03 October 2002
Cisco joins ODVA – thar’s gold in them hills
Deerfield Beach, Florida - Cisco Systems' presence at the Open DeviceNet Vendors Association 8th annual conference raised some eyebrows. Two years ago the switching and router gear giant wasn’t a player in industrial networking and communications.
Not that it's not a great fit. It is. Indeed, in the post-bubble world, Cisco is as hungry as anyone and looking for new markets for its well-respected products and services.
ODVA has over 300 members and it manages the DeviceNet and EtherNet/IP network technology and standards. These industrial networks connect devices like limit switches, photoelectric cells, valve manifolds, motor starters, drives, and operator displays to PLCs and PCs.
"There are good and bad points to having a giant like Cisco join your club," surmised one electrical engineer who designs DeviceNet-standard switches and connectors for a privately owned, moderately sized vendor.
"One good point is that they will provide some balance to Rockwell’s influence on ODVA, which is substantial." DeviceNet (…and its sister ControlNet) is a Rockwell technology developed by Allen-Bradley in the mid-nineties. Rockwell is still the giant on this block.
"Cisco can bring tremendous resources to the table in terms of technology and standards development expertise also. But will we end up changing the name to CODVA?" as in, Cisco's Open DeviceNet Vendors Association, the engineer half-jokingly queried.
Whatever the outcome, the move is enormous commentary on the future of Ethernet in manufacturing and on the fact that Cisco Systems is intending on getting a share of the industrial networking market. – Nicholas Sheble
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