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Summary: The Internet of Things: Why Now?

An excellent overview of some of the key topics that are top-of-mind for industry executives in both power utilities and oil and gas. Written by Maciej Kranz, Vice President, Corporate Technology Group, the blog covers many of the ‘essentials’ that are going to make the difference between success or failure for many companies in the future:

  • Business Relevance – how important is Line-of-Business (LoB)? What is Cisco doing to address the new buying centers?
  • IT/OT Convergence – IT techniques are increasingly used for OT (Operational Technologies). OT has critical needs that IT must take notice of. Is a coming together happening?
  • Open Standards – Cisco leads the charge here, but proprietary and legacy protocols still endure. How is the industry adapting?
  • Cross-industry Use Cases – All industries are different, or are they? Maciej talks about commonalities and the inefficiencies of learning from different industries.

Maciej Blog re IoT Oct2015 compressedMaciej talks about the number of connected “things” in the world that has skyrocketed from about a million in the early 1990s to 13 billion today.  He adds that…

“As the Internet of Everything (IoE) gains momentum—digitizing business processes in every industry—we expect to see 50 billion connected devices by 2020. The technology connecting all these devices has become affordable and easy to integrate. But that is not the primary reason for this explosion in connected devices. I believe we are entering a “golden age” of digitization because of the confluence of the following factors”.

I know John Chambers and others are talking about there being 500bn devices connected by 2030, so the challenges and opportunities will grow exponentially.

It is those four elements mentioned above, combined with the “network effect,” which multiplies the value of connections as their number grows,which are are driving the rush to connect everything, Maciej concludes. At Cisco, we have thousands of customers who have already adopted IoT solutions—and every day there are more who see the evidence in their own businesses and industries that the time is now for IoT, he adds.

Read his blog hear to find out his views on the four critical elements here: The Internet of Things: Why Now?

…and let me know what you think!

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Energy Management Pays Off for Hammond School District

“Cisco Energy Management has given us a great deal of visibility into our energy consumption and usage patterns and has shown us that energy management can be done easily and seamlessly to deliver a significant return on investment in both reducing our carbon footprint and cutting costs.”

Mark Hennessee
Hammond School District Energy Manager

Technology fascinates me for a host of reasons. It improves lives and makes businesses more productive and efficient. It literally touches every facet of our lives, as does energy. In fact, the convergence of technology and energy is proving to be a pathway to smart and sustainable environments. The key is getting past the challenges.

Read More »

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Foggy weather is coming to a place near you with analytics at the edge

I caught up with Stewart Young, Global Alliance Manager at OSIsoft LLC, a Cisco partner, to find out more about ‘Edge Computing’, or, as some call it, ‘Fog Computing’. With the huge amount of data coming off Industrial sensors and outlying infrastructure, customers are trying to find more ways to rationalize the data while extracting information that they can turn into business intelligence.

 As we find out in the “A New Reality for Oil & Gas” Thought Leadership I contributed to:

“The oil and gas industry provides a prime example of the need for “edge computing.” A typical offshore oil platform generates between 1TB and 2TB of data per day.1 Most of this data is time-sensitive, pertaining to platform production and drilling-platform safety. The most common communication link for offshore oil platforms is transmitting data via a satellite connection, with data speeds ranging from 64Kbps to 2Mbps. This means it would take more than 12 days to move one day’s worth of oil-platform data to a central repository.”

There’s a better, more efficient, more ‘digitized’ way. Analyze the data in real time at the edge of the network. Take notice of anomalies and out-of-line situations. Just send on to the central repository what’s needed for decision making and for the historian. cisco equipment and solutions are getting even more intelligent, so that they can help do this. That’s thanks, in part, to IOx.

What Stewart is showing is how that works in real life. The OSIsoft PI connector runs on IOx on the edge routing equipment. That way ‘lightweight’ (aka just looking for the key anomalies) analytics can be done. And it can be done right next to where it’s happening – in harsh environments, next to oil rigs, refineries, and sensor networks. Products like the Cisco GSR and the 8X9 products have these capabilities, and you’ll see more IOx enabled products and solutions over time, and Cisco working with other partners too.

When I asked Stewart to elucidate on the business benefits (no point in reading this if there aren’t any, right?!), he explained that he’s finding customers are able to expand the sources of data that they’re collecting further out in the field or to the plant/rig/refinery, giving more visibility about what’s happening in real time across the organizational infrastructure. They’re also then able to do some of the analysis sooner and not have to pass it back to a central processing environment. So:

  • Better visibility in real time into operations
  • Broader reach for analytics into remote areas
  • Faster local analysis and response

Oil TL Paper1


Coming back to the Thought Leadership report “A New Reality for Oil & Gas“, and what IDC and Gartner are saying:

IDC forecasts that, with a business case built on predictive analytics and optimization in drilling, production, and asset integrity, 50 percent of oil and gas companies will have advanced analytics capabilities in place by 2016. As a result, IDC believes that O&G CEOs, for example, will expect immediate and accurate information about top shale opportunities to be available by the end of 2015, improving asset value by 30 percent2.

According to Gartner, O&G firms’ ability to leverage analytics to reduce operating costs and increase production rates “may be an essential survival skill for upstream companies.”Gartner mentioned several new analytics methods that are already benefiting the performance of subsurface activities:

  • Digital completion technologies are boosting ultimate recovery rates for unconventional reservoirs from 3-5 percent to 12 – 16 percent, vastly improving those assets’ competitiveness.
  • Advanced sensor technologies such as down-hole fiber generate high-resolution reservoir data for conventional assets, enabling more accurate modeling, simulation, and decision-making.
  • Expanded integration of real-time data from field sensors (old and new) with the reservoir model  is enabling more robust 4D modeling and, in turn, more dynamic reservoir management.

Read More »

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Cisco Awarded Top International Honor for Energy Management

On September 30, 2015, Cisco received the International Corporate Energy Management Award from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) for our global energy management program and our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally.  We are very honored to receive this award and very proud of the work that we have done in setting aggressive targets and pursing high value projects to achieve the targets.

Cisco has set and achieved a series of environmental sustainability goals.  In 2009, Cisco met a goal we had set in 2006 to reduce business-air-travel emissions worldwide by 10 percent against a 2006 baseline. In 2012, we met a commitment to reduce all Scope 1, 2, and business-air-travel Scope 3 GHG emissions worldwide by 25 percent against a 2007 baseline. In February 2013, we announced a set of five new goals related to our operational energy use and GHG emissions. To achieve these goals, we approved $57.5 million in funding for 2014 through 2017 for the creation of a program called EnergyOps. The EnergyOps team is comprised of energy and sustainability professionals who identify and implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects throughout our global real estate portfolio working with local facilities teams, engineers and project managers.  Many of the EnergyOps team members are Certified Energy Managers through AEE.


Solar PV array on top of Cisco's data center in Allen, TX

Solar PV array on top of Cisco’s data center in Allen, TX


Since we launched the EnergyOps program, we have completed or initiated 344 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. This has reduced Cisco’s energy annual use by 105 GWh and GHG emissions cumulatively by over 1 million metric tonne of CO2e. Examples of some of these projects include solar installations in the United States and India, numerous indoor and outdoor lighting improvements, and various types of upgrades to HVAC systems at many of our campuses, like our Shanghai location.

The multi-year EnergyOps program is not only helping us achieve our energy saving goals, but also manage operational expense,  reduce exposure to fluctuating energy prices, and reinforce our commitment to being environmentally responsible. We estimate that the projects we have completed or initiated to date will save approximately US$15M annually.

The AEE Awards are presented annually at the World Energy Engineering Congress to energy companies and professionals who have achieved international, national, regional, or local prominence in their fields.

Please read more about Cisco’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions at


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Tesla Powerwall May Be a Game Changer for PV Energy Production, but Distribution Networking is Vital

During Elon Musk’s presentation of Tesla Powerwall, a battery system that lets you store energy to power your home, he shared a slide showing a small area of the Texas panhandle – with a small blue square representing the land area necessary to produce enough solar power to meet the entire electric power needs of the United States.

“...very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.”  Elon Musk

“…very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.” Elon Musk

As you might expect, this generated quite a bit of controversy about whether or not his assertion is even within the realm of possibility.

Does Musk’s claim pass the smell test? Read More »

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