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IoE/IoT Globetrotting Part 2: Off to CiscoLive!

Having recently returned from weeks of event keynotes, customer roundtables, briefings and engagements (plus a few culinary adventures) in Greater China, I’ll start there with a few insights and observations. Despite one of the sharpest slow-downs in the Chinese manufacturing sector in recent history that have continued to shrink for the third consecutive month, I sensed an optimism and determination to persevere that haven’t waned, nor has China’s march to global leadership of manufacturing GDP. A recent report from Rhodium Group indicates the number of American workers employed directly by Chinese companies increased >five-fold over the last five years to >80,000 in 2014.

Automation and quality are key tenets driving China’s current growth strategies in manufacturing and the industrial sector. For Cisco this is creating continued demand for our Connected Factory portfolio of architecturally integrated solutions Chet Blog 6.4as a leap-frog approach to the legacy automation predominating U.S. and European factories. I certainly found to be the case at two conferences I keynoted—the 5th Annual Manufacturing Supply Chain Summit in Shanghai and the Industry 4.0 / Manufacturing Cloud Forum in Shenzhen—that many massive manufacturers are urgently implementing Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud / Data Analytics projects as part of their competitive business strategies and differentiation. This key take-away and perspective that China is leading other top manufacturing nations on adoption of industrial IoT is validated by a recent analysis compiled by Infosys Ltd.

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Event Recap: Cisco at American Manufacturing and North American Manufacturing Excellence Summits

We recently attended the American Manufacturing Summit (AMS) and North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit (NAMES) held in Chicago, IL where Cisco was a main sponsor at both events. AMS provided a great opportunity for industry executives to have in-depth discussions on IoT and its impact on manufacturing while NAMES brought together manufacturing executives looking to implement a better, more efficient way of manufacturing.

Major themes from the American Manufacturing Summit:

Manufacturers stand to reap the greatest benefit from the IoT transition. This is based on the opportunities for manufacturing through the entire value chain – from R&D, to Connected Products, to Connected Plants, to Omni-Channel Sales and Services. Lots of attendees stressed that they want to do a better job of optimizing technology. At the summit, we looked at case studies across the value chain and different industries and discussed best practices, lessons learned and risks.

Specifically, the summit highlighted four primary use cases:

  • Connected Products – How are manufactures connecting their products and what is the value proposition?
  • Smart Factories – IoT is enabling manufacturers to lighten their manufacturing floor increasing OEE
  • End-to-End Supply Chain Synchronization – How manufacturers are digitizing information to increase visibility
  • Omnichannel – Using connected products across a variety of platforms to improve sales and customer service in the field.

During the AMS summit, Randal Kenworthy, Practice Director – Manufacturing, Americas Business Transformation, along with the support of colleagues, Dan Boutell, Senior Advisor – Manufacturing and Nandu Nandakumar, Practice Advisor – Manufacturing, Americas Business Transformation, had the opportunity to discuss the IoT impact in manufacturing – especially around acquiring data from sensors and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for use cases like increased connectivity and predictive maintenance. We also showcased Cisco’s Circuit Emulation over IP Network Modules (CEM) and Unified Wireless Location-Based Services solutions.

Attendees responded positively to the discussion. Interestingly, a lot of responses we received were that they are utilizing some aspects of IoT connected technologies now, but most of the data they are currently gathering is lost and not used. They don’t know what they don’t know, so data analytics will be a first step in the right direction.

Major themes discussed at the North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit:

As the manufacturing landscape continues to evolve, companies and industry leaders are constantly facing pressures to keep up with growing competition. Agility has become crucial as manufacturers manage complex issues like controlling escalating costs and managing a dynamic workforce; all while dealing with pressures to implement a better, more efficient way of manufacturing. Below are a few of the major topics addressed during the summit:

  • Continuous Improvement, Lean / Six-Sigma.
  • Employee involvement and Leadership.
  • Use of technology to drive organizational change.

Once again, our subject matter experts took part in a discussion centered on building smarter manufacturing with IoT. We asked the question, where is manufacturing headed and explained how IoT will fundamentally change how products are invented, manufactured, shipped and sold. With IoT, IP networks and analytics, manufacturers can become more efficient, improve worker safety and offer new business models. Manufacturers that master this new dynamic will have a variety of new opportunities for revenue growth and cost savings.

Attendees/customers shared some key concerns and questions around IoT integration in manufacturing, inquiring about how Cisco can help:

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We’re Ready to Obsolete Product Recalls: Are You?

“Product Recall.” Just these two words are enough to strike fear in the heart of a manufacturer.  As John Kern points out in his blog, The Internet of Everything Will Help Solve Problems That Lead To Recalls, “Product recalls can be a headache for customers and consumers, but a financial nightmare for manufacturers.” Not only are longer-term corporate reputations and brand promises deflated, but even more insidious, shorter-term litigation and financial liabilities become a daily reality for industrial companies facing recalls.

Issues like the recent Takata air-bags, Blue Bell ice cream and other high profile cases garner news headlines almost every day. Manufacturers continue to wrestle with how to establish robust product design methodologies, component through finished-product traceability and genealogy (including context), vendor accountability and supply chain rigor–as well as production controls and visibility–all in order to avoid future issues with recalls and ensure quality output. And every sub-segment of manufacturing has its own set of related regulations adding a layer of regional complexity to the problem–whether it’s pharma, automotive, consumer packaged goods, high tech, metals, machine builders or otherwise.

The infographic below provides some food for thought with examples of the impact of recalls and how the Internet of Everything (IoE) enables the Connected Factory and a digital manufacturing world where product recalls and quality issues are less the norm and more of an anomaly.


Recalls Recalled from Cisco Business Insights

IoE and Connected Manufacturing with predictive analytics and connected supply chains all converge to enable a platform to truly put an end to the tyranny of recalls. With a converged factory/OT and IT/enterprise network, manufacturers tap into the intelligence and accumulated analytics, to further drive innovations and improvements not just in production processes but also development and engineering, so that products are designed AND produced more robustly.

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Connected Manufacturing at CiscoLive Milan

I just got back from a fantastic week at Cisco Live in Milan.  We had a packed ‘Cisco Connected Manufacturing’ pavilion at the event, showcasing the latest in demonstrations and industrial solutions for both customers and partners.

CL Milan 2015The centerpiece of the demos was how manufacturers can leverage technology such as Cisco Connected Factory to address some of the business challenges they are facing including increased competitive pressures and changing global demand.  In fact, European manufacturers are turning to technology to give them a clear competitive advantage as they streamline their supply chain and factory operations as well as accelerate their new product introduction cycles.  We showcased various components of the Connected Factory, including rapid response and troubleshooting, Profinet integration, IoT Factory in a box and plant network analytics.

We received great feedback and energetic interest from booth visitors.  The Manufacturing demos were the highest rated at the show and were recognized multiple times in the various keynotes.   I asked my colleague Todd Edmunds, Enterprise Architect, to comment:

There was a lot of excitement around our working demonstration showing Siemens controls communicating via Profinet – including real-time Cisco IE2000 switch status inside the Siemens programming environment.  All across the same network with Rockwell Automation control systems, and anything else Ethernet.  Our key message that ‘we can support whatever you need on the network’ really resonated with booth visitors.”

Our various IoT solutions and products can really impact operational efficiencies and help manufacturers achieve significant outcomes such as reduction in unplanned downtime, for example.  It was great to see customers understand these benefits and I think that is due to the efforts of the tireless team that brought these demo scenarios to life.

We will be bringing many of these demos and products to the Cisco booth at the upcoming Hannover Messe (April 13 to 17th in Germany).  The theme of that show ‘Towards a Fully Networked Industrial Future’ dovetails nicely with our strengths and solutions.

Let me know if you were at CiscoLive Milan and drop me a comment.  Thanks for reading!

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Join Cisco at SPS IPC Drive 2014

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Automation experts are planning to attend SPS IPC Drive, the largest electrical automation event in Europe, which takes place in Nuremberg, Germany, November 25 to 27.

Following the very positive experience of last year, Cisco has a significant presence at this event, focusing on the theme “Internet of Things: Connecting the Unconnected.” Join us in with our booth (Hall 10 – Stand 10-540) and in ODVA (hall 2 – Stand 2-458) and Profinet (Hall 2 – Stand 2-220/221) booths.

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