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Laying the groundwork for IoE in your city: Cisco and Semtech introduce the IR900 series

Cisco continues to push forward with our vision of an Internet of Everything. This “vision” is starting to become less of a futuristic dream world and more of a reality, which is why I am thrilled to show off a new platform and programmable Internet of Things gateway for Smart City applications – the Cisco IR900 Series.  Initially developed to meet the needs of Smart Cities in China, the Cisco IR910 Internet of Things (IoT) Gateway features an open platform design for Smart City applications like smart parking, street lighting, waste management, load sensing of bridges and structures, and signaling and traffic control. The ruggedized, modular gateway easily fits into any harsh environment to aggregate with wireless sensors, which will enable an IoE World.

The market in China presents a great opportunity given the government has identified IoT as a strategic investment, recently outlining plans to invest a trillion dollars on economic development for the Internet of Things by 2020. Cisco has developed a solution that aims to help address some of the IoT business models that will be needed to support the development of smarter cities and communities in China, and is also collaborating with Semtech to utilize its expertise to enhance the IR910’s capabilities. The Gateway uses Semtech’s LoRa chip to create a platform enabling easy deployment and rapid expansion of IoT sensors and end-devices.

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With this latest technology, the range of the Gateway is impressive. So how far can LoRa and the IR900 actually cover? To put it into perspective (for those of you familiar with the San Francisco Bay Area), a single gateway located in Milpitas will cover from San Francisco all the way to San Jose – a distance of over 40 miles! Imagine the impact this gateway can have on an entire urban city. One gateway alone can power all of the sensors on a city network, bringing real time, intelligent data that can be turned into actions. This one gateway can open up the possibilities of an IoE world.

Fog Computing Framework

Back in January, Cisco introduced IOx, our fog computing framework, and how this new type of network will be necessary for bringing value to the Internet of Things. The IR900 series demonstrates how Cisco’s fog computing architecture can execute distributed data processing at the network edge. This approach offloads data center computing usage and reduces IP backhaul bandwidth needs. Intelligent computing and storage capacity can be distributed and processed in real-time calculation of the local IP network edge sensor to the raw data.

Through transparent integration with ecosystem partners’ solutions and the fog computing framework, the Cisco and Semtech gateway will be ready for asset tracking, smart parking, smart metering and smart street lighting.

Today, network development has entered the era of things; large-scale application of wireless sensor technology connects every corner of the city. Cities can collect all types of data from sensors, measuring sound, temperature, light, energy, carbon dioxide concentration, and even traffic changes.

The Internet of Everything will continue to push cities to adopt the most impactful applications and services, catering to the citizens and improving the quality of life. The IR900 is the next step in setting up a network to bring IoE to life by connecting wireless sensor networks and IP networks to back-end cloud platform integration.

Just like the saying, “It takes a village to raise a family,” it will take a robust ecosystem to “raise” the Internet of Everything. IoE cannot come to be through Cisco’s work alone, so we are continuing to work with industry partners, such as Semtech, to provide innovative technology and solutions to help city managers further enhance citizen’s daily lives and operational efficiency. 

For more information on the IR900 Smart City Gateway, please visit: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/routers/900-series-industrial-routers/index.html

Wasted Time is a Manufacturing Killer

Authors: Pat Mitchell and Dan Hirsh

What if you could keep track of manufacturing processes without having to hunt for work in progress (WIP), retrieve carts or pallets or search for a special tool or fixture? Wandering the warehouse in search of these things is a waste of time and resources, and costs money without generating income. What if you never needed to search again? Any time spent that is not specifically changing product form, fit, or function is waste. However, with the right tools from AeroScout, manufacturers can locate anything or anyone in their facility.

Before you can attack waste associated with manufacturing, you must first visualize it. Live, accurate WIP tracking can identify where flow gets congested, products misdirected, and orders lost. A real-time location system (RTLS) can also monitor specialized tools, fixtures, carts, and other equipment. RTLS can measure product movement and track any and every order through a multistage assembly and test process. Imagine a solution that records movement from place to place, automatically time-stamping every value-added activity. This makes it possible to identify areas where the waste is hiding. After all, if you don’t know where the bottlenecks are, how can you devise strategies to eliminate them? RTLS can also track people, so you can find critical team members when you need them.

The Advantage of Wi-Fi Infrastructure

AeroScout delivers complete location-based services and enterprise visibility solutions that take advantage of a Cisco wireless infrastructure.  AeroScout, part of Stanley Black & Decker, is a global market leader in enterprise visibility solutions using standard Wi- Fi networks. Its systems can track and monitor the quantity, location, condition (temperature, humidity, etc.), and status of inventory, as well as mobile assets and people equipped with a unique tag. The company invented the first Wi-Fi-based active RFID tag, and today it is widely recognized as a market-leading Wi-Fi RTLS provider. In a recent blog, my colleague Chet Namboodri details Stanley Black & Decker’s results of a new Connected Factory Wireless implementation conducted with Cisco and AeroScout Industrial.

Unique, identifiable RFID tags are small and inexpensive, and they can be attached to virtually any item. They can identify and locate devices, tools, work pieces, and more in a manufacturing context. Used heavily in large discrete manufacturing facilities, the tags communicate with Wi-Fi networks and provide location information based on triangulation between access points. The video below provides a good overview of additional use cases.

Manufacturing companies are profiting from real-time location systems – here’s how:

  • A major tire plant produces 1000 different car and truck tire products in a 2.6 million square foot facility. Tire curing machines needed to be full for maximum batch efficiency and to maintain production levels. Previously, sub-optimal management of green tire inventory on the floor left too many curing slots empty. Meanwhile, green tires were being scrapped in other parts of the plant. Confusion caused waste of both green and cured tires. Adding tags to each product carrier allowed managers to monitor inventory across the entire facility. Improvements were widespread: more efficient curing, production closer to schedule, less labor overtime, waste reduction, and fewer physical inventory counts of WIP.
  • An architectural glass fabricator builds outer walls for commercial and institutional buildings in three facilities across the United States. Their manufacturing process uses thousands of individual carriers that transport glass for custom orders. As the orders move through nearly 20 tempering, lamination, vacuum, and other process steps, workers would see their share of breakage, lost inventory, and remakes. The company needed a solution that would help locate any job within five minutes, and that solution had to fit into the current networking infrastructure, with easy deployment and minimal maintenance. The Wi- Fi-based RTLS system monitors projects using the company’s existing Cisco Wi-Fi network and increased carrier location accuracy from 60 percent to well over 90 percent. It has also reduced total glass scrap by 65 percent. In addition, the company has reduced staging losses by 55 percent and repurposed 16 full-time employees previously assigned to find glass throughout the facility.

Cisco and AeroScout bring both technologies together to operate seamlessly. Manufacturers can benefit from a robust solution that supports more cost-effective manufacturing by removing unnecessary fat from your lean manufacturing operation. Why continue to waste money searching for critical people, equipment, and materials? Find out how Cisco and AeroScout can create a real-time location system for you.

Manufacturing, IoT and Innovation – What’s the Missing LInk?

My colleague Chet Namboodri recently discussed, “The Internet of Things and the Future of Manufacturing” with Manufacturing Revival Radio.  In the interview, Chet discussed how best in class manufacturers like GM and Stanley Black and Decker are driving innovation and capturing real business value across their value chain by developing and executing an IoT strategy.

Manufacturers like GM and Stanley Black and Decker are creating this platform for innovation by deploying open standards–based Internet Protocol (IP) technologies that converge their enterprise and plant floor networks. The convergence enables tight integration of operation technology (OT) and information technology (IT), creating a flexible and scalable platform to:2439633

Speaking of security, it is cited by most manufacturers as the key barrier to IoT adoption and innovation.  The prospect of connecting millions, potentially billions of sensors, actuators, motors, gauges, valves, and machines with Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) applications like MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) applications can make VP of Supply Chains, Operation Managers and the like want to go back to the old island of automation model that Chet cited in his interview.

As daunting as security may be to innovation and IoT adoption. The skills workforce gap in the industry is the biggest threat and concern for manufacturing executives and managers. ThomasNet conducted a survey of over 1200 line of business manufacturing professionals .  The survey cited that Generation Y (18-32 years old) employees will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, but three-quarters of manufacturers report that 25 percent or less of their workforce are in the Generation Y age group.

Cisco recognizes that new skills and education are the missing link required to drive innovation and realize the value afforded by IoT in the manufacturing industry.

To prepare and attract the next generation manufacturing workforce Cisco has launched the Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist Certification for information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) professionals in the manufacturing, process control, and oil and gas industries who install, maintain, and troubleshoot industrial network systems. This certification ensures candidates have the foundational skills to manage and administer networked industrial control systems. It provides plant administrators, control system engineers and traditional network engineers with an understanding of the networking technologies needed in today’s connected plants and enterprises.

What are your major barriers to IoT Adoption?  Security, transitional workforce, ….?  In the meantime, be sure to visit the Industrial IP Advantage website for more information around how you can leverage IP technologies to accelerate your path to IoT value.

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Breakaway Business Outcomes across the Manufacturing Value Chain

My colleague Kevin Davenport was quoted in a recent AutomationWorld article “Connecting Expertise along Supply Chain,” highlighting a number of use case scenarios where mobile advisor and remote expert solutions for manufacturing can and have enhanced business performance and outcomes across the supply chain. These improvements include:

  • Greater field service effectiveness and reduce warranty costs—by offering real-time, scheduled, or impromptu access to SMEs via a pervasive video platform;
  • Stronger supplier relationships— by establishing effective, immersive B2B TelePresence conferencing;
  • New products to market faster, with a improved product launch processes—by using video-immersive collaboration to foster dynamic cross-business unit and development supply chain integration; and
  • Higher velocity, more effective response to plant-floor issues through fast deployment of both internal and external technical and SME support.

Examples include Jabil, Coca Cola, Puma, and our most recently featured IoE customer case study example with Stanley Black & Decker (SB&D), which demonstrates how Cisco Connected Factory Wireless capabilities, in concert with AeroScout Industrial real-time location services, are used to pinpoint issues—alongside people-and-process context—for much quicker resolution, yielding double-digit throughput and productivity improvements. Check out this video, for more on the SB&D case and results:

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Stay in the know about our Manufacturing solutions – Join our MFG Community of Interest!

August 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm PST

Are you interested in keeping up with the latest innovative and transformative manufacturing solutions? Join the Cisco Connected Manufacturing Community!  By becoming a member, you’ll receive access to industry news, complimentary webcasts, case studies, and white papers for optimizing business processes for manufacturing.

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