Cisco to buy Jasper for $1.4B to pursue IoT

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Cisco said it will spend $1.4 billion to acquire Jasper Technologies as it steps up its pursuit of the IoT market. Jasper powers a number of IoT applications like Amazon's Kindle book downloads, and the company works with a wide variety of mobile operators including AT&T.

While Jasper isn't the most high-profile brand in tech, the company made several big moves last year as the IoT market began to get legs. Among other announcements, it announced a deal to integrate its Control Center with IBM's IoT foundation platform to provide end-to-end services for IoT devices in the enterprise; it began working with Microsoft to integrate Azure IoT Suite with its own platform; and at last year's Mobile World Congress it unveiled separate IoT-related partnerships with SAP and Salesforce.

Jasper claims to manage and power a variety of connected devices and services for more than 3,500 enterprises in 100 countries worldwide, and it has partnerships with 27 service provider groups. In 2014 Jasper announced it would power AT&T's connected car operations.

Cisco's purchase of Jasper will help the vendor expand beyond its traditional network business and further into the IoT, which will increasingly leverage multiple new devices and technologies.

"Cisco views Jasper as a unique IoT service platform that is disrupting a massive market with strong strategic alignment with Cisco," wrote Rob Salvagno, Cisco's vice president of corporate business development, in a blog post. "Jasper's ability to build strong relationships with both enterprises and service providers makes them distinctive in the IoT industry."

"With the acquisition, Cisco will play a major role in managing the network for both gateway-centric and cellular IoT solutions," agreed Steve Hilton of MachNation, an IoT market research firm. "Enterprises will no longer have to use multiple vendors to manage the IoT, LAN and WAN environments. The combination of Cisco and Jasper technologies will make it easier for businesses to connect. IoT connectivity management and IoT network management will hopefully become more simple."

Analysts say more consolidation is on the horizon as enterprises increasingly have needs that cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are ill-equipped for. "As expected, IoT supplier consolidation," tweeted Lee Doyle of Doyle Research in response to Cisco's acquisition of Jasper. .

The move not only marks a major expansion of Cisco's IoT business, it accelerates the company's transition to a business model based on recurring revenues based on software as a service, Salvagno said. Like Cisco, Jasper doesn't typically serve end users directly but rather partners with carriers to sell and deploy its offerings.

Both companies serve multiple vertical markets including automotive, home automation and security, transportation and logistics, and industrial equipment. And while the debate continues over just how much of a role cellular technologies and networks will play in the IoT, Salvagno said mobility is playing a crucial role as IoT deployments roll out around the world.

"What we're seeing more and more is that mobility is a key part of that solution, whether it's (for) backup or because the (device) is moving," Salvagno said in a conference call following the announcement. "And the service providers have made great progress on that, really powered by Jasper. I think (Jasper) has been the key to success for the service providers."

For more: 
- see this Cisco blog post

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