Cisco is launching its Cisco Connect Cloud, to provide a software platform that could redefine how consumers interact with connected devices in the home, and to provide a new environment for the development of third-party apps . The Cloud is intended to work in conjunction with the company's new line of Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Routers.
The company said that the Cloud is designed to help make easier the complicated setup of home networked devices and settings. The company is also releasing a mobile app to provide access to the Cisco Cloud via a smartphone or a tablet , in any setting.
Six New Apps
The new mobile app offers a key feature, called SimpleTap, that allows a user to connect smart TVs, printers, tablets, and other devices to the Linksys router with one tap or swipe, thus facilitating the addition of devices to the network . In the future, Cisco said, the Cloud will allow new devices to be added by simply scanning a near-field communications tag on a device with a smartphone.
The company also announced that six new apps by third-party developers are available. One allows users to send or "beam" online videos to a Smart TV- or AirPlay-compatible device. Other apps help to mount home monitoring cameras on the network, or to provide safe-surfing for children who go online.
There's also a Device Monitoring app that provides real-status updates on devices, such as letting a user know when or how long children have been online with gaming consoles. The apps are available through Apple's App Store or Google Play store, formerly the Android Marketplace.
'Changing the Game'
Brett Wingo, Cisco Home Networking vice president and general manager, said in a statement that the Cloud was "changing the game when it comes to the connected home by ushering in a whole new level of experiences, simplicity and convenience." The company said its first consumer hardware partners in developing this ecosystem were Whirlpool and Onkyo.
To help create an ecosystem of third-party application development, Cisco also announced a new Linksys Developer Community and a software development kit. It also unveiled the newest in its Smart Wi-Fi Router line, the EA6500, which is its first router powered by the next-generation 802.11ac wireless technology, delivering transmission speeds up to three times as fast as today's fastest Wi-Fi, 802.11n. Products utilizing 802.11ac are expected to start appearing in the marketplace by the end of this year.
We asked Jeffrey Rosenlund, director of operations for the Cisco Home Networking Business Unit, what unique opportunities the Cisco Cloud offered. He replied that it delivers "an intelligent combination of hardware, software and true cloud capabilities" that, together, provide a "networking centric platform."
This means, he says, that a consumer can now control the home network, and the devices on it, from the palm of one's hand -- including the ability to interact remotely or even manage multiple networks. Over time, Rosenlund said, new capabilities will be added to the Smart Wi-Fi Router line and new innovations will be offered by outside developers.