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Sleep well, CxO

October 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm PST

What keeps a manufacturing CxO up at night? Many things, for sure, but what in particular would allow these weary executives to get their well-earned rest?

Cisco’s Chet Namboodri, Director of Manufacturing Industry Solutions and Marketing, has asked many customers and industry executives this insomnia question.  Here are their top 5: Read More »

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Cisco Live 2011 Industrial Intelligence Day Customer feedback – “A Great Success”

July 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm PST

Cisco Live’s first ever “Industrial Intelligence Day” focusing on manufacturing and industrial customer needs was judged a great success according to the feedback  given at the sessions in Las Vegas this week. In an action packed day attendees heard about trends in network convergence between business IT and Industrial plant networks, and how standard Ethernet IP protocols were becoming prevalent in industrial and control networks.

As Master of Ceremonies, I had the pleasure of introducing Alan Cohen, Vice President, Global Public Sector & Industry Solutions. Alan kicked off the day talking about the care-abouts of executives in Manufacturers and how Cisco is addressing them. He used real-life customer examples such as Coca-Cola, General Motors, GE, Continental Tire and Anglo Platinum. Alan expressed how Cisco was helping these customers address the challenges of  Growth, Market Transitions, Innovation, Risk and Goverance.  This set up a good interactive environment for Bryce Barnes and John Parello to introduce Energy and Sustainability for the manufacturing sector. Bryce pointed out that 35% of all energy usage in the world is consumed by manufacturing industry and we added that that figure goes over 50% if you include the transportation and distribution of those manufactured goods and materials.

After watching John Chamber’s Insightful Keynote, delegates returned to hear Paul Didier and Chris Haley (both Cisco) and Gregory Wilcox (Rockwell Automation) talk about the status and trends for wired LANs including resilience and security with a fascinating presentation on Motion from Gregory. That was followed by wireless strategies from David Wolf and Scott Friberg from Cisco talking about wireless innovations and real-world testing where wireless is now deemed appropriate for time critical applications. Then delegates went to the main tent for a thought-provoking session. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Invite Reminder – Mobile Video Webinar Recording

June 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm PST

STOP PRESS:  Here’s the recording of this Webinar for those folks who couldn’t attend! Very worthwhile for Cisco Partners! Click the link: 

Cisco Manufacturing Mobile Video Collaboration Solution

The Just a quick reminder for Cisco Partners to attend the Cisco and Librestream Partner Webinar tomorrow (9th June 2011) at 8.00am Pacific. Find out about the exciting new solution that’s being adopted worldwide by customers like Boeing, GE and FIAT.

Remember how I told you I was really excited by this new Cisco and Librestream MMVC solution. Lots of information out on the web, and lots of questions so I thought I’d put a brief video together to give you an introduction and to see if we can get a discussion going and also to see if we can answer some of the questions for you. It addresses what really matters to many customers. What are the pain-points that manufacturers and industry have today? How do they get hold of the right people to fix things if something goes wrong, and how can they say ‘I see what you mean now’ — and really mean it? My original blog gave lots of information.

If you are a Cisco Partner and interested in building a manufacturing industry practice, this webinar is for you!

Register here: Cisco Manufacturing Mobile Video Collaboration Solution. Remember, it’s just one hour starting at 8.00 am Pacific, 12.00pm Eastern -- lots of opportunity to ask questions!  Read More »

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The Winds of Change: How Cisco is Helping First Wind to Connect and Secure Its Assets

First Wind, an independent energy company focused on utility-scale wind projects in the U.S., is using communications technology to more efficiently manage their operations and produce wind power.  First Wind has deployed a unified Cisco network throughout various parts of its operations to support data, video and voice communications for lowered costs and greater reliability. And today at AWEA Windpower 2011, Cisco and GE announced a collaboration that will provide wireless connectivity to the First Wind’s site in Milford, Utah.

Why is this important? Wind power is a small, but rapidly growing, source of energy. Wind accounted for just 1.3 percent of total U.S. electricity generation in 2008, but over the past decade, wind turbine use has increased more than 25 percent per year and experts forecast it will be able to generate one-third of the world’s electricity by 2050.   How is that possible?

While the concept of generating power from wind is fairly easy to understand, the actual operation of a wind farm is more complex. One of the major challenges is wind turbines tend be built in areas like shorelines, on top of hills and in open plains. These areas are remote, and the turbines themselves are often spread over a wide range, making them difficult to access. For example, First Wind’s Milford site is a four-hour drive from the nearest airport and the wind turbines are spread over 42 square miles.

This is where a unified IP-based wireless network can create efficiencies. The GE/First Wind deployment at Milford provides up-tower and down-tower wireless to all 39 GE turbines.  The network also supports voice, video and data communications. This enables technicians to collaborate with GE and share data on the operations, leading to less downtime and increased production.  Information from the turbines, including high-def images, can also be shared with utility companies as well.

Another major challenge wind farms face is security. Energy producers in the U.S. commonly face security threats like vandalism and theft.  Cisco’s Physical Security solution running over First Wind’s IP-based network helps control physical access to sites and allows central management of security from any of its six locations nationwide. Via the network, First Wind can also monitor assets with real-time video surveillance, and because the physical security systems are IP-based, the video can be integrated with physical access controls for comprehensive security and control.

For First Wind, and for wind power globally, this is just the beginning. Technological innovations will continue to push the envelope for what energy producers can achieve, including cutting costs, security, customer interaction, meeting regulatory demands, and environmental sustainability. It’s an exciting business and social opportunity, and we’re only just seeing the tip of the wind turbine!

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Collaboration: with MACS from Cisco it’s as if you’re really there!

February 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm PST

We hear a lot about Collaboration and Innovation these days.  People try to define what each word means, and how they relate to each other. Probably the best source I’ve found so far is in a great blog by Carlos Domingez that addresses just that. Carlos is one of Cisco’s senior thought leaders, so check out his blog here: Collaboration: What Does it really mean? It’s a fascinating read, especially the references to  Evan Rosen and Mark Granovetter. It’s also a great segway to the Manufacturing Active Collaboration Space Solution that I talk about in the video below:

Peter Granger talks about Cisco’s Manufacturing Active Collaboration Solution and how it can help with innovation and product development. GE calls their version Virtual Collaboration Space.

As you can hear in my video, the truth of the matter is that Collaboration and Innovation go hand-in-hand simply because when people get together they feed off one another, adding to each others ideas and seeing opportunities from different angles. They solve each others issues and talk through problems using words,  images and video. When you click ‘read more’ you’ll hear more about GE’s use of MACS in a short video featuring senior GE and Cisco figures. I’ll also solve the riddle I set for you in an earlier blog about how to make a new square out of four matches! Read More »

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