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Pssst, IT Operations Analytics Is Actually Cool

OK, using data to make decisions to streamline operations is not a new concept, but the resources and types of data that we have at our disposal is unprecedented. Gone are the days when we had to rely on data only available in the data center. There are new exciting ways to sift through terabytes of data to proactively predict problems before they impact service, optimize your IT and application infrastructure and gain an end-end view of operations.

Today there are more and more applications, devices, users, and tasks. They are generating a large amount of structured and unstructured data at the edge of the network. The net result is the old – read 5 years ago — centralized approach is no longer sufficient enough to guarantee true operational efficiency.

Let’s talk about some of the technology break-throughs and solutions that are driving this:

  • On premise Hadoop offerings are replacing high cost Multi Parallel Processing (MPP) Platforms.
  • Customers are now leveraging NoSQL Databases with Hadoop to uncover analytics from live interactive data to create operational analytics platform.
  • Security solutions are now focusing on meeting the challenges presented by the Internet of Things (IoT) that addresses concerns over malicious intruders and malware.
  • Business users and data scientists are now able to easily and iteratively derive insights from the unstructured data.

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The Data and Analytics Event of the Year!

Today, I’m excited to share with you some details on the 2015 Data and Analytics Conference, October 20-22 at the Hilton Chicago. The inaugural event will showcase some of the most innovative data and analytics thought leaders.

My favorite part of the event is listening to the customer presenters. I’d like to share with you a little background on these speakers and topics they will be presenting to get you excited as you’re planning your trip to Chicago.

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Energy Management and the Factory of the Future

“The future of many companies will depend on their willingness and ability to rethink their supply chains, to experiment with new processes and uses for data from Internet-connected objects that may change supply chains at their foundations.”

John Kern, Senior Vice President of Cisco Supply Chain
As quoted in the Wall Street Journal

 

We often hear the terms Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Everything (IoE) or digitization. They have many definitions, but to me it’s fairly simple. IoT is about the instrumentation of discrete systems that “connect the unconnected” and pull data from devices that were previously unattainable or required physical proximity. On the other hand, digitization is really the innovation that occurs when you take these new connected systems and the information they provide and mash them together in previously impossible ways. One of the industries this is happening faster in than most is the manufacturing sector.

Supply chain image

Over the last year Cisco’s supply chain organization and Flextronics launched a pilot program in Penang (Malaysia ) to explore the “Factory of the Future“ and its possible benefits. One of the priorities was to monitor energy consumption of the many diverse devices on the manufacturing lines as a means to better understand how energy was being used on Flextronics’ plant floor and what could be done to reduce its use and cost to the company.

This portion of the project was led by the Cisco Energy Management Team and it is estimated to save 20%-30% in energy usage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain, and expand the Cisco Energy Management solution from our IT roots into the IoT domain.

How it Works

Our energy management solution is a cloud-based software and analytics package that measures, monitors, and manages the energy consumption of any connected device. In the Flextronics instance it also required the deployment of sub meters located on the manufacturing shop floor.

Information from the devices is collected, displayed on a robust reporting visualization engine, and analyzed allowing for continued data monitoring, modeling of efficiency improvements, and automated system alerting. This level of sophistication enables automatic energy optimization using highly intelligent device control and management policies such as hibernating or gracefully powering off end devices. Additionally, the solution provides visibility into:

  • Power usage (baselines and trends)
  • Power analytics and device management to reduce consumption by changing behavior
  • Carbon emissions and reduction reporting
  • Utility bill analysis and many other data points

Optimization: Going Beyond Reduced Energy Consumption

Imagine having the visibility and agility to adjust the timing of runs to limit cost based on electricity and nitrogen gas costs during temperature testing. This energy information can be measured and visualized in manufacturing terms such as: areas of the factory (test, assembly), types of equipment (temperature chambers, chillers), and specialized views such as heaters, compressors, blowers and nitrogen gas flow.

Adding a data virtualization layer along with the Cisco Energy Management software suite, brings together a complete energy picture that includes IT devices, Operation Technology devices and IoT sensor data into a single enterprise-wide energy focused view. This delivers an extensive ROI model based not only on energy costs but data driven opportunities to improve operational workflows that help to cut costs.

Where We Are Today?

Man installing energy management deviceTo date, we have nearly 1,300 devices instrumented to monitor energy data on Flextronics’ (Penang) assembly and test floors, its equipment (temperature chambers, chillers, heaters, and compressors), and on the specialized energy use of nitrogen flow.

We are in the final stages of correlating the many data sources such as device energy, shop floor equipment test schedules and the manufacturing production and test databases to determine all the ROI opportunities available for decreasing energy costs from the manufacturing business.

We believe this initiative will help manufacturing supply chains greatly reduce their energy consumption and save tens of millions of dollars in the process. With Flextronics Penang alone, conservative estimates show the company saving $85,000 a month or just over $1M a year in USD.

Whether it’s the manufacturing floor, institutions of education, or smart cities, our goal is to find new ways to connect the unconnected for the benefit of all. The Internet of Things (IOT) is the engine to make it happen and cutting-edge innovation will lead the way.

What does the future look like? Only time will tell but it is clear IoT opens the door to a world of limitless possibilities and innovation will continue to prove supreme in this virtual kingdom.

What are your thoughts and questions about instrumenting the factory floor as a means to reduce energy consumption? Leave your comments below.

Resources:

Cisco Energy Management Suite At-A-Glance
In Malaysia, Cisco Systems trials plant fully wired to Internet (article)

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Fog Analytics: Turning Data into Real-Time Insight and Action

The world is awash in data, and 90 percent of it was created in the last two years.1 In fact, every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data2 and that number is growing exponentially. The explosive growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to add to this data glut, with 40 percent of all data coming from sensors by 2020.3 Today, a jet engine may generate 1 terabyte of data in a single flight,4 and a major global retailer collects 2.5 petabytes of customer day each hour.5 Yet 99.5 percent of all this data is never used or analyzed.6

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Why the Fortune 500 is Fast Becoming the Digital 500

As part of its research for this year’s annual Fortune™ 500 issue the magazine polled the CEOs of all the companies on its latest list of industry leaders. When asked, “What is your company’s greatest challenge?” the number one answer among the CEOs was, “The rapid pace of technological change.” Holding second position on their list of challenges was cybersecurity. The magazine remarked on the results, “Today’s CEOs clearly recognize that new technologies are going to radically change the way they do business. And they know that they need to figure it out before their competitors do.”

A major contributor to this change is the emergence of the Internet of Everything. Billions of devices, machines and equipment are being connected to the Internet at astronomical rates. These hyper-distributed things are creating unprecedented demands for data understanding and new business processes from every player in every industry value chain. The result will be a massively connected and integrated digital community that creates new services and experiences for each participant. Read More »

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