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Predictive Maintenance: The Business Impact of IoE for Mining Companies

What if an industrial vehicle or piece of equipment could tell you to change a part or warn you before it breaks?  The impact for mining and other industrial companies would be tremendous in terms of reduced downtime and maintenance costs.  As I spent time with mining executives at the recent SAP Mining Forum, many interesting discussions were around the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) in their operations. In fact, Cisco and SAP have been working on using (or ‘mining’) the wealth of data from sensors and machines in new and innovative ways.  

The most immediate impact of IoT on mining is in the improvements to maintenance of mining heavy machinery and assets.  Based on the many conversations I have had with industry experts,  it is apparent that many in the mining industry  are using a ‘break to fix’ mentality on their assets.  They ‘push’ the asset to a point that it breaks.  The issue here is that this approach is unpredictable and incredibly costly to the operations of the business. Waiting until a machine breaks leads to downtime which leads to lost revenue. Read More »

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At IoT Global Summit, Focus Was on People More than Things

I just returned from the Internet of Things (IoT) Global Summit in Washington DC, where I was privileged to speak on accelerating Smart City growth worldwide through the Internet of Everything (IoE). At Cisco, we’ve pioneered the idea that the next wave of the Internet is not just about devices and things, but about the interconnections among people, process, data, and things—what we call the Internet of Everything. So it was gratifying that even at an event built around the Internet of Things, much of the conversation centered on people and process in connection with technology.

The IoT Global Summit brought together about 200 business leaders, policy makers, and regulators to talk about the impact of IoT on the ways we conduct business, provide services, and interact with people, as well as on the fundamental issues of security and privacy.

One of the interesting things about how IoT is playing out in Smart and Connected Cities around the world is Read More »

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Go Mercedes, and Leave the Driving to IoE

As they speed through the clouds, most air travelers are comfortable knowing that their pilot is not actually bothering to fly the plane. On the open highway, however, it may be harder to accept truck drivers who take their hands off the wheel to text, watch movies, or gaze at the scenery as it rolls lazily by.

Yet self-driving trucks could become a common sight in coming years. One company at the forefront of this technology is Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand. Recently, the company demonstrated its “Future Truck 2025” concept, with a modified vehicle that cruised down the autobahn at a top speed of 53 MPH. The driver was able to switch at will between manual control and the automated Highway Pilot system,.

I see the Highway Pilot as an exciting example of how the Internet of Everything (IoE) connects the unconnected. Using a convergence of innovations that leverage Wi-Fi, data analytics, radar, GPS, and stereo video sensors, Highway Pilot steers the truck, senses other vehicles, and maintains the most efficient speed and route.  IN the process, it enables a whole new technology platform and business model. After all, many countries face a shortage of truck drivers; and fuel consumption issues and safety concerns persist — especially on long, grueling hauls.

I see the self-driving truck Read More »

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As Industrial Networks Converge, Skill Sets Must Broaden

As we reflect on the Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) last week in Chicago, workforce readiness – or workforce availability – was a big topic of conversation among attendees. It’s also an issue I addressed on behalf of Rockwell Automation at the event.

Those of us in the industrial sector are acutely familiar with the challenges of workforce readiness. Many of us have been working for years to find, attract and inspire the next generation of workers who will fill the place of many long-serving and soon-to-be-retiring skilled professionals.

But retirement isn’t the only issue affecting worker readiness. Major changes to how manufacturers and industrial organizations operate are proving to have equally major impacts on their workforces.

Specifically, the convergence of information technology (IT) and operation technology (OT) presents significant challenges to the professionals who are responsible for installing, maintaining, upgrading and troubleshooting those technologies.

IT and OT professionals historically have worked in silos, with IT delegated to the business side and OT to the industrial zone. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing that. Today’s industrial organizations can connect, communicate and collaborate across the entire enterprise, from executive suites and corner offices to plant floors, supply chain partners and remote locations.

As a result, the lines that have traditionally divided IT and OT are blurring. These workers increasingly require skills beyond their core areas of expertise to be able to support IT, networking and control-system functions.

Cisco recently introduced the Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist certification to ensure IT and OT professionals are equipped with the broad skill sets they need to manage and administer industrial network systems. The certification exam tests both hands-on skills as well as knowledge of critical topics, such as the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model, network and industrial devices, safety protocols, and environmental and industrial standards.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco are launching a hands-on, lab-based course this month to prepare IT and OT professionals for the exam and give them the foundational skills they’ll need for the connected enterprises of tomorrow. The first-of-its-kind course, Managing Industrial Networks with Cisco Networking Technologies (IMINS), aims to help IT and control-system engineers install, maintain and troubleshoot industrial network systems, as well as help engineers achieve network availability, reliability and security.

The IoT presents opportunities that today are only limited to our imagination. Leading organizations already are taking advantage of smart devices and converged-network technologies, and most others will soon enough discover they need to embrace them if they want to remain competitive. New technologies are accelerating access to insightful possibilities but we should never forget that our greatest assets will always be our employees, and we must educate and empower those who can best make this great leap forward a successful one.

Looking forward to Automation Fair and continued discussions around how other industries are leveraging IoT to address the skills gap.


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Any Given Sunday and the Internet of Everything

On any given Sunday, or Saturday, in stadiums across the country powered by Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi, an average of 2 terabytes of data are coming across the network and tens of thousands of unique connections are being made. This means anywhere from 20-50% of ticketed fans are using their mobile devices to engage. Extrapolate that out to stadiums around the world holding soccer/football, rugby, basketball and other sporting events, and on any given weekend hundreds of thousands of previously unconnected fans are connecting to elevate the live experience.

The stadium or arena, and the services the venue and surrounding areas consume, mirror that of a city – safety, security, transportation, entertainment, food, commerce, and more. This microcosm is a wonderful showcase for the Internet of Everything (IoE) and the new business opportunities made possible. As people (fans, athletes, entertainers), process (operations, fan engagement, transportation management), data (performance, fan-generated, operational), and things (balls, bats, pucks, merchandise, parking spots) become connected, the world of sport will be radically enhanced.

A great example of this is AEG and what they have done with STAPLES Center and LA Live. They are delivering everything a fan wants at L.A. Live with hotel, food, dining and entertainment options in and around the venue. At STAPLES Center they have multiple teams, concerts and other events, making it home to more than 250 events and four million plus visitors annually. Add to that mix new experiences and business opportunities, and what results is a pulsating environment that runs and thrives on being connected. Step beyond the United States and AEG is doing the same thing with The O2 in London, and numerous other venues around the world such as Allphones Arena in Sydney, which recently announced the installation of Cisco StadiumVision.

More and more, I see an industry embracing the need to plan for an IoE based future. Last week Cisco announced its renewal as the Official Technology Partner of the NBA, and one of the key new additions to that agreement was a research and development initiative that will feature a committee of executives from both companies with a focus on employing principles of the Internet of Everything to enhance courtside connectivity within NBA venues. Click here for a front row seat at how Cisco and the NBA are already making IoE come to life. 

In addition, TD Garden in Boston is another great example of a facility leveraging Cisco solutions such as StadiumVision and Connected Stadium Wi-Fi as part of their overall facility renovation.

I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead for the Sports and Entertainment industry as part of IoE. We are going to be a leader in the changes taking place for the more than 250 venues in 30 plus countries around the world already working with Cisco, and those that will be as we collaborate to capture the opportunities that IoE will make possible.

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