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Demystifying the Catalyst: Cisco Context Aware Secure Access (Security Group Tags – SGT) Technology

In this blog, let us take a look at how Catalyst access switches enable and enforce context aware access to IT resources.

Many types of devices, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets, are used by end users to connect to the network wired, wirelessly, and remotely through VPN. With bring your own device (BYOD) access, the devices can be personal or corporate owned. Every enterprise has policies that dictate who can access what applications and databases, when and how. Traditionally, IT manages the policy either by introducing appliances at points in the campus where users connect or by manually configuring all the access switches. Appliances incur additional capital and operational expenses, whereas manual configuration of the switches requires maintenance of every switch. Moreover, the network can carry traffic using Ethernet, IPv4, IPv6, or other technologies, so the configuration must keep up with changes in technology, which leads to higher operational complexity and costs.

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You Can’t Wait for Connected Mobile Experiences

Ten billion. That’s the estimated number of connected devices by 2016. That’s more than the whole world population today. According to data from the Cisco Visual Networking Index, mobile connection speeds and data use are anticipated to rise with this influx of smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. Mobile device users are increasingly always on, always connected, using their smartphones at work and at play—Can anyone say BYOD?

Mobility doesn’t just take the office beyond our cubicles—it weaves itself into our everyday lives—mobility keeps us connected. Cisco is working with enterprises, service providers, mobile software partners and mobile app developers to deliver Connected Mobile Experiences to end-users. Sujai Hajela discusses the concept of The Connected Mobile Experience and our partnerships on The Platform.

What’s in it for the enterprise?

As consumers tote their mobile devices into malls, airports, hotels, and other venues around the world, businesses see new opportunities to improve and personalize the consumer experience, generate new revenue streams and enhance business operations.

Businesses are looking for location-based services that can provide new ways to interact with the current 6 billion mobile device users worldwide. This means there is an opportunity to develop a solution that connects businesses to those connected mobile consumers.

That’s why we’re announcing Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences, a wireless solution to help you engage your customers while they’re in your venue with context-aware, personalized mobile services.

Sound too good to be true? It’s real.

Armed with Qualcomm for indoor-location capabilities, 3rd party vendors for mobile app technology, and  Cisco for context-aware location solution with real-time analytics, Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences gives indoor venues the means to target their consumers in real-time and helps businesses more effectively understand and reach their customers, provide the right content at the right time, and generate revenue.

Read more in Sujai’s blog post..

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Tracking Assets: RFID Meets Industrial Wi-Fi – Industrial Ethernet Book Part 1

I had the pleasure of meeting up with both Leo Ploner, Publishing Director, Industrial Ethernet Book (IEB) and Tom McNulty from the Chicago, US office recently here in Silicon Valley recently. I was pleased to see that Cisco had contributed to an article in the 65 / 35 Issue of the Industrial Ethernet Book around the topic of RFID and industrial WiFi – a topic close to my own heart in terms of previous blogs of mine (Intro to RFID, Continental Tire, Boeing, and John Deere).

The first Industrial Ethernet Book was published in 1999.  Since then it become an excellent  information source for industrial networking and communication technology, and aims to provide unbiased editorial views focused on both process and discrete manufacturing industries. The editorial content is aimed at end users, system integrators and vendors within factory automation and process automation.

The article starts with the recognition that “Increasingly ‘smart’ devices, which include radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and sensors that have advanced diagnostics, are contributing to the billions of devices now connected to IP networks. This proliferation of smart devices is referred to by some as the ‘Internet of Things’, and it is projected to grow to trillions of devices that will be connected using the emerging IPv6 protocol (ref1). For manufacturers, a growing number of connected smart devices promises to revolutionise portability, mobility, context-aware condition and use of critical assets.” Read More »

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John Deere avoids cost with Cisco Wireless Architecture

Maybe you’ve seen the recent article in RFID Journal: John Deere Planter Factory Gains Efficiency.

John Deere, working with integration and technology partners Prime Technologies (now Kubica) and AeroScout, used the existing Cisco Wi-Fi networking nodes that it had already installed throughout the facility to avoid the expense of installing RFID readers for a new manufacturing solution.

John Deere MaxEmergeXP

Here’s the story: John Deere’s  Seeding Group factory in Moline, Ill. was seeking an automated solution to improve on its manual work in process manufacturing system.  It wanted to increase efficiency in the way it replenished welding material as well as improve the way it carried out processes at its assembly stations at the plant. The factory in question assembles John Deere’s  row-crop planter machines – the MaxEmerge XP range –  that are used by farmers to deposit a variety of seed in soils and seedbeds.

The new system uses a wireless back-haul to a Cisco infrastructure that enables the SAP, reporting and programmable logic controller (PLC) systems to communicate live.  It’s intended to improve material replenishment and reduce delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.  It allows the equipment manufacturer’s kitting staff to boost material replenishment speed, and allows assembly workers to prepare for specific equipment as it approaches their assembly stations. The RFID Journal Story goes into excellent detail on the wip process and the process improvement, but I did want to reiterate some of the key business metrics:

“Our goal was to improve Takt time *,” says Shay O’Neal, John Deere Seeding Group’s project manager, who expects the reduction to increase from what he estimates may be about 5 percent improvement in Takt time thus far. He reckons there has been a 40 percent reduction in cycle time because of the improvement in replenishment. He has also seen a decrease in overtime work undertaken by kitting staff at the welding station. “I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the system met our needs,” O’Neal said in the RFID Journal article.

  • John Deere has seen a 40 percent increase in efficiency in welding due to improvements in material replenishment and fewer delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.
  • On the assembly line, the system provides a view into the work in process (WIP), which thus far has reduced the cycle time (Takt) it takes to assemble a single product by about 5 percent.
  • Since existing Cisco Wi-Fi nodes read the RFID tag of each seeder as it passes from one assembly station to another, indicating where it has been and what its next assembly location will be, John Deere avoided the expense of installing RFID readers.

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Boeing Delivers First 787 Dreamliner. Cisco Delivers Solutions to Boeing. Congratulations Both!

Congratulations to Boeing on shipping it’s first 787 Dreamliner to ANA (All Nippon Airways). The world has been waiting and US Manufacturing has delivered. But it’s not just US Manufacturing – suppliers as far away as Australia, Italy, Japan and Russia, to name but a few countries have been working with Boeing Engineers to bring the airplane to market – and using Cisco or Cisco Partner technologies to do so!

The video, courtesy Associated Press’ YouTube Channel, shows the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner Airplane being handed over by Jim Albaugh, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, to ANA’s President and CEO – with a large key!

Jim does talk about the delays – but it was such a vast undertaking – and in the ‘old days’ it would have taken a lot longer! There are plenty of Manufacturing improvements that have taken place over the decades that have helped speed things up. Here are three Cisco Solution areas where Cisco and its partners made a difference: Cisco WebEx, Cisco MMVC (Manufacturing Mobile Video Collaboration) Solution, and Cisco Context aware, many using Cisco Unified Industrial Architectures. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 for any manufacturer who wants to know the secrets. Here’s how, and with customer comments to boot

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