A year after Jasper acquisition Cisco expands the platform

Just over a year ago Cisco bought Jasper Technologies for $1.4 billion, and with that transaction, created the company’s IoT cloud business. This week, Cisco is making a series of announcements at Mobile World Congress related to expanding the platform.

When a startup like Jasper gets acquired by a big company like Cisco, the standard line of reasoning goes something like this: ‘The large company gives us access to resources we couldn’t possibly achieve on our own.’ There is always some truth to that cliché response, of course, but Jasper has experienced remarkable growth since the purchase last year.

According to numbers supplied by Cisco, from when the acquisition went final last March until today, the unit’s customer base has grown 157 percent from 3500 to 9000 enterprise customers. The number of devices under management has grown from 17 million to more than 40 million, an increase of 135 percent and the number of service providers running Jasper’s Control Center product has grown from 35 to 50, an increase of 42 percent.

Part of that growth can be attributed to being at the very edge of the market potential for Internet of Things management, and presumably the company would have achieved some growth even without Cisco. Yet, the extent of the growth suggests having an enterprise sales team pushing the products to an existing worldwide customer base likely contributed to the massive increase in business in a way that, well, it couldn’t have achieved on its own.

And to keep the party going, Cisco-Jasper is making a series of announcements today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. For starters, the division is announcing support for a low-power networking protocol called NB-IoT. Today, according to Theresa Bui, direct of IoT strategy at Cisco-Jasper, high bandwidth consuming devices like cars, tablets and medical devices are sharing the cellular networks with devices consuming much less data, and customers have been looking for a lower-bandwidth and lower-cost option for these devices.

“Networks are acknowledging the pure scale that is coming out on the market and starting to cascade. They need their networks to support a whole range of use cases,” she said. The announcement involves expanding the Control Center platform to support this range of network types in a single place. The company has partnered with Optus, an Australian company, and completed live trials of this approach.

One of the areas where IoT management is seeing substantial growth is in the connected car industry. As cars become more connected, the auto makers require a platform to manage the connectivity in the vehicle. It’s worth noting Cisco-Jasper boasts that over 50 car brands are already using the Control Center today including Audi, VW, Toyota, Ford and GM. This week, the division is announcing a new partnership with Honda and Bright Box, a connected car platform for Honda owners in Europe that offers a set of services like finding open parking spots based on GPS coordinates, or transmitting maintenance information to Honda.

Bui points out that maintaining connectivity in a car moving across networks is a challenge, and that’s Cisco-Jasper’s responsibility in the partnership. “We are ensuring that Bright Box is always on and connected when it should be and to the right network wherever it happens to be,” she explained.

No IoT announcement would be complete without a wearable healthcare component and Cisco-Jasper is also announcing a partnership with Samsung and Jupl, a firm that works to continuously monitor health information. In this case, it’s a Samsung device designed for elders to monitor them 24×7 and inform a loved one or medical personnel if something requires attention. Per usual, Jasper is involved in ensuring connectivity, and if the device loses connectivity, contacts need to know immediately, says Bui. The new partnership is designed to help foster that kind of constant communication.

Finally, the company announced an agreement with Korea Telecom as its latest network partner.

All of this adds up to new ways to use the Control Center platform and increase the division’s business even further. If the growth numbers after the first year together are any indication, this could truly be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.