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Here be Dragons

October 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm PST

Hic Sunt Dracones

Centuries ago, medieval mapmakers used to draw dragons and other mythological creatures on maps to indicate areas that were uncharted, and therefore potentially dangerous. One particular map, the Hunt-Lenox Globe, contains the phrase: “HC SVNT DRACONES,” Latin for “here are dragons.”

When examining social media and the potential effect it can have on one’s professional and personal landscape, I sometimes feel that all social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. should, somewhere near the copyright, contain the phrase “here be dragons.”

The amateur Art Historian in me would also like to see a beautiful image like the one above accompany the warning, too, but that’s less important.

Potentially Dangerous

For all its wonders, Social Media can be a dangerous thing. Read More »

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Why are you here?

There are a few of us at Cisco that write here regularly. We care about what is going on in Manufacturing in general, but more specifically, in terms of integrating the manufacturing networks into the Enterprise and speeding adoption of open standards to enable more efficient production.

I will later this month be launching a series on how Machine Builders can more readily enable productivity by integrating more closely with their end users (call that “convergence”) or by helping their end users be more productive by enabling secure remote access. But that is later this month.

Today I want to talk about how we all communicate. It isn’t just by wires. It isn’t just by mouth. We have a plethora of communication means available to us. I’m talking about us people to other people in the industry. It is by building contacts with people in industry and spreading the word. That is what we at Cisco are doing.

We don’t have every answer. We think we’ve got a number of good ones. We’re enhancing some of the areas. But this is not a commercial for Cisco. This is a commercial for open dialogue between those that care about Manufacturing.

There are a few good spokespeople for this effort, and I want to call them out. And I admit right upfront this is not a complete list. But please bear with me. Read More »

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From Silence To Sound

October 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm PST

Warning: Tearjerker Alert!

I can’t imagine myself or anyone else reacting any differently. This is a video of a young deaf woman hearing her own voice for this first time in her life:

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POWER!

Early yesterday afternoon we were sitting and reading the paper when the power went out. I knew because all of a sudden the TV went off. Kind of peculiar because it was a bright sunny day, but no big deal so long as it came back on by 3:15 for the Packer game (which they won decisively) and 4:00 for the Brewer game (which they also won decisively).

It came back on after 45 minutes. That is not the cool part though. The cool part was 30 minutes later when the phone call from WE Energies came in. I knew it was WE Energies because the caller ID voice said so, so I answered.

The recorded announcement told me that there had been a power outage (duh…) and that they had fixed the outage and could I press “1” if my power was back on (ummm, I answered the digital phone right?) but then they said they were sorry for the unexpected outage, it had been an equipment malfunction and there were 130 customers impacted.

As I thought about that I thought it was really cool that on a Sunday afternoon they knew about a problem, got people out to fix the problem within a really short time, they knew that I in particular had the problem and that I was one of 130 customers that experienced the problem.

This is the power of real time information from your production facilities. This is the kind of response you should expect from your factory – to know when there is a production problem, to find the right assets to fix the problem and to know how widespread that problem is. Whether you are a small machine shop or a large conglomerate manufacturer, whether you are a systems integrator, a panel builder or a contract manufacturing firm – Cisco’s Borderless Networks and Manufacturing Solutions give you that information today in real time wherever and whenever you need it.

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Efficient Giving

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that US manufacturing productivity’s average annual rate of growth (AARG) from 2007 to 2010 is 2.0%. In addition, the report cited that from Jan 1972 to August 2010, the number of people employed in US manufacturing jobs fell from 17,500,000 to 11,500,000 while manufacturing value rose 270%.

Upon reading these statistics, I began to reflect on how technology has radically changed every facet of how we live, work, and connect with each other. I began to ponder, if we could measure and plot our country’s “compassion curve” against the Information Age (circa 1975 – present) would it reflect the same growth and efficiency gains that have been realized by our manufacturing sector? Could we conclude that our society has become increasingly more insensitive and greedy, or more compassionate and giving? Read More »

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