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Cisco Partner Case Study in Oil and Gas – Canadian Natural Resources by Provist

December 24, 2014 at 7:59 am PST

Cisco partner Provista IP Communications* provided a solution to Canadian Natural Resources that delivered a flexible off-shore wireless network supplying data mobility whilst remaining secure and manageable.

When you search for case studies in Oil and Gas there are lots that cover the carpeted areas of organizations -- office areas mainly, but fewer that actually reach outside to places like manufacturing or refinery areas, or even oil rigs. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to read the case study from Provista. Provista are a Cisco partner based near Glasgow with a presence in North-East Scotland and the Midlands in England.

You’ll hopefully remember my blog: Ferguson Group Ltd keeps an Eye on Operations with Cisco Physical Security, in which I talked about the coming of a new ‘space-age’ equivalent for Scotland. In that blog we looked at physical security and video in particular. With this Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) case study we can see how the Cisco technologies go further out to inhospitable environments and help keep workers away from danger, and more productive if they have to be off-shore.

Read the case study and you’ll see the provision of Cisco wireless technologies helped enable CNR overcome some business challenges:

1.  “The cost of resourcing engineering consultancy and deployment time was significantly higher due to travel restrictions.”

2.  “It would be difficult to ensure that installed wireless networks would remain active in the event of a single device failure.”

3.  “Canadian Natural regularly had guest visitors to their off-shore oil platforms and thus requested a secure, but separate, connection for guests to make use of.”

Provist goes on to say that there were some major business benefits are being achieved:

  1. Cost/Safety: “Provista’s solution ensured that there was no need for highly-trained technical staff to be present at the remote sites.”

  2. Lower Downtime: “Canadian Natural technical staff have a longer window of time to deploy replacement equipment in the event of a failure.”

  3. Worker/Guest Productivity: “Employees and guests can be more productive off-shore as a result of the wireless network access.”

The case study goes on to talk about the implementation and Cisco elements for management and control. This is an example of how Oil and Gas customers will often start building networking infrastructure in the carpeted areas (like CNR did) and then extend out to non-carpeted areas such as oil platforms. The number of oil rigs that have a pervasive WLAN is actually relatively low. Sure, there are numerous proprietary networks for sensors and the like, but we’re now seeing the implementation of WIFI on rigs that are providing converged (i.e. compatibility and convergence with IT and OT -- or Operational Technologies systems and networks), as the Internet of Things, and the Internet of Everything continues its journey of becoming more pervasive. This is a convergence based on Industry standards.

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Small Business Profile: Auto Union Tuning

July 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm PST

Hello all,

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Out here in Southern California, in a town called Huntington Beach, is a growing Auto Shop called Auto Union Tuning.

It is a special place where the owners, Dave and Raz specialize in car care, maintenance and tuning of VW, Audi and Porsche automobiles. On any day, you will find a combination of these three car makes on the lifts and in the garages. From quick VAG-com checks to complete engine rebuilds, you name it, this shop can take care of most work.

There is one specific car they specialize in is the Audi B5 S4. This particular model is sought after by Audi enthusiasts for the tuning potential. This S4 was manufactured between 1997 and 2002, which sported a twin-turbocharged 2.7 liter inline 6 cylinder engine. Some key upgrades can make a 10+ year old car beat new Nissan GTR’s, Supercharged BMW M3′s, Supercharged Corvette’s, Vipers, Shelby’s etc. down a quarter mile.

But alas, that is another story.

I first met Raz back when I was in search of someone to work on my own B7 Audi S4 Avant. Thankfully, I met Raz and he worked on my baby until I sold her to a gentleman that flew out from Salt Lake City and bought my Audi S4 site unseen. This largely because of a conversation I recommended my buyer to have with AUT. Yes, AUT did a good job not only maintaining and caring for my then car. But it is the countless other AUT customers who told others about their experience in how AUT handled their customers and their customers cars. Simply, the they did a great job in running a great business. In the few years I have known the owners, I have seen their business being born, move into a small shop, expand into neighboring units, then move into their current facility, which I must say, is impressive.

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The Office

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The Lifts

With all of this growth, Raz and Dave has seen their network needs and requirements evolve. At first, basic network connectivity using a consumer all-in-one router did it’s job obediently for the first few years, but once they moved into the new facility, things had to change. Simply, the networking strategy had to grow up.

Fast Forward to today, there’s now a total of two new mechanics, office employees, three new workstations and a new ticket writing software that needs to be available on multiple workstations. No doubt new employees and more requirements on their network will be coming in the future.

Yes, Raz and Dave have planned for growth. The new waiting room and front office now houses new couches and a TV. New wheel displays are set-up, vendor banners are hung, and the walls are newly painted.There is a bunch of exhaust and performance parts displayed around the room.

But this planning also included a new need for wireless guest access and of course a secure network where Auto Union Tuning Employees can access secure files and applications, such as the new ticket software. With some discussion, and some assistance, Team AUT procured new Cisco Small Business product, including one of Ivor’s 300 Series PoE Managed Switches, and a pair of Nasser’s WAP551 wireless access points. All of the workstations are hard-lined into the 300 Series Switch, and the WAP551′s are set-up and deployed with a guest network and secure internal network and they are now providing blazing performance in the office and garage workspaces. The entire deployment was said to be under 30 minutes. Much of the time savings was due to the WAP551′s Single Point Setup. The team has some cleanup work, cable management, mounting the wireless access points, but most of the heavy lifting work is complete. The AUT Team is happy with the new network and greeting new customers every day.

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Auto Union Tuning’s Owners: Raz and Dave

Auto Union Tuning is but one example of how a small business can literally take off from day one and transform and evolve into a growing, thriving business. With honest, good old fashioned hard work comes success and growth. With this growth comes the necessity for it’s networking infrastructure to be flexible and scalable.

We think you will find that the Cisco Small Business portfolio fits this model rather well.

For more information on our portfolio of networking products -- click on these links: switching, wireless, routing.

Thanks for the read.

Marc

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Introducing FindIT, Cisco Small Business Automated Software Delivery Service

March 11, 2014 at 8:43 am PST

Hello again, Marc Nagao and the Cisco Small Business Team.

Over the weekend, my family and I were in Indian Wells to watch the world’s best tennis players play at the BNP Paribas Open. I have to say, watching them play live, at competition speed, is something to behold. It’s difficult to comprehend the speed, power and consistency out of these players.

Speaking of Speed and Power, recently, my brethren Product Manager, David Harper, finished up development of a new release of the Cisco FindIT Network Discovery Utility that uses the Cisco Automated Software Delivery Service to provide easy speedy access to Small Business firmware. This new service tool is simple to use, intuitive and a snap to get started. It will let you know when there’s a new firmware update and in seconds that firmware can be loaded up on your Cisco Small Business device. I even conned Dave into doing a demo for you all! But the best part, it is FREE.

Take it away Dave:

Hello Everyone, Today I want to talk about Cisco FindIT. FindIT is a web browser plugin that you can use to discover all Cisco Small Business branded devices on your network, and then you can easily view device information, click to open the administration GUI, or click to access support resources. We have just released version 1.1 of FindIT, and this version automatically notifies you about firmware updates for the devices on the network and then lets you click to download them to your PC. I’ve attached a short, five minute video below that show how FindIT works and how you can use it when you are installing a new network.

For more information or to download FindIT, go to www.cisco.com/go/findit.

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Webinar Thursday: Sneak Peek on #ConnectedMobile

This Thursday at 10a.m. PST, we have a fabulous webinar where we’ll discuss a new wi-fi solution that can help businesses more effectively engage and better understand their customers.  What’s cool is that this new wi-fi solution will help businesses offer personalized and enhanced mobile experiences for their end users – even based on where they are or how long they’ve been at a particular spot.  A great part of this webcast will be the discussion on how businesses who’ve deployed it are using this new tech.  Click on the image to the right to register. 

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