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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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Countdown to Automation Fair: Spotlight on Digital Manufacturing

Enabling Digital Manufacturing means not just embracing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) but also taking the time to get smart on the latest best practices, technologies and solutions. There’s no better place to do that than the upcoming Automation Fair #AutoFair15. As always, this event is a ‘can’t miss’ conference for all of you who are in controls, operations or IT for industrial companies.  This year, Automation Fair will be held in the MidWest, in Chicago’s McCormick Convention Center from November 18th thru 19th.

As part of our strong strategic relationship with Rockwell Automation, Cisco will once again have a significant presence at this event including speaker presentations, participation in industry forums and our own booth (#1045) as well as participation in the Industrial IP Advantage booth (#1340).

Our goal is to help customers start their own digital manufacturing transformation and to showcase how they can– connect theAUTOMATION_FAIR 2015_BANNER_AD_150x685 factory to the enterprise, protect company assets, collect the right data and effect performance. Here’s a quick snapshot of the exciting solutions that enable digital manufacturing which we will be demonstrating in the Cisco booth:

  • Connected Machines: This week at Discover 2015, we are struck by how well received by customers our joint SmartBox offering with machine builder Mazak has been. Literally every machine shop customer, big and small, with whom I spoke with is struggling with visibility on utilization and actual quality throughput. Enabling OEE dashboards on every machine tool is going to be a huge hit. Mazak themselves achieved +17-pts improvement in utilization across their 800,000 sq-ft production operations by deploying the SmartBox beta within their own facilities over the last several months. This Connected Machines demo leverages our work with Mazak and leading robotics manufacturer Fanuc to showcase several leading edge manufacturing solutions such as predictive maintenance, plant PC virtualization, remote and mobile access, energy management, video collaboration and security.
  • Connected Assets for Location: Inventory control and WIP management are critical to driving production efficiency. Missing or misplaced material can bring a plant to its knees. With factory wireless and real-time location services, your assets are tracked and location immediately known. Historic views of paths taken by assets can reveal opportunities for efficiency.
  • Training Certification: Operational and informational technologies are converging into a united industrial infrastructure. While these technologies are evolving at a rapid pace, there is a growing skills gap, creating a need for individuals equipped to manage and operate the manufacturing facilities of the future. Learn more about the Cisco Certified Network Associate Industrial (CCNA Industrial) certification which is for plant administrators, control system engineers and traditional network engineers in the manufacturing.
  • Security for Manufacturing: Manufacturing is the number one targeted Industry for cyberattacks and security breaches. Combined with an aging industrial machinery infrastructure, there are significant security risks and challenges. The security for manufacturing demo showcases an effective before/during/after solution. This holistic security solution addresses the critical needs of securing manufacturing operation while improving productivity and reducing operation downtime.

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Cisco Shows Oil and Gas Cost-Saving Technologies at Automation Fair

Cisco has been a prominent supporter of the Rockwell Automation Fair for a number of years. The relationship has grown over time to one where both Rockwell and Cisco collaborate on developing software, solutions and products for a wide range of both IT and OT (Operational Technologies) functions within industrial and other customers.

Recently Cisco showed off some of the technologies in the oil and gas space, and Ahmed Farrag, Business Development Director from Cisco, talks about Cisco’s presence at the show in the following video.

Ahmed talks about Oil and Gas as one of Cisco’s key focus industries. He mentions the huge demand increases we’ve seen over the past few years.

That’s all changing right now.

The price of oil has plummeted to half what it was only a few months ago. With China slowing, parts of Europe close to another downturn, and oil now gushing following the huge investments that have been made in fracking and tar sands in the US, some say we have too much oil right now. Some companies are going to be worried about margins and future investments. So what’s the future?

The show’s title gives us a clue. Just as automation has helped ‘onshore’ manufacturing back to the US in many cases, automation will reduce costs over the longer term. And many processes and practices in the oil and gas industries are ripe for Automation. Blair Christie, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Cisco, showed a chart at a recent press review (The Internet of Everything Changes Everything – The Future of Work) that highlights that the oil and gas industry is, perhaps, the most likely industry to benefit from the Internet of Everything and automation (slide 12):

Nearly half manual processes could be automated.

Nearly half manual processes could be automated in most industries, with Oil and Gas the most.

That chart holds the key to the future of the Oil and Gas industry.

With the advances that have already been made (and those yet to come) in the field of automation, along with rapid progress in collaboration and communications  technologies between workers and companies, one of the keys to profits will be enabling lower costs and higher efficiencies. Cisco and it’s partners are leading the charge.

You can read more about Cisco in oil and gas here: Cisco Industry Solutions: Oil and Gas. there you’ll find: Read More »

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Business Scenarios for a Connected Factory

In a recent blog post, Tony Shakib, VP of the IoT Business Unit here at Cisco, described how the “Road to the Connected Factory is made Easier” with some enhancements to validated designs and network guides.  At the Cisco booth at the SPS/IPC/Drives Industrial tradeshow in Nuremberg this week, we are showcasing some specific scenarios and use cases where Cisco Connected Factory really comes to life and delivers significant business benefits. Read More »

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Automation Fair 2013 – Final Thoughts from Houston

As Automation Fair was wrapping up yesterday, all of my Cisco colleagues were expressing gratitude to our hosts at Rockwell Automation. We want to congratulate our partners at Rockwell Automation for once again, putting on a very successful user conference. Our partnership has evolved into a truly collaborative and demonstrably successful model for joint product and solution developments, go-to-market effectiveness, industry and thought leadership, all aimed at the same goal: our mutual customers’ success.

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