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Making peace between IT and Operations – Plant Engineering Article

September 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm PST

Bridging the gap between IT and Operations

Understanding the shared goals can bring peace – and value to manufacturers.

Check out last quarters’ ‘Plant Engineering” Magazine (May 2012) and you’ll find Cisco’s published article where we discuss how the world of IT and Operations are coming together -- and it’s no longer a clash of corporate titans, more a collaboration of corporate allies.

We talk about the convergence between IT and OT (Operational Technologies) as businesses are embracing open standards and enjoying increased value at lower costs, and the issues that can raise.

The article covers how important it is to remember that the fundamental purpose for the IT organization is to provide the availability and the protection of critical information. The manufacturing operations group on the other hand, needs to build a product to sell to customers for money. Sometimes, the two groups are at odds with each other over their respective priorities. It is possible, however, to reach a mutual understanding that can meet both groups’ priorities and goals.

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Automation Fair begins tomorrow!

November 15, 2011 at 9:35 am PST

Automation Fair begins tomorrow!

Well, this is it folks. The big day has finally arrived and Automation Fair begins tomorrow. Our intrepid team has descended on Chicago at McCormick Place West and is gearing up to show all that Cisco has to offer at booth #239!

We hope you’ve enjoyed all of the social media activity over the last two weeks.

We’ve seen our social media strategy for Automation Fair. We’ve seen Peter Granger describe both Cisco’s presence and booth.  We’ve seen Mark Wylie discuss machine builders. We’ve seen Paul Didier discuss convergence. And, of course, we’ve seen Kevin Davenport tell you why you must attend Automation Fair…or die.

To make things convenient for you to follow our social media activities, we’ve created a Storify instance which will aggregate all of our content creation into one spot. So follow this link to see all of our activity as it unfolds:

http://storify.com/ciscomfg/rockwell-automation-fair-2011-autofair

See you tomorrow at booth #239!

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Converging on Convergence, Part Two

We recently co-hosted a Voice of the Customer (VoC) event where we had several End User manufacturing customers as well as Machine Builders and Systems Integrators present. My new series on Machine Builders will start next week, but I wanted to capture a few thoughts and ask for opinions.

We’ve been working along on an assumption that many End User manufacturing customers are reducing their engineering staff and working under cost pressures as well as time pressure. We presumed that they are relegating or subcontracting a lot of the work that would typically be done in house back to machine builders or systems integrators. This clearly has impact on the business model of a machine builder, considering up front design, integration, installation, support and retrofitting. Read More »

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Continue driving the Internet of Things

So, in my last blog, I pointed out that Manufacturers, and particularly car makers, will be driving the Internet of Things (IoT) by incorporating standard networks into their machines.   I also indicated that evolving the standards is going to be critical to that adoption.

Applying standard networks (by that I mean Ethernet, IP, TCP/UDP, 802.11/WiFi, etc.) machines is going to be a distinctly different than the networking of computers, phones and the plethora of tablets and handheld devices that has driven the Internet and standard networks to date. Read More »

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Converging on Convergence

What does Convergence mean to you? I recently did a search on the term “convergence” and found that it can relate to many technical, societal, political, and economic terms. All of them are correct, it just depends on the context.

I am going to be focusing on “convergence” as it applies to a Machine Builder that builds a machine that gets integrated into a manufacturing operation. You understand that, right? The final product gets bought and we all get paid.

So lets back up, just a bit. Machine Builder applies to those that build specific purpose machines that fit into a manufacturing operation. There may be decorating machines, metal forming machines, painting machines, wrapping machines, transfer machines, all sorts of machines. All of them tie together in some manner and form a production operation.

Every one of those machines may operate internally (so, within that specific machine) via its own network. I mean pieces talk to other pieces, right? But every one of those machines needs to integrate into the production operations at some point. And if the machine needs a gateway to talk to the line, that is an extra piece to maintain and more cost. Read More »

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