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Internet of Things Without Ecopartners? Not Possible!
By Kevin Sullivan, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)

Many companies are developing new market offerings for services that connect products with services from the OEM. This is a great way to create value and increase revenue. Done correctly, it can also increase “stickiness” or loyalty with customers. It delivers  competitive advantage since many customers will rely on services-based capabilities to manage costs and reduce capital spend.
But manufacturing companies developing Internet of Things (IoT)-based strategies face difficult choices: They need a wide array of capabilities to execute the strategy—not just internal engineering of a new product, but also new sensors, communications, analytics, and remote services. These involve strategic partners that offer a specific technology for communications such as service providers, sensor companies, and technology companies that provide embedded switching, routing, and other products.
Innovation in manufacturing requires several key elements. The Strategic approaches requires focusing on scans of external as well as internal technologies,  managing ecopartners and market interactions. Market leaders need to focus on the technology strategy and ecopartner-management process to be successful.
Future leaders will need to rethink their strategy to include partners in the ecosystem. Cisco IBSG is working with several leading manufacturing companies on these new strategies, with significant results.
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Keywords: Cisco, IBSG, Internet of Things, ecopartners, manufacturing, innovation, technology, strategy, ecopartner management

Productivity Gains Through Culture, Visuality, and Collaboration (Part 4): Building a Business Case for Collaboration

Collaboration is again on my mind as I prepare to board a giant Airbus A380—the largest passenger jet in service today—for the long flight from San Francisco to India via Frankfurt.

I think about the various problems reported about the A380 program. The plane was essentially built in France and finished in Germany. The two locations used different versions of engineering software to design the aircraft’s incredibly complex wiring and electronics. Needless to say, the designs were not compatible, leading to an enormous amount of rework and production delays. This resulted in higher production costs, canceled orders, and billions of euros in lost revenue. It is doubtful that the A380 program will ever be a commercial success for Airbus.

Could more effective collaboration and communications capabilities have prevented this scenario? I think so. In fact, the business case for improved collaboration has never been clearer. Read More »

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Productivity Gains Through Culture, Visuality, and Collaboration (Part 3): Extended Workplace Visuality and Pervasive Collaboration

In Part 2, I explained why organizational culture and leadership are probably the most important factors contributing to gains in employee productivity and innovation. This week, I’d like to describe two additional, highly essential enablers: extended workplace visuality and pervasive collaboration.

Extended Workplace Visuality: A visual workplace is one in which information needed to collaborate, engage, and stay productive is made available at the right time and place, rather than hidden away in spreadsheets and other documents on various employees’ laptops.

Visual displays have complemented lean manufacturing practices on the plant floor for many years, significantly reducing work-in-process inventories and manufacturing lead times, while driving cost and quality improvements. Visual thinking has also been adopted in environments such as airports and hospitals to improve operations, customer service, safety, and quality. Read More »

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Bombardier Trains and Cisco Systems – Connecting the Human Network

July 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm PST

For those of us who didn’t know, Bombardier builds what they call “complete,  sustainable rail transportation systems’. These  days that’s important.

Bombardier’s customers are transit agencies around the world, and the company must continually innovate to help its customers operate trains efficiently, safely, and with a superior passenger experience. Bombardier came to Cisco for assistance in developing an on-board network that will give its customers efficient, cost-effective capabilities that enhance the passenger experience.

Peter Granger, Industry Marketing Manager talks about Bombardier’s implementation of a ruggedized mobile network

Customer comment: “Transit agencies purchase their railcar systems with the expectation of them lasting for many years,” says Erik Larsen, Engineering Specialist II, Network Communications and Security for Bombardier. “Cisco helped us design a network that provides leading-edge industrial intelligence to support agencies’ strategies for attracting and maintaining ridership while easily scaling to meet their changing needs over time.” Read More »

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The new manufacturing workforce enabled by Cisco Unified Access

July 31, 2012 at 4:34 am PST

My eldest nephew is a recent college graduate.  He lives in Boston and walks to work, which is less than 2 miles from his apartment.  When I was his age, I commuted fifty miles in bumper-to-bumper traffic to get to work (uphill, both ways)!

Young, skilled workers who want to live, work and socialize locally are pushing companies to locate in cities.  Many employers are accommodating the hiring demands of the new workforce, as a means to recruit and retain new talent.

An estimated 10 million manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled due to a growing skills gap.  As the talent pool shrinks, companies are paying close attention to what the next generation of skilled workers wants – all with the end goal of employing, retaining and keeping workers away from the competition.

Watch the video that I refer to later in the blog

An undeniable truth is that these young workers, and most of their not-so-young co-workers, want the freedom to use their own personal smartphones and tablets at work. And more than ever, they want to use them from anywhere, even when they’re on the move. This mobile BYOD desire is causing an avalanche of new devices (15 billion by 2015), applications and cloud-based services.

Business and IT leaders are paying attention.  A May 2012 Cisco IBSG Horizons Study reveals that IT is saying yes to BYOD. A whopping 95% of respondents say their organizations permit employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace.  Have a look at Peter Granger’s blog to learn about how manufacturers are implementing BYOD.

Working according to our own terms does present a variety of new business and IT infrastructure challenges. And thanks to Cisco Unified Access, employers can safely accommodate the demands of the new workforce, and enhance their own business productivity in the process. 

The new workforce’s insistence on working their way may not only change the way we do business; it just might ease that bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic!

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