From my home in North Carolina to San Diego, to Atlanta and all the way to Greater China—Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei—throughout April, I am presenting at several Manufacturing industry, Supply Chain executive, and Internet of Things (IoT) regional events, along with visiting all types of manufacturing customers. Earlier this month, I was at a customer advisory where we met with industrial thought leaders eager to share experiences (see Tony Shakib’s blog, “The Digital Factory: Real Solutions and Real Outcomes”). In the meantime, several of my colleagues exhibited Cisco industrial solutions this past week at Hannover Messe in Germany. Across the globe, manufacturers are wrestling with how to capture the opportunity and value associated with IoT and Internet of Everything (IoE) strategies. The good news is that the industry is thriving, alive and well and at the forefront of IoT adoption.
At the IoT Regional Forum in Atlanta last week, I had the opportunity to meet some manufacturing companies from the region and hear first-hand the challenges and address questions they had regarding automation and networking and the convergence of IT and OT, from technology to culture to organization. What I hear repeatedly are questions on how to tie together the various islands of automation and information that exist throughout most factories and across manufacturing enterprises. In addition, the lack of one integrated view results in delayed decision-making and responses to issues and problems that arise, and inhibit the introduction of new products and business models.
Often, we will assist our industrial customers with this IT/OT convergence by recommending a pilot or proof of concept approach to adopt wired-and-wireless networking architectures for use cases that demonstrate quick results and impact, and then more broadly adopt the technology across that and other plants within the enterprise. Interestingly, ARC analyst Greg Gorbach recently wrote up a blog proposing a “Let’s Just Try it” approach in profiling our customer Stanley Black and Decker.
At this year’s Hannover Messe International (HMI), the world’s largest industrial fair, it was more about how industrial companies are leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to evolve Industry 4.0 from theory to practice.
The Internet of Things was everywhere at this show. Almost every vendor on the show floor had an IoT message, in addition there were numerous keynotes and panel discussions centered around IoT. There was a lot of excitement around Industrie 4.0, which facilitates the vision for a smart, digital factory enabled by IoT.
Cisco’s presence at this event was to show how we are taking IoT beyond the theoretical. Cisco partners and customers demonstrated leadership in defining, implementing and showcasing connectivity for the production floor from cloud down through to the sensor. Visitors to the booth this year began to understand and realize that a tested and validated Cisco Connected Factory architecture is the best path to accelerated business value. One engineer from a large automatic company told me, “Ok. Now I get it. Your value is the architecture. You’re taking the complexity out of deploying a stitched together product solution.”
Oliver Tuszik, head of Cisco Germany, reiterates in this video how Cisco is a source for real solutions and practical, proven approaches to IoT including Cisco’s integration with Profinet:
I recently participated in a Cisco advisory board meeting attended by some of our leading manufacturing customers. There was a lot of discussion about the tough challenges the industry is facing. Flexibility, agility, and managing costs were hot topics. Traditional manufacturing environments with manual processes, independent systems, and siloed data create a lack of visibility into real-time operations and result in delayed responses to quality issues and inventory waste. Many manufacturing organizations are starting to take their first steps towards becoming digital. Let’s take a look at what that means and why making the transformation to a digital factory is the next wave of evolution. Read More »
Springtime in Germany brings us Hannover Messe, one of the largest industrial conferences and exhibitions in the world. This year, Cisco will feature our validated and proven Manufacturing and Power Transmission & Control solutions. Our portfolio of market-leading industrial products and solutions offered with our complete lifecycle management services that address the key challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.
Optimized workflows and operation with secure remote access to global experts and real-time plant floor data analytics
Some of the key new capabilities we are highlighting include:
Enhanced solution and product support for Profinet-based connected factories
Updated industrial security by introducing identity management and services into Industrial networks to increase access security
Cisco technologies and products will be showcased and integrated into a multi-vendor and highly flexible production plant. In the SmartFactory KL booth located Hall 8, D20 we will be displaying a modularized automation and control structure that can be flexibly combine machines and automation modules in the production process. The demonstration will showcase the advantages of interoperability including quick setup and modifications to multi-vendor plant assets, product changes in real-time, and a versatile platform for production automation.
See one example of how we do it in this overview of our Industrial Ethernet (IE) 4000 switch series:
Hannover Messe is once again upon us. The world’s premier industrial technical showcase will be held in Hannover, Germany from April 7-11, 2014. Last year’s faire had a clear focus on the “TheIntegrated Industry”, often referred to “Industry 4.0 and “Smart Factory”
This year the motto for the world’s biggest industry fair is “Integrated Industry – NEXT STEPS!” The next steps towards the intelligent, self-organizing factory are examined from every angle and field of study. From M2M to 3D visualization, from bulk forming to nanotechnology, everything is focused on taking the next step.
Cisco will feature our industry leading technology and product solutions that empower the “Integrated Industry – NEXT STEPS!” in the SmartFactory KL booth located in Hall 8, Stand D20. SmartFactory KL is a demonstration that showcases the integration of multi-vendor solutions and products into a highly flexible production plant. The demonstration will showcase how interoperability enables:
Quick setup and modifications of multi-vendor assets
Modular, extendable concepts to fit the needs of the SmartFactory
Product changes in real-time
Construction of a versatile R&D platform for production automation and related IT
Cisco provides a complete and unique breadth of infrastructure including wired and wireless routing and switching, physical video, compute, and communications solutions to uniquely support and enable current and future SmartFactory 4.0 requirements.
The SmartFactory demo shows how you can leverage Cisco’s Connected Factory architecture to converge IT and Operational Technology (OT) systems and create an integrated enterprise smart engine that:
Integrates Cisco’s video and unified communication platforms with real-time plant floor data
Scales and leverages global experts remotely for increased operational efficiency and innovation
Secures plant assets and improves operational workflows at each work cell
Analyzes and views KPI information on any device at anytime with location based services
So, come by and visit us at Hall 8, Stand D20. Our Cisco Subject Matter Experts will be available to discuss topics that are specific to your business and technology imperatives.