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Connected Machines Take Manufacturing to the Next Level of IoT

We’ve all seen how connected products can transform industries in areas like home energy management and personal health, and manufacturing is no exception. When products communicate back to their original makers, the manufacturers can detect production flaws well before customers would need to raise warranty claims. Further, product usage data can become the core of value delivered to the customer. Now that we have Fitbit and Jawbone UP, would you ever consider buying a traditional pedometer whose only method of telling you steps is on an LCD display?  These ideas can be applied to machines on the factory floor too.

In a previous blog post on the Connected Factory, I shared how Cisco’s validated designs combine best practices from operational technology (OT) and IT into robust and secure networks. I also addressed how wireless connectivity can enable a more effective workforce and how digital transformation with real-time production analytics improves quality. Read More »

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Security as an Enabler in a World of Increased Manufacturing Vulnerability

CF imageTShakibManufacturing is entering a new digital era, with more opportunity for mass customization, reduced downtime, and increased innovation. Manufacturers are capturing the value of the Internet of Everything (IoE) by becoming digital. Many are taking their first steps in this transformation by adopting Ethernet to connect plant floor devices to better manage operation and supply chain workflows, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. This digital transformation, however, creates greater exposure to cyberattacks. As a result, mitigating security threats has never been more important. Read More »

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Mitigating Security Threats in Manufacturing with Cisco’s Connected Factory

Today’s manufacturing industry faces an aging industrial machinery infrastructure that presents huge security challenges poised for continued growth in the coming months and years. Increasingly, manufacturers are beginning to view data security as a top barrier to realizing the value of the Internet of Everything (IoE). In fact, the steady growth of the IoE is creating efficiencies and cost savings across the entire value chain, presenting a $3.9 trillion value opportunity for manufacturers. However, this exponential growth of connections and integration between people, processes, data, and things also presents added security risks and threats that are often complex and multifaceted.

Here are a few of the implications and impacts of security breaches for manufacturers:

  • Theft or Loss of proprietary or confidential information and intellectual property
  • Downtime in factories and lost productivity – potentially very severe
  • Violation of regulatory requirements
  • Loss of public confidence and brand
  • Economic loss
  • Impact on national security

According to Symantec, the manufacturing business sector was the most targeted in 2013, accounting for 24% of all targeted attacks. Of those attacks, industrial networks topped the list of systems most vulnerable to cybersecurity issues. Additionally, the number of attacks on industrial supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems doubled from 2013 to 2014. Unfortunately for manufacturers, 91% of breaches took just hours or less to perpetrate, yet more than 60% of attacks took months – or even years – to detect. This considerable gap gives cyber attackers plenty of opportunities to access a manufacturer’s trade secrets and sensitive production data.

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How IoE Enabled the Automotive Connected Factory of the Future

For most manufacturing companies today, product and services innovation, the introduction of new models, and the need for flexibility and workforce engagement are some of the business drivers requiring a new way to look at factory automation. Often, the ideal opportunity to tackle these challenges arises when a company is expanding capacity or building a new production facility ‘greenfield’. The Internet of Everything plays into this opportunity perfectly as easier and more seamless ways to connect people, process and data have emerged. Mahindra and Mahindra, one of India’s leading automakers, seized just that opportunity to deploy a Connected Factory of the future, building the Chakan facility north of Pune in Maharashtra, to expand capacity on existing models and introduce brand new Mahindra model categories. Read More »

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3D printing is here. How will your organization respond?

As someone who has spent his career developing a deep knowledge of manufacturing and software, I’m rapidly becoming a major “fan” of 3D printing. The technology offers exciting possibilities that can radically change multiple industries including manufacturing. According to Industry Week, “a survey by the global consultancy PwC found that 67% of manufacturers are adopting 3-D printing in some way, most frequently in prototyping.” At the same time, ubiquitous 3D printing introduces new complexities around intellectual property ownership, counterfeiting and diversion issues that we’ve yet to fully confront.

3D printing has the potential to globally disrupt multiple industrial processes and supply chains. In the case of manufacturing on an assembly line, parts or products can be created through 3D printing on-site, potentially eliminating the need for separate parts suppliers. Take a look at how one leading industrial company, GE Aviation, is leveraging additive manufacturing in the video below.

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