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Attending Cisco Live 2014? Nine Internet of Things (IoT) solution demos you must see!

If you are like many attendees visiting Cisco Live US 2014 this year, you’ve probably experienced at least one or more power failures that significantly impacted the quality of your life and work lasting for days or weeks.  We frequently read about the impacts of power failures, but unless you work in the utility industry you probably have never heard in detail about why and how problems occur and what can be done to prevent them.

Utility Substation

Thermal Pattern of Utility Substation indicating a problem, Photo courtesy of Brady Inspections, Inc.

According to industry subject matter expert, James Brady, Level III Certified Infrared Thermographer, Brady Infrared Inspections, Inc., the applications of infrared/thermography can help to easily identify and solve many problems in 1) power plants, 2) substations, and 3) transmission and distribution equipment that can prevent outages, improve safety, security and reliability of services while also helping to prevent injuries to utility workers and citizens.

While most utility companies have active maintenance programs to conduct inspections of transformers, switches, oil-filled tank equipment including breakers, voltage regulators, lightning arrestors, feeder lines, get-a-way poles and other equipment, they frequently do this only periodically, not continuously across all their operations since they do not have the resources, expertise or tools.  Today this is changing even more rapidly as new technologies such as infrared are allowing for greater situational awareness. As James Brady points out in his article Infrared Inspection of Electric Utility Equipment: Documenting Common and Not-So-Common Thermal Exceptions, “the bottom line is infrared is a powerful tool that can identify problems quickly, accurately, and safely in the electrical utility industry.”

A Warm Utility Pole Lighting Resistor

A Warm Utility Pole Lighting Resistor, Photo courtesy of Brady Inspections, Inc.

Using infrared is a great example of a technology that can be enabled in sensors such as thermal cameras, to help utilities more effectively identify, detect and prevent problems.  Imagine if utilities could more easily harness the power of infrared technology across their operations. This is the opportunity of what is possible with the Internet of Things (IoT) and why so many IT and operational technology industries are excited about the benefits that are available.

So, today, what do you think most detracts utilities, or any business with similar operational needs, from deploying new technologies such as infrared more pervasively to optimize the utilization of their assets?

A) Lack of expertise?
B) The cost of deploying the technology economically everywhere it is needed?
C) The shortage of and abilities of people to make decisions quickly enough?
D) All of the above?

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I am meeting old colleagues again. Are you?

IoTG OandGRecently I have join the Internet of Things (IOT) Solutions Marketing team, supporting the oil, gas and mining industries and suddenly in my new role I am meeting with old pals from oil, gas and mining industries again, finding them in different events, conversations, and blogs that just some months ago I would never had thought I would.

IOT is bringing together different industries and companies that had been in parallel tracks for long time. And blurring the lines between different divisions within big companies as well.

In the past, operations, sales, marketing and technology used to interact with different people, and tackling very different problems:  they were different divisions with no common objectives or language.  It used to happen as well between the consulting services and software division and the networking and infrastructure functions within big IT organizations.

Cisco, usually was rarely present in oil and gas industry events such as OTC, Oilcomm, and ENTELEC (see Cisco’s activities at ENTELEC here).  IT big shows were distant from industry events.  In events such as Cisco Live it would be impossible to find oil & gas applications, less chance even to find big industry players in the exhibition floor.  Well, all that is changing. This year in Cisco Live  (read Roberto De La Mora’s blog on Cisco Live here), companies like Rockwell , Schneider and EATON are having booths and speaking sessions and Cisco will be showcasing solutions for Oil & Gas. Read More »

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Providing the Right Platform is Sometimes All it Takes

Change is the only constant. Except that it isn’t; constant that is. We are seeing changes to IT services, infrastructure, eco-systems, and business models, with consequent demands and expectations that we have not witnessed before. Cisco is responding to all of this with new technologies for the DevOps community, including APIs, development tools, training and more, all of which I discuss below.

The Economist likens this to the Cambrian era that saw the multiplication of life forms that populate our world today: “… this time is … different, in an important way. Today’s entrepreneurial boom is based on more solid foundations than the 1990s internet bubble, which makes it more likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”

What has made this possible, which the Economist illustrates with a variety of examples, is the ubiquity of communications and open source platforms in a “cloud” environment. The Economist lists these elements:

  • …snippets of code that can be copied free from the internet, along with easy-to-learn programming frameworks (such as Ruby on Rails).
  • … services for … sharing code (GitHub) …
  • … “application programming interfaces” (APIs), digital plugs that are multiplying rapidly …
  • … “platforms”—services that can host startups’ offerings (Amazon’s cloud computing), distribute them (Apple’s App Store) and market them (Facebook, Twitter).
  • … the internet, the mother of all platforms, which is now fast, universal and wireless.

What has also changed is that the IT stack is, in effect, collapsing. The “separation of concerns”, that kept the network infrastructure distinct from the applications running over it, is being whittled away. In October 2013 we teamed up Read More »

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What Does IoT Mean to You?

What does IoT Mean to YouA few weeks ago I started to prepare my session for the great meeting of the minds at Cisco Live in San Francisco. I have to confess that at the beginning it felt a bit weird creating a presentation about Internet of Things (IoT), a market that is targeting Operational Technology (OT) decision-makers, for an event that for many years now has been a “mecca” for Information Technology (IT) professionals felt incongruous.

But the more I thought about it, the more excited I got about the opportunity. As the IoT market gets better defined and developed, and grows in size and relevance, it presents an unprecedented opportunity for IT professionals to engage in the conversation and bring in their experience, skills and perspective. The IoT solutions required by OT professionals are ripe for innovation, the type of innovation that IT professionals are great at.

Resilient, scalable and secure converged networks, simplified and automated management, new computing models (Fog) that deliver distributed intelligence, and system-wide application enablement are building blocks for more advanced and smarter solutions for IoT. In a previous blog I talked about some of the characteristics of these new environments, and how the extension of the traditional IT environments outside the “carpeted office” can deliver incredible gains in visibility, automation and control. Think about these examples in terms of business value enabled by Cisco’s IoT portfolio: Read More »

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Attending Cisco Live US 2014? Five good reasons to check out BRKEVT-2311!

IP Video Surveillance is one of the most important applications for companies today since real time video surveillance and analytics can be used not only to protect the business, people and assets, but it can also be used as the eyes, ears and memory of the business to improve decision making and operations, significantly increasing the value of people, processes, data and things.

Internet of Everything

Internet of Everything

So, if that doesn’t sway you, here are five good reasons to check out Network Design and Implementation for IP Video Surveillance (BRKEVT-2311)

  1. Your Business: IP Video Surveillance and related analytics applications are becoming the eyes and the ears of business.  Beyond safety and security, there are many business use cases and applications that can save your company valuable time, money, and resources.
  2. Your Network:  Similar to two way video, and streaming video, video surveillance is one of the most demanding applications on a network and you will be introduced to ways to meet this demand.
  3. Your Skills: Increased technical understanding IP Video Surveillance design and implementation is a great way enhance and add to your existing skills.
  4. Your Future: The Internet of Things has made many new solutions possible with fog computing, open application eco-system partners, and analytics with IP Video Surveillance that is a central component.
  5. Your Cisco Team – Cisco technical experts, Lionel Hunt and Jason Lee are delivering this together and have received rave reviews in past sessions.  If this isn’t one of your favorite sessions of Cisco Live, I’ll eat my hat.*

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