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Mercedes Improves Customer Service Through Video

July 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm PST

Have you ever put your car in for service and it came back with a ‘door-ding’, or some other damage? Now, to be clear you probably can’t be 100% sure it didn’t happen in a car parking lot, or was it kids being too rough with there toys?  And where did that scratch come from on your newly delivered car -- was it already there? Who knows?

Well, if you were dealing with Mercedes-Benz Czech Republic (MBCR), you might find out!  Located in Prague, MBCR employs 400 people, and sells, services and supports Mercedes-Benz vehicles throughout the Czech Republic.

Mercedes Reference

Mercedes success story -- click picture to view pdf on Cisco Case Studies  Slideshare site

The subsidiary was eager to maintain its excellent standard of service. One issue that was a constant source of customer complaints was vehicle damage. Customers were sometimes wrongly accused of damaging cars when the cars had been scratched or dented in transit. Damages could  also occur in the showroom or repair center and be wrongly ascribed to customers. MBCR had an analogue camera system in place to cover these incidents, but the pictures that it produced were of poor quality. In many cases, identification of number plates and faces was not possible. Administrators also could not easily locate the footage that they needed, and recordings only stretched back two days.

After investigating various offerings, MBCR decided to select a Cisco® closed-circuit TV (CCTV) over IP solution from its trusted service partner Clarystone.  Capable of monitoring multiple sites from a single location, the security solution allows administrators to:

  • Access live video anywhere over the Internet
  • Locate specific dates, times, or incidents in video archives in seconds
  • Cost-effectively add new cameras and video storage

Exterior cameras film cars being loaded into the showrooms and record details of every number plate. If a vehicleMercedes Quote is scratched in transit, the cameras record the incident. This arrangement helps ensure that customers are not wrongly blamed for the damage. Interior cameras film the reception, showroom, and repair center areas. Any accidents or incidents involving theft or vandalism are instantly captured. Customers who leave their vehicles for servicing or repair can rest assured that they are now covered for any loss or damage.

miklemenI asked Michael Klemen -- Cisco Executive Automotive Manager in Europe (EMEAR) where video was going in the automotive industry and he said:

“New digital tactics are becoming more important to the auto industry in all areas,. As this matures the appetite for video content is growing at an insatiable rate: Show it, see it while being connected is important – digital dashboards, I-Services Kiosks, configuration & visualization from Car Design to Sales, After Sales services is what everyone builds into the value chain today !”

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Industrial IP Advantage the IT and OT Broker

The IT (Information Technology) and the OT (Operational Technology) “worlds” are requiring convergence to meet the growing complexity of a more informed customer driven market. Not only in the technical sense, but also organizationally. 

I don’t know about you, but trying to keep up with the alphabet soup of acronymous in one world is difficult enough, but when we attempt to combine both “worlds” it can be  nauseating to say the least, and produce a terrible “soup” of acronyms   I mean both organizations speak different languages, right?  OEE, EOL, CNC, MTTR, EtherNet/IP, etc.. for OT, and  SNAP, OSPF,  EOF, NAT, IP etc.. for IT. The IT world is more formal too, right?  For example, IT SIP’s and OT umm ……..CIP’s.

Can you imagine the language and cultural challenges of both worlds trying to understand each others language let alone work jointly to execute programs and projects that drive business value for their company’s and markets?  I’ve heard in some organizations that proposition often times causes a bigger confrontation than the epic Ali vs. Frazier “Thrilla in Manila” battle, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, the Industrial IP Advantage website is an educational community of both IT and OT professionals. A IT and OT broker if you will.  You will find that the two worlds are not so different.IIPA Logo

 
Paul Brooks, Rockwell Automation; Dan McGrath, Panduit and Kevin Davenport of Cisco discuss how OT and IT professionals can leverage the Industrial IP Advantage community to accelerate the adoption of IP technology to converge both “worlds” and extract tangible value from the IoE opportunity.

Left to right: Philippe Beaulieu, Dan, Peter Brookes, Kevin Davenport

Left to right: Philippe Beaulieu (Librestream), Dan McGrath (Panduit), Paul Brooks (Rockwell Automation), Kevin Davenport (Cisco)

The IT and OT worlds have more commonality than differences.  In fact, one of the common areas of focus for both worlds revolve around “standardization.”  Historically, OT technology projects and deployments have leveraged modified Ethernet implementations to connect machines, sensors and the like on plant floors.  This approached has produced many different flavors of industrial modified ethernet protocols, such as, ProfiNet, EtherCAT, Powerlink, etc.. Although these ethernet implementations allowed manufacturers to move further away from costly, difficult to maintain, and hard to scale proprietary technology the industry recognizes that a more universal standard technology approach is required to take advantage of the Internet of Everything (IoE) revolution and the 3.88 trillion dollar of manufacturing value associated with the IoE opportunity.  That standard technology foundation is Internet Protocol (IP).

By using the power of standard, unmodified Internet Protocol (IP) manufacturers finally have a universal technology platform that improves connectivity between people, partners and processes, devices, departments and systems in industrial applications, and opens up new opportunities for productivity, efficiency and flexibility. Industrial IP Advantage is an idea and resource to bridge the language and cultures barriers of IT and OT together and  drive the business and technical values required to meet the demands of the new consumer.

Please register for the community and join a growing community of your IT and OT peers who are innovating, learning and accelerating the adoption of IP to shorten their design cycles, drive supply chain agility, connect in more meaningful ways with customers and drive increased profit for their company.  In addition, you’ll have fun learning a new language.

 

 

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Standards Boost Business: Competing in a Global Economy

S. Joe Bhatia  President and CEO American National Standards Institute

S. Joe Bhatia, President and CEO
American National Standards Institute

Guest Blog by the President and CEO of the American National Standards Institute, S. Joe Bhatia: learn directly from the American National Standards Institute about the importance of standards, how their adoption and promotion can help organizations innovate in a global market, while lowering costs and gaining competitive advantage

Author Bio: S. Joe Bhatia, president and CEO of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has more than 30 years of leadership experience in global business operations covering engineering, governmental and congressional liaisons, external affairs, and standardization and conformance, and is a frequent lecturer in the U.S. and around the world on topics such as international trade, technical developments, commercial market access, and health, safety and environmental concerns.

As U.S. business and government leaders seek concrete solutions for job growth and global competitiveness, there is an incredibly powerful tool at hand that is sometimes overlooked. This tool can help U.S. industry tap into new and expanding technologies. It can help businesses out-innovate competitors in the global market. And it can help you cut costs and boost your bottom line.

I’m talking about standardization – and there has never been a more crucial time for American businesses to leverage standards and conformance to gain a powerful advantage.

Standardization not only informs the direction of innovation, it impacts the strength of the American workforce. Standards have the potential to accelerate the idea-to-market cycle, increase the number of U.S. products and services in markets worldwide, and save companies millions of dollars.

In short, standards have the power to turbo-charge innovation and fuel business growth.

But to gain the greatest advantage, you have to get informed, and – better yet – get involved. That’s why the U.S. standardization community has worked together to develop the Standards Boost Business outreach initiative. The goal is to help business leaders understand the strategic and economic value of standards – both to your company, and to our overall national competitiveness. Read More »

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Converge OT with IT for Business Benefits in Manufacturing

At the recent Cisco Live 2013 event in Orlando, I talked about the business value of converging operations technology (OT)—used for industrial automation systems—with IT business networks, in order to create more secure, end-to-end, standard communications and control.  Regarding business value of IT/OT convergence for machine builders/integrators and consequently their manufacturing customers, I referenced a case study involving Comau Group that Al Presher from DesignNews recently picked up in a blog entitled “Connectivity Enabling Smart Manufacturing.”

Automotive welding

Automotive welding

Comau is a leading supplier and partner for most global automakers, integrating welding and assembly lines that coordinate dozens of robots and ancillary automation across multiple stations.

The order-to-engineering sign-off cycle requires months and the consequent build and commissioning to full production adds many more months for a new or refreshed manufacturing line.

Multiple fieldbus protocols at the device level complicate both design and implementation, requiring more integration services—time and money—to make the system work.

By designing a converged IT/OT “Connected Machine” solution that utilizes IP-standards-based, off-the-shelf modularity with a network architecture validated for both business and controls topologies, Comau has been able to reduce engineering cycles and cut integration time by more than two-thirds.  Quoting an Engineering Manager from the company, “Installation, commissioning and debugging for 10 stations with 12-15 robots takes a couple days, rather than 1-2 weeks.” Read More »

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Manufacturers Go Mobile

July 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm PST
Mary Ann Azevedo

Mary Ann Azevedo

Guest Blog by

Mary Ann Azevedo is an award-winning journalist based in Silicon Valley.  She has covered business and technology issues for Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, the San Francisco Business Times and the Houston Business Journal.

An excellent piece by Mary Ann Azevedo is now available on the “The Network” (originally published June 24 , 2013) which expands upon many of the themes we have discussed on this Cisco Manufacturing Blog site. Start reading here, and the ‘Read More’ link will take you to the full article:

Ten years ago, an employee at a manufacturing firm would have to use pen and paper to conduct a plant floor inspection or quality control check. With handwritten notes, there was the potential for mistakes. The time it would take for a discovered problem to be addressed would vary considering how long it took for someone to learn about it and find the resources to solve it.

But as mobile technology has advanced, those same workers now have the option to instead use a mobile device such as a tablet or an iPad to perform the same functions. And those that do are finding that they are saving time and money while reducing the risk for errors and increasing safety in the workplace.

Manufacturers may have been slow to adopt mobility in the workplace but that reluctance seems to be gradually fading as once more conservative manufacturers are viewing the use of mobile as a way to get a leg up on their competition, notes Heather Ashton, research Manager for IDC Manufacturing and Retail Insights.Manufacturing employees “are becoming the smart connected worker by taking the technology with them,” she notes. “They’re moving throughout their workday connected at all times, which is huge.”

Not only they are adopting the use of mobile more, they are actually developing their own applications.According to a spring 2012 IDC survey (see chart in main article ), nearly 40 percent of 373 surveyed manufacturers across a variety of sectors said they intended to develop half or more of their applications for mobile platforms in 2012.

Eaton Corp. is one example of a company that has developed its own mobile application to enhance operations. John Gercak, vice president of information technology for Eaton’s $4 billion vehicle group, said his team in the United States and India spent about seven months developing the “Powertrac.”

The mobile application, which went live last December, uses a global positioning system (GPS) on an iPad and a cellular network to track the company’s test vehicles for supporting its products.

“With this app, the driver takes the iPad with them in the vehicle while on the track and we’re able to see in real time on the Web exactly where the vehicle is at all times,” he said.  Gercak said this is particularly useful because “if there’s a safety issue, we’re able to tell and notify the drivers in advance so as to avoid any potential accidents. Before if a vehicle was broken down, we weren’t able to know right away and contact the other drivers so from a safety perspective, it’s very helpful,”  Read More >

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