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Apple and Cisco DevNet: What's in it for Developers

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Cisco Employee

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I lead Cisco’s developer program, Cisco DevNet, and I’m excited to share what our Apple and Cisco partnership and the WWDC announcement of iOS 10 means to DevNet and iOS developers. Specifically, iOS 10 includes many rich enterprise functionalities and Apple and Cisco have been working closely to optimize the user experience of iOS devices running on Cisco networks.


And DevNet is here to make this available for iOS and DevNet developers. You can get hands on now with the DevNet Apple APIs that make Apple and Cisco products work better together and leverage the new iOS 10 capabilities.


Why does this partnership make sense to DevNet and iOS developers?

Apple is the global leader in mobility. iOS is the most advanced mobile operating system and businesses are putting iOS at the center of their mobile strategy. Cisco is the global leader in networking and collaboration. Nearly all Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies use iOS devices and Cisco networks. Now Apple’s developer program and Cisco DevNet are giving developers the tools to create even better apps that work well on enterprise networks and giving network and IT admins and operators the ability to seamlessly manage iOS devices, apps, and data as part of their network and IT environment. 

Apple and Cisco are working together to make the mobile experience for iOS users the best it can be on Cisco networks in three ways:

  1. Optimized Wi-Fi connectivity: We’re optimizing how the iPhone and iPad communicate with a Cisco wireless network to give people the best network performance possible.
  2. Prioritized “fast lane” for business critical iOS apps and data: There are a lot of apps and data moving through your network but not all of it has the same importance to your business. By enabling QoS to prioritize iOS business apps, you can classify and give top priority to the apps most critical to your business, putting them in the fast lane.
  3. Integrated voice and collaboration solutions: With iOS 10, VoIP apps like Cisco Spark integrate with iPhone for a seamless calling experience. Now you can deliver enterprise voice services to employees right on their iPhone.

What does this mean for developers? What does this mean for network and IT admins and operators?

And let’s geek out a bit while we’re talking about it.

App developers can get the best network performance for their apps by using QoS to differentiate different types of data in iOS 10. Cisco fast-lane enabled networks will recognize the QoS markings from iOS 10 devices with fast lane capabilities and then do the work of carrying this prioritization from the iPhone or iPad through the network. For example, real-time voice and video data can be treated differently from less-time critical web page data, thus enhancing the performance of your app and your network. Also, fast-lane enabled iOS devices and Cisco WiFi networks will recognize each other quickly to give the best possible wireless performance.

For a bit more technical detail, QoS has been around, but it’s traditionally difficult to implement from the user/app/device through the network because of inconsistency in how QoS service classes are used. Apple increased the number of QoS services classes from five to nine, which allows the developer to more finely specify and prioritize the different classes of data their app uses. These nine QoS services classes also allow a better mapping to the QoS prioritization that wireless access points and network routers use. These classes are aligned with IETF QoS service class specifications, which ensures consistency with the internet because they map to 802.11 access categories and DSCP settings in IPv4/IPv6 headers.

Network and IT admins and operators can seamlessly integrate iOS devices into their corporate data networks by pushing profiles to the devices (using mobile device management or other techniques) which specify which apps are business-relevant and should receive upstream QoS treatment. These profiles allow network operators to increase the performance of their networks and apps by knowing the relative priority of business apps and data.

Cisco Spark is an enterprise solution for team collaboration. Cisco Spark offers enterprise messaging, team rooms, and voice and video calls. The Cisco Spark iOS app is seamlessly integrated with iOS in that users can tap a contact in their address book and instantly make a VoIP call without having to launch a third-party app. They can also answer calls right from the lock screen, use connected headsets, or take advantage of call waiting to switch between calls. Cisco Spark will be using the new features in iOS 10 to ensure that the voice and video over IP calls can be delivered to iPhone and iPad a with the highest levels of quality of service.

The iOS 10 SDK is in beta now and we are working closely with Apple to make all these capabilities available for developers and IT and network admins and operators to use. Cisco will be releasing new wireless access points and networking devices and providing software updates for our existing Cisco networking devices to take full advantage of these capabilities. For users, it means great enterprise-class performance on iPhone and iPad. For network and IT admins and operators it means great control of the devices, data and apps on their networks.


How can DevNet help?

DevNet is Cisco’s developer and innovation program. We give developers the learning and coding resources needed to develop with Cisco platforms and APIs.

  • DevNet’s learning and coding resources are available at http://developer.cisco.com.
  • DevNet Learning Labs are free, self-paced labs that help people learn coding 101 (with REST, JSON, XML, and python) or networking 101 as well as deep dive into Cisco APIs ranging from collaboration to software-defined networking and work with open source. You have to register to use the Learning Labs, but all the Learning Labs are free. 
  • The DevNet Sandbox is a place for developers to code on real Cisco kit, ranging from live networks to contact centers. Jump in and code on real kit!
  • DevNet Labs is a place to showcase DevNet Innovations made by Cisco and by DevNet developers. Take a look at the innovations that exist, or submit your own innovation.

Cisco Developers can help businesses with their digital transformations using the intelligent network services as announced today. Here are a few DevNet APIs that you can use today:

  • Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) enables developers to create indoor location services that are "iOS friendly" with Cisco's WiFi access points in the following ways. Cisco access points will:
    • Natively filter out iOS Locally Administered MAC addresses to ensure privacy
    • Provide support for detecting iBeacons via CleanAir and display of iBeacons on CMX screen and access to data via API
    • Provide high performance indoor location services. Cisco's Hyperlocation capability underwent extensive testing with iOS devices
  • Cisco Spark for Developers Cisco Spark for Developers puts team collaboration capabilities in the hands of developers around the world. An upcoming SDK for iOS will enable Apple’s developers to use Cisco Spark services within their popular mobile apps. Help us make it great by requesting access to our beta. Sign up for beta access
  • Tropo is a cloud API for voice and messaging. Use Tropo APIs to build voice and text-based applications that work great within iPhone and iPad mobile apps, such as click-to-call and two-factor authentication
  • Cisco Instant Connect SDK an enterprise Push to Talk (PTT) solution supporting both group and individual communications and collaboration

The combined power of Apple and Cisco: Businesses can rest assured that their employees will have an awesome user experience on the devices they love to use as they adopt new ways of working in the enterprise.

Final Note

We’ve been working heads down in the lab with Apple to bring the enterprise mobile experience to a whole new level. We’re excited about getting our iOS and DevNet developer ecosystems involved. We will have more announcements on our progress in the coming months.

Please do roll up your sleeves with Cisco and Apple APIs and SDKs now.

Let us know how it goes and how we can help!

Thanks!

Susie

Susie Wee  @susiewee

VP and CTO of DevNet

Cisco Systems

1 Comment
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This is great susiewee. Thanks for sharing it. Very excited to try some of it.

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