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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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Cisco Live 2013 – Great feedback for Industry Sessions, and it’s not over yet…

June 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm PST

cisco live medianet banner

Wow, one of the best Cisco Live events yet: Cisco has its mojo back (analyst comments!); attendees engaging in great dialogue, and Cisco and Partner Presenters and demonstrations better than ever!

The keynote sessions are always packed, and with the big-name executives on show that’s hardly surprising. I, for one, was also impressed at how well attended the breakout sessions were too. The World of solutions was packed a lot of the time as well, with huge interest in the Internet of Things pavilion.

There was a welcome surprise in store for attendees of the session number BRKIND-1229, on “Cisco Industrial Solutions and Best Practices for Manufacturing”, as Chet Namboodri had arranged for an exclusive live Business Industry over Telepresence demo – piped in from the west coast all the way to Orlando – the world is getting smaller folks! Read More »

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Connected Driving Experience at Cisco Live

 Your car GPS alerts you on an accident and automatically found the best detour. The car ahead of you suddenly brakes and your car adjusts automatically.  Your car alerted your mechanic that something is ‘not quite right’ and started sharing diagnostic data, before you set out on your excursion.

During your road trip, your car guides you to the nearest gas station when you’re driving on empty in the middle of a strange town. You sneak in one last meeting before arriving at the campsite. Your car ensured that your conference call never had to reconnect even while going through the tunnel.

Now, if your car is going to be this smart, then it must be able to deliver critical information not only fast, but also securely and reliably.

This is the vision for the Cisco Connected Car.  Cisco’s expertise in delivering enterprise grade connectivity to Fortune 500 companies is being customized for passenger vehicles.  Cisco provides an end-to-end architecture that comprises an intelligent software client in the vehicle, a reliable roadside and backhaul framework and an automotive cloud infrastructure that is highly scalable, secure and fast.  This architecture is designed to seamlessly manage and deliver mission critical information to millions of connected cars.

This robust framework provides the foundation for a whole new suite of automotive applications.  Cisco believes that the Internet of Cars is an excellent use case of how The Internet of Everything will transform the way we drive and the automotive business.  The Internet of Everything brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections between vehicles to vehicles, vehicles to people, and vehicles to everything a growing necessity. Cisco recently released an Internet of Everything Economic analysis that identified a $350 billion value at stake when connected commercial vehicles are connected.

Check out the Connected Car Demo featured at Cisco Live below

Learn more about the Cisco Connected Car vision by visiting the Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) Booth (#1558) within the Partner Pavilion at Cisco Live..  You’ll find interactive demos and cars talking to traffic lights and other cars.   Don’t forget to bring along your great ideas to enter our contest to win some great prizes!

You can also find more info on our website at

www.cisco.com/go/connectedcar

14.4 Trillion (Reasons!!) To Visit Booth #1558 At 2013 CiscoLIve!

Last week I went to one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco…. Swan Oyster.  It’s an old school “dive” with the authentic rustic ambience you would expect from a 100 year old SF oyster bar.  I waited in line for 2 HOURS for four reasons……well 3.8 reasons.  First, you can’t find fresher oysters anywhere, second; the smoked salmon on rye melts in your mouth and the 3.8th reason…. well, my mother in law loves it (that deserves more weight than 1 reason, so I gave 1.8)

So, why I’m a being a food critic at an event dedicated to IT, industrial and manufacturing professionals.  Well, I know you are constantly analyzing reasons to make the right decisions whether for your family, business or career. Even if they’re as mundane as determining if you should stand in line for 2 hours with you dear mother in law for a dozen oysters and a generous helping of smoked salmon on rye. So, I thought I would give you $14.4 Trillion (reasons!!!) to visit the IoT Pavilion (booth #1558) June 23-27 at Cisco Live in Orlando this year.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) will create opportunities to capture $14.4 trillion of value between 2013 – 2022.  Of which, $3.88 trillion (reasons!!) worth of value can be obtained from manufacturing and industrial industries.  That’s $3.88 trillion (reasons!!) of cost savings and revenue generation that can be realized by taking advantage of the IoE revolution!!!internet_of_things

What is IoE anyway?  Is it like the Y2000 hype…. absolutely not.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) connects people, processes, data, and things (IoT) to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before creating new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity.  IoE will be a disruptive force that radically transforms they way we create, build, deliver and experience every product and service we use today.

Every manufacturer will need to connect existing devices to the Internet for control monitoring, and intelligent decision analysis.  Previously unconnected devices will become smart objects and sensors connected seamlessly and securely throughout the enterprise. Applications that haven’t been identified will be created and enabled to drive operational excellence, improved asset utilization, supply chain agility, innovation, workforce productivity and increased customer satisfaction and acquisition.

The $14.4 trillion (reasons!!!) dwindle fairly quickly over time.  Manufacturers and industrial producers do not have long to develop and deploy the infrastructure required to take ADVANTAGE of the IoE revolution.  The challenge is that many of the things (IoT) deployed in industrial environments were built for very specific purposes, and due to lack of standards were developed with their own proprietary protocols.

These approaches and strategies produce highly complex and costly infrastructures that do not scale or provide the flexibility to capture the $14.4 trillion value form IoE.

But there’s good news…….

Read More »

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