designed for hybrid work."

The Catalyst 9000X series, billed as "the backbone that provides the speed, bandwidth, capacity, and scale needed by the ongoing transition into hybrid work through its high performance 100G access/400G core switching capabilities powered with Cisco Silicon One. Cisco Silicon One, originally deployed in web scale and service provider networks, now provides programmable flexibility in Catalyst 9500X and 9600X Series switches to support innovations across enterprise networks."

The Cisco Private 5G managed service, designed to "complement Wi-Fi to connect physical operations—smart building OT and industrial IoT—with core IT systems, analytics, and automation to produce substantial productivity and efficiency gains. Cisco’s Private 5G is delivered from the cloud to reduce technical, operational, and business risks so enterprise IT can implement the digital transition to hybrid work and secure IoT deployments."

Stori's blog concludes that these new products' capabilities "empower IT to create and maintain a network that provides unparalleled experience for the workforce, including smart and sustainable workspaces. They enable IT to manage and secure IoT and OT at scale. All in service of ensuring business agility and resilience during rapid digital transformations...to support the future of hybrid work and the mission-critical applications that will power organizations for the next decade."

Read the full blog.

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