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Automation World Awards First Team Honors To Cisco Systems for Leadership in Networking

Recently, Cisco was honored in the Automation World 2014 First Team Honorees list. This award recognizes Cisco as a leader and trusted partner for manufacturing, distributing and industrial companies.

A Paved Path to IoE Value

We’ve heard a lot about the $14.9T value opportunity provided by the Internet of Everything (IoE) with $3.9T or 26% of the overall IoE value residing in manufacturing and industrial (Mining, Oil and Gas, …) industries.  The challenge for the market is determining the best and most efficient path to capture that value.

The Automation World 2014 First Team Honoree award validates that the industry is embracing Cisco’s holistic approach of providing tightly integrated system architectures and solutions like Cisco Connected Factory – Automation and Cisco Connected Factory -- Wireless as a best practice path to IoE value.

1st team automationIn fact, these solutions are being deployed by leading manufacturers like Proctor and Gamble, GM,Stanley Black and Decker,Sub Zero, and Shell. These forward thinking companies are tightly integrating their entire business value chain from R&D, operations, and supply chain through to customer retention and acquisition sales, and driving the business outcomes that give them a competitive advantage in the market.

Its Not About Products or Solutions … It’s About the OUTCOMES!

This award is not about the ‘speeds and feeds’ on how the Cisco Aironet 1550 Series Outdoor Access Points enables a self-healing, and self-optimizing wireless network that mitigates the impact of wireless interference or how the Cisco Industrial Ethernet IE2000, IE3000 and IE400 Series Switches extends the proven Cisco Catalyst technologies prevalent in enterprise networks to industrial networks for ease of use and best in class performance.

It’s about how these wired and wireless products were easily integrated into a Connected Factory Solution Architecture and enabled,

…Stanley Black and Decker to maximize their plant productivity and operational efficiency.

“With the help of the Cisco and AeroScout Industrial solution, we are on our way toward realizing our vision of a virtual warehouse and fully connected factory, with complete visibility and traceability.” --Gary Frederick, CIO Industrial Division, Stanley

…Sub Zero to meet their new product introduction goals and reduce manufacturing downtime.

“With this solution, we found a way to see and discuss very detailed video and images from afar in a highly secure manner. We are now using video collaboration on a daily basis to finalize designs, correct production line issues, work with suppliers, and train installers and servicers.”  - Paul Sikir, VP of Engineering, Sub-Zero

My colleagues Bryan Tantzen, Sr. Director -IoE Manufacturing and Todd Edmunds, IoE Architect demonstrate the possibilities of Connected Factory

Cisco Connected Factory is the foundational building block for these transformative business processes that leads to greater innovation and efficiencies throughout the business value chain. We thank our customers, partners and Automation World for partnering with us as we pave the way to IoE value nirvana!

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Focus on Operations for 2015

Welcome back from a restful holiday break, assuming you were able to take one. But, like many in manufacturing, you might not had too much time off.  According to Industry Week and MAPI, the High Tech industry in particular is booming and there is no slowdown to be seen.  For the IT teams supporting these types of manufacturing operations, that means a lot more time troubleshooting and making sure that the network is always up and running.  With the efficiencies that companies have put in place to see additional growth numbers (ERP, HRMS and other systems), the focus is moving more and more towards the work areas and away from the corporate side of the operations.

The recent blog from my colleague Chet Namboodri on “2015 Manufacturing Industry Predictions , highlights some key trends including the shift to the operational side of the house. In addition, new services offerings are coming from completely different markets to drive the space in new ways.  To do many of these offerings, the basics of the factory are going to start to be analyzed in ways that have not been possible before.  The base to build this analysis capability is the networking foundation where we will connect the information stores into a holistic view of the operations so you can understand what is going on from an end to end picture and drive new capabilities by tying in more and more information.

While this can be a daunting task to many, Cisco and our partners are currently doing this with our IoT and IoE initiatives. In my recent blog on The Internet of Things Accelerates Innovation and Value Creation for Manufacturers, I mentioned tying together systems that in the past were stand-alone operational systems with other operational systems as well as with the Enterprise systems that have been in place but were not part of the full picture.  This can include integrating maintenance systems with HR/Scheduling systems as well as sales and ordering systems.  An example I use (and am currently working with a customer on implementing) is to actually tie these systems together so that you know when machines are going to be down and when people are to be scheduled.  While this has been done in the past, we are now adding sales information to the mix to understand that if a system is down what orders may be delayed and if there is a key order for a key customer that should not be delayed. In the past, this extra step was rarely done and the result was a conflict between sales and operations and finger pointing all around.

This and other examples WILL result in improved operations and even more important increases in capacity management and employee productivity.  The costs are minimal, the time to get it right is the key. How are you focusing on operations and analytics in 2015?

2015 Manufacturing Industry Predictions

What’s new and trending for the industry? Well, predictions for the upcoming year as a motif is certainly not new but is definitely trending, considering the deluge of pundits concentrating their well-informed thoughts about which industry happenings will emerge through hyperbole and into reality. Amongst go-to industry resources I find myself perusing is LNS Research, who has chosen to break down their Top Three 2015 predictions by industry trend/topic: Industrial IoT; Industrial Energy Management; Environmental Health and Safety; and Asset Performance Management.

Another annual favorite that I’ve blogged about in the past—including commentary on Cisco relevance—is IDC Manufacturing Insights, who this year took on a refreshing, new format entitled IDC Futurescape: Worldwide Manufacturing 2015 Predictions. The team of IDC manufacturing practice analysts quantify and qualify their ten most critical imperatives to be addressed by global manufacturers in 2015 and beyond—based on the coalescence of technology and line of business interests—including a few that are very pertinent to Cisco’s Internet of Everything (IoE) initiatives:

  • In 2015, customer centricity requires higher standards for customer service excellence, efficient innovation, and responsive manufacturing, which motivates 75% of manufacturers to invest in customer-facing technologies.
  • By 2016, 70% of global discrete manufacturers will offer connected products, driving increased software content and the need for systems engineering and a product innovation platform.
  • By 2018, 40% of Top 100 discrete manufacturers and 20% of Top 100 process manufacturers will provide Product-as-a-Service platforms.
  • In 2015, 65% of companies with more than 10 plants will enable the factory floor to make better decisions through investments in operational intelligence.

Before the analyst predictions pushed their way onto my laptop screen, I was asked by Cisco’s press relations team to put forward my top 3 for the industry. So on All Saints Day, before heading out on weeks of travel to China, India, and several of the United States outside my home residence, I produced three ideas that didn’t make it to our PR megaphone. As part of this blog, I’ve decided to share these three predictions, with some relevant observations from my Nov-Dec travels and customer interactions …

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IoT in Action – Connectivity in Fire & Safety

The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a profound impact connecting buildings and industrial networks to IT environments. By linking your industrial sensors, robotics, trucks, and other equipment with your enterprise applications, through the Internet of Things (IoT), companies have better visibility into what’s happening in the environment. More importantly, these companies can more quickly and effectively respond to that information.

Connected Buildings and Incident Management

One area where IoT is changing the landscape is building management.   Traditionally, building management systems have been maintained on independent and proprietary networks.   This worked when the requirements were for stand-alone systems.   However, with the emergence of IoT, these systems are migrating to an IP/Ethernet based platform.   The benefits of this include: (1) improved ability to communicate between systems, (2) better integration with the building IT networks, and (3) ability to communicate outside the building.

One example is in fire and life safety.   Organizations are now looking at these solutions to be more than fire detection and alarm systems by providing additional capabilities and becoming incident management systems.

Edwards/UTC Moving into IoT

For example, when Edwards Fire Safety, a division of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, was looking for ‘Solutions for the Future’, they looked to Cisco. Working with Edwards, Cisco’s IoT business unit initiated a program under a Strategic Technology Integration agreement that combines Cisco’s ruggedized IE 2000 switch with the fire and life safety system.

To properly operate in these environments, networking devices must be highly ruggedized to protect the internal components. Specific and tight connectors are needed to avoid any possible water penetration and disconnects due to vibrations.

For Edwards, this provides a smart, next generation communication platform that provides three key benefits:

  1. Faster Deployments -- The “Powered by Cisco” logo is one that is certainly respected and recognized within the networking ecosystem.   Edwards can leverage this logo to quickly address any concerns about the power of their solution components when working with building IT and networking teams.
  2. Next Generation Platform -- Allows Edwards to utilize an IP/Ethernet based solution.   This offers multiple benefits including: common platform, open standards, scale and security, and the opportunity to build additional capabilities on the solution to support incident management.
  3. Solution Support -- Enables Edwards to easily and quickly perform diagnostic and remediation of networks issues using a smart and managed switch.

Take a look at the solution at this year’s ASIS Conference:

 

Finding Solutions for the Future

Cisco makes it easy to capitalize on industrial connectivity and IT-to-operations convergence. We bring industry-leading network and management capabilities to your harshest environments, while providing end-to-end solutions to address every aspect of industrial networking, including plant routing and switching, field networks, embedded networks, and physical security. And all of these solutions integrate with Cisco’s traditional wired and wireless networking, security, collaboration, and data center solutions as part of a single, converged platform. For more information about Cisco switches, visit www.cisco.com/go/ie2000.

Making the ‘Plant of the Future’ a Reality Today

At Automation Fair last month, I participated in several sessions and industry forums as part of Cisco’s participation in this event, which is Rockwell Automation’s largest user conference. What struck me were some of the urgency for many manufacturers in investing in key technologies in their plant environment. It was quite serendipitous, since we announced enhancements to our Connected Factory offering in terms of wireless features. Many of the customers I spoke to had specific wireless use cases in mind for their particular factory floor.

Specifically, we spoke to several well-known Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and Aerospace companies, and the drive to improve efficiencies through machine monitoring and new analytics to reduce costs or downtime is spurring new investments in IoT initiatives and projects.   According to my colleague Randall Kenworthy, Practice Director for CPG and Life Sciences, CPG companies are pursuing 3 strategies: “Connect,” “Secure,” and “Virtualize.” Most of the assets being used to make products are still dark, securing food safety and intellectual property in an escalating threat environment, and virtualizing plant floors to increase uptime and lower costs. Randall presented to a packed room of nearly 400 attendees in the CPG forum at Automation Fair.

What is interesting today is that a full ‘Plant of the Future’ concept is no longer a ‘pie-in-the sky’ vision but rather a real-life, tested solution that can be deployable today. Take a look at this overview video describing the prime use cases and components of a Connected Factory:

The infographic below encapsulates many of the business outcomes manufacturers are seeking to achieve and how the Connected Factory can make your ‘Plant of the Future’ a reality today: productivity, output increase, innovation acceleration, and energy efficiency. What are your plans to make the Plant of the Future a reality for your factory? Tell us more in the comments below. Thanks for reading.