Cisco’s Application Extension Platform, “AXP” for short, is an “open source” network application develipment, integration and hosting platform. AXP is available as a service module on the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) which includes the Cisco 1800, 2800 and 3800 Series Routers amongst others. Cisco’s AXP Dev platform reinforces their “Network as a Platform” concept and encourages collaborative partnerships with the goal of accelerating innovation.

Cisco AXP is comprised of the following pieces/parts:

  • A Linux-based integration environment to develop applications that run on Cisco ISR routers.
  • Certified libraries to implement C, Python, Perl, and Java language applications.
  • Support for http web server and SSH
  • A variety of APIs for network application integration.
  • “Vitualization” Capabilities (a la’ VMWare) that allow multiple applications to run in their own virtual instances with individuall allocated CPU, memory, and disk resources.

Cisco has been running a developer contest to build awareness of AXP, and it recently drew to a conclusion with nearly 900 entrants across the globe. It’s no secret that Cisco is aggressively pursuing revenue opportunities in the “it” space of the moment, smart-grid technology. The winner of the contest was MADNetwork of Spain with their Building Automation Service (BAS), a remote monitoring and operating of real estate facilities (HVAC, lighting, plumbing, presence, fire, flooding, and smoke detectors) of all branch offices from the enterprise headquarters. MADNetwork picked up $50K for their efforts, an no doubt a golden ticket in the lottery to have their company acquired by Cisco for mega bucks at some point in the future.

The 3rd place finisher was BugsBernie out of Germany, who are holdin’ it down for the VoIP crowd. They came up with what I thought was a pretty cool application, an Integrated Surveillance System, and something that almost certainly could be replicated using Asterisk. Their system basically utilizes the speakerphone capabilities of Cisco IP phones, leveraging the phones to monitor the ambient sounds of a building or workplace during non-business hours. If you’ve got a couple dozen Cisco phones on your network you’ve basically got a few dozen “ears” that can listen for odd or inauspicious sounds and alert the security detail of your choice if things “don’t sound right”.

Integrated Surveillance System is a proposal for fully-integrated surveillance system which leverages Cisco network services on ISR and combines them in a new, smart way to build a security system. With this solution, existing IP phones can be turned on during non-working hours, to monitor any audio signals in the offices. If there are abnormal audio signal patterns, the application notifies external security services or devices such as cell phones, computers, video monitoring systems etc.

It is a simple and cost effective means to enable a security solution in branch office by leveraging existing network infrastructure. This solution improves manageability of security systems by providing an integrated security framework.

There are certainly any number of real world applications for this technology beyond vanilla security. The lesson here is don’t badmouth your boss behind closed doors in your office. Your Cisco phone might be listening.


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