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#CiscoChat Recap: The Power of Connected Machines

Through a myriad of connections, the Internet of Everything has caused a digital disruption, forcing entire industries to evolve their business models in order to remain competitive and deliver optimized services. Both retail and higher education are prime examples. But, it’s the Internet of Things, comprised of millions of Internet-connected devices (estimated to be 50 billion by 2020), that’s having the largest impact on the manufacturing industry.

In a previous blog, we outlined how digital disruption is already happening across manufacturing and its sister industries like oil and gas. And while many of the operational changes and benefits happening are encouraging for the industry’s future, it’s also worth noting that as many as 40 percent of industry leaders will not adapt quickly enough, risking their survival in the industry. With so much at stake – Cisco estimates the Internet of Things will generate $8 trillion in Value at Stake through 2022 – it was the perfect time to host a #CiscoChat around “IoT-ready” machinery and connected factories.

Joined by members of the @CiscoMFG team and Brian Papke, the president of Mazak Corporation, we engaged in discussions on harnessing the power of connected machines, the opportunities being created and much more. Take a look at a few highlights below.

We know that manufactures are embracing digitization, but first, we wanted to gauge opinions of why they were doing so.


As a leader within the machine tool manufacturing segment, the team at Mazak Corporation quickly shared their thoughts.


The opportunities to drive business outcomes and enable more rapid and efficient manufacturing strategy were touted as well.

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And a handy chart from one participant Read More »

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#AutoFair15 Day 1 with @CiscoMFG

Well, back on the road again, it has been a straight 3 weeks of travel. From Kentucky to Shanghai then to Auckland and Sydney to Phoenix where I blogged about Cisco’s partnership with Caterpillar, now I’m back in my hometown of Chicago for Automation Fair # AutoFair15. Cisco once again has a significant presence at this leading industrial show which is Rockwell Automation’s largest user conference- with our own Booth # 1045 as well as presence in Industrial IP Advantage’s Booth #1340. We had some standing room only sessions including ones hosted by Bryan Tantzen and Randal Kenworthy.  The energy has been dynamic at this event with nearly 19,000 attendees.

A couple of key takeaways from the day- first, I was impressed with the customer engagement and quality of the conversations – especially as the network expertise of show attendees (primarily OT, controls and automation managers and professionals) have grown significantly over the years. Second, Connected Machines and the data analytics/data insight that result  comes as the number one asked about topic with Industrial security a close second. And finally, there were a lot of questions around Cisco’s recently announced Manufacturing Thought Leadership Study— research validates what folks are hearing – that disruption is happening and that organization change is needed to adopt to digitization and servitization.

My colleague Richard Mullen who was busy giving booth tours all day describes the reactions from the show floor:

“What I’m hearing from customers is that they now understand the value when hearing about IP as a data conduit from the plant floor. This ability to predict when things will break is of tremendous value to them. In addition, customers have told me that Cisco and Rockwell have come a long way in a year as far as integration — they are saying- ‘we would like to see even more network visibility within the PLC application to make management even easier. We understand it is a journey but you (Cisco) and Rockwell are leading the way.’ ”         

Here’s one of our cool demonstration stations showing our partnership with robotics manufacturer FANUC.

FANUC at AF2015

Thursday, the second day of the show promises to bring even more interesting discussions Read More »

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Improve Worker Safety and Maximize Uptime with Caterpillar and Cisco

The promise of digital transformation brings many important business outcomes and corporate strategies. A staggering majority of companies acknowledge that digital disruption is inevitable according to a recent Manufacturing thought leadership survey. With this disruption and transformation, there are some benefits to workers. In fact, I’m particularly passionate about the impact and improvements to worker safety and employee quality of life. These are specifically relevant to mining, manufacturing, and energy and any other verticals with harsh and rugged industrial work sites.

This came to life for me last week when I had the honor of working with our customer Caterpillar, at the Phoenix International Raceway Track. Ryan Newman, a top driver in NASCAR for the Caterpillar racing team was in Phoenix to move towards the next round of the Chase Sprint to the Cup. We invited Ryan try a new experience quite different from his typical driving at 200 mph. Instead,  we had him driving one of the largest bulldozers in the world (at 230,000 pounds), a Cat D11T situated 150 miles away. Cars are flying by in the background while we walk Ryan through directions on how to drivRyan_NERV truck2e a remote bulldozer.

You would think that a professional driver would know how to do this, but remote operation is very different. The initial joke was that Ryan had to do some right turns (in NASCAR it is a circular track with mostly a left turn for the vehicle to follow). Ryan of course made this look easy and hit the ground running. After his, and a few others, practice runs Read More »

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#CiscoChat: The Power of Connected Machines

mazak tweetchat

It is no secret that Manufacturing and related industrial verticals will be significantly impacted by the Internet of Things (IoT) and the new business models evolving from digital disruption. Many industry luminaries and market-leading companies agree that one of the most exciting aspects of digital manufacturing is the concept of Connected Machines, where previously non-networked equipment such as robotics, machine tools, packaging and other specialized devices in production operations can now be converged onto a common network infrastructure.

My colleague Bryce Barnes was recently quoted in an article describing this trend:

“What does it mean when you connect everything together? It’s about the value of moving information. Think about what a smartphone does. No one predicted a device that can access almost all of the sum of human information. The total number of machines in the world is enormous, about 65 million. Most are operated and managed locally. Moving data from those machines is a challenge.”

Manufacturers are now just beginning to harness this new generation of machine-to-machine systems, mobile applications, and cloud-based services including analytics — all digital capabilities to drive efficiencies (such as reducing unplanned downtime) and innovation (such as offering new value-added services) Read More »

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The Future of Manufacturing in a Connected World: Learn More at Automation Fair

Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion around digital disruption in various industries and in particular, how manufacturers need to jumpstart their digital transformation and adopt digital business models.  We think the future of manufacturing in a connected world requires a roadmap as you go thru the journey of becoming a digital manufacturer. Attending educational conferences such as the upcoming Automation Fair, Rockwell Automation’s largest user conference which is coming up from November 17-18 in Chicago, can help tremendously.

As my colleague Chet Namboodri outlines in his blog, “Countdown to Automation Fair: Spotlight on Digital Manufacturing”, Cisco will have a presence in Booth 1045 at #AutoFair15  and will demonstrate solutions and products that can help enable digital transformation. I will be presenting on ‘The Future of Manufacturing in a Connected World: How to Get There Today’ (T85) where I will describe why the integration of control and information on the manufacturing floor will be essential for manufacturers Read More »

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