Cisco has acquired San Jose-based CliQr Technologies, a Californian startup that specializes in making apps run faster in the new bare metal, virtualized, and container environments. Under the terms of the agreement, the networking giant will pay $260 million in cash and assumed equity awards, plus retention-based incentives.

The deal, which is subject to closing conditions, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016. The deal will strengthen Cisco\’s offerings for the cloud computing market and provide Cisco a major boost in the fast-growing IoT segment. 

Following the deal, Cisco plans to integrate CliQr as part of its Cisco One Enterprise Cloud Suite. The entire startup’s team will join Cisco\’s Insieme Business Unit reporting to Prem Jain, Cisco’s senior vice president and general manager.

Based in San Jose, California, CliQr simplifies IT management and enables customers to build more flexible data center
operations and then manage them from a single pane.

Among the IT benefit promised by CliQr deal is a feature that allows managers to create a single, secure application profile that can then be whizzed across any data center, public or private cloud. Other IT benefits include a consistent policy-making scheme, an application optimizer across hybrid systems, a one-click rollout, and ‘complete visibility’ and control across applications, cloud environments, and users.

Cisco has been aggressively beefing up its portfolio for the past few years through strategic acquisitions, partnerships, and in-house development. In July 2015, Cisco unveiled its IoT System, a collection of new and existing products that touch everything from networking and security to management and analytics. The company’s IoT System offers users a complete set of tools to manage not only a complex and diverse set of systems, endpoints, and platforms needed for the IoT deployment but also the massive amount of data they will generate.

In November 2015, the networking firm announced a partnership with telecommunications giant Ericsson that will help both push deeper into a range of emerging market segments, which include the IoT space, software-defined networking (SDN), and network functions virtualization (NFV).

Last year, it acquired Cologne-based startup ParStream, which provides a database for analyzing large amounts of IoT data in near real-time anywhere on the network. And recently, it bought IoT specialist Jasper Technologies, which develops and provides a cloud-based IoT service platform that automates the management of IoT service across devices and enables companies to create new business models. 

The IoT market is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. Research firm IDC predicts that total spending on the IoT will jump from $698.6 billion last year to almost $1.3 trillion in 2019. Cisco officials are betting big on IoT as the next big thing. Cisco predicts that by 2020, there will be 25 billion connected devices worldwide, from cars and home appliances to industrial systems, medical appliances, and baby monitors. Cisco also said that the economic impact of IoT could hit $19 trillion worldwide by the year 2020.