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Integration and Customization in Manufacturing: Some Exciting Trends

Recently I wrote about a few real life examples of IDC Manufacturing Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Manufacturing and their Top 10 predictions in two parts.  They can be found: Part 1 and Part 2.  I wanted to continue with this and wrap up the discussions with some additional examples.   Hopefully, this helps illustrate what is already happening today to help you see some real life examples that are already taking place.

IDC wrote about Product Lifecycle Management or PLM. Traditionally, this is something that has always been a standalone solution and not one that is integrated into the full product design process.  We are seeing an integration of this silo (as I mentioned in my first post on this series) into the product design earlier.  Not only are we seeing this in the design process but also in the actual manufacturing workflow and shop floor design as well.  When a change is made in the product it is quicker then ever before to make a change to the recipe or the manufacturing process with a ‘one click’ push to the operational side of the company.

This helps a company react to the changes that the customers are asking for and also is an incredibly quick way to start to integrate into the ‘mass customization’ that customers are asking for in many consumer products.  Customers want to be able to have a product built for them and for their specifications.  I have seen this happen with my son’s soccer cleats even.  We are now able to order his shoes online with his number on them and they arrive within a week.  While that is as simple as just adding a silk screen it is a great first step in the evolution of customization.  Another example is what Motorola does with the Moto X where you can order the phone to your custom color and options and they will deliver it to you as requested (and for an incredibly low price!). Ultimately this can be done because ever process and every mechanism on the processing line can be tracked and changed on the fly.  At Hannover Messe 2014 we will be part of the Factory 4.0 demonstration that will highlight this integration and customization on the show floor, stop by and see this in action.

The last 2 predictions from IDC are around the future of where we are going and the fact that the investments will be on the factories of the future.  We are already seeing more focus on the shop floor than in the ‘carpeted areas’ where IT had normally lived in within the manufacturing environment then in the past.  With more visibility in the shop floor, companies are able to improve their operations and ultimately drive towards more effective operations.

This trend is apparent with the fact that all of our business partners in this space have started to implement IP and Ethernet in their products.  We have slowly seen this adoption improve over the past 5-7 years and in the past 2 years it is exploding with the implementation that is happening with our customers.  Check out the Industrial IP Advantage as an area to start your own education in this incredibly exciting market.  And, we are here to help you drive towards your operational excellence goals.  Thanks for reading.

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Cisco in the Cloud: Consistency is the Key

Trust is built with consistency.  This axiom is certainly true of Cisco’s credibility with customers in the cloud computing space, where Cisco is investing to ensure enterprise customers are able to rapidly build private clouds, or to procure Cisco Powered cloud services from our Cloud Service Provider partners, who, in turn, are using Cisco technology to build their public clouds. 

Recognition of our consistency in the cloud market is reflected in multiple ways, including third party corroboration. To that end, Cisco’s momentum in the cloud market is illustrated by findings from three  industry analyst reports:

After being named the number 1 company customers used most often for professional services related to cloud in an IDC survey of US customers earlier this summer, Cisco was recently named a global “Major Player” the first time we were invited to participate in IDC’s  MarketScape Report, Worldwide Cloud Professional Services 2013 Vendor Analysis.  And the latest Q2 data from Synergy Research Group shows that Cisco continues to maintain a number 1 position in the Cloud Infrastructure Market.

 “After steadily and consistently building its share in this market, Cisco has done well to hold onto its newly-won lead,” said Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group’s founder and Chief Analyst.

This strong combination of leadership in cloud infrastructure and in cloud professional services underscores Cisco’s commitment to consistently deliver businesses the foundation to deploy differentiated cloud services at a lower business risk.

No one can argue that cloud computing is accelerating IT business value, and cloud technology investments are increasing at a rapid pace in nearly every industry segment.   At Cisco, we remain committed to maintaining our consistency in delivering what our customers require.  A big part of that commitment is enabling IT to aggregate, integrate, customize, and deliver an expanded set of services to the business utilizing a mix of Cisco-enabled private cloud services and Cisco Powered public cloud services, paving the way to a hybrid cloud sourcing strategy for customers.

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Manufacturers Go Mobile

Mary Ann Azevedo

Mary Ann Azevedo

Guest Blog by

Mary Ann Azevedo is an award-winning journalist based in Silicon Valley.  She has covered business and technology issues for Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, the San Francisco Business Times and the Houston Business Journal.

An excellent piece by Mary Ann Azevedo is now available on the “The Network” (originally published June 24 , 2013) which expands upon many of the themes we have discussed on this Cisco Manufacturing Blog site. Start reading here, and the ‘Read More’ link will take you to the full article:

Ten years ago, an employee at a manufacturing firm would have to use pen and paper to conduct a plant floor inspection or quality control check. With handwritten notes, there was the potential for mistakes. The time it would take for a discovered problem to be addressed would vary considering how long it took for someone to learn about it and find the resources to solve it.

But as mobile technology has advanced, those same workers now have the option to instead use a mobile device such as a tablet or an iPad to perform the same functions. And those that do are finding that they are saving time and money while reducing the risk for errors and increasing safety in the workplace.

Manufacturers may have been slow to adopt mobility in the workplace but that reluctance seems to be gradually fading as once more conservative manufacturers are viewing the use of mobile as a way to get a leg up on their competition, notes Heather Ashton, research Manager for IDC Manufacturing and Retail Insights.Manufacturing employees “are becoming the smart connected worker by taking the technology with them,” she notes. “They’re moving throughout their workday connected at all times, which is huge.”

Not only they are adopting the use of mobile more, they are actually developing their own applications.According to a spring 2012 IDC survey (see chart in main article ), nearly 40 percent of 373 surveyed manufacturers across a variety of sectors said they intended to develop half or more of their applications for mobile platforms in 2012.

Eaton Corp. is one example of a company that has developed its own mobile application to enhance operations. John Gercak, vice president of information technology for Eaton’s $4 billion vehicle group, said his team in the United States and India spent about seven months developing the “Powertrac.”

The mobile application, which went live last December, uses a global positioning system (GPS) on an iPad and a cellular network to track the company’s test vehicles for supporting its products.

“With this app, the driver takes the iPad with them in the vehicle while on the track and we’re able to see in real time on the Web exactly where the vehicle is at all times,” he said.  Gercak said this is particularly useful because “if there’s a safety issue, we’re able to tell and notify the drivers in advance so as to avoid any potential accidents. Before if a vehicle was broken down, we weren’t able to know right away and contact the other drivers so from a safety perspective, it’s very helpful,”  Read More >

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Cisco Sizzle – April Edition

Welcome to the Cisco Sizzle! Each month, we’re rounding up the best of the best from across our social media channels for your reading pleasure. From the most read blog posts to the top engaging content on Facebook or LinkedIn, catch up on things you might have missed, or on the articles you just want to see again, all in one place.

Let’s take a look back at the top content from April…

Are you prepared for the IoE Economy?
In this blog post, Cisco’s Chief Futurist Dave Evans and Joseph Bradley of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group share two use cases for IoE – connected marketing and connected healthcare – with both a near-term and futuristic lens.

John Chambers Receives Honorary Doctorate
Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers received an honorary doctorate from San Jose State University at the honors convocation ceremony in April. His main message to the grads? Never stop learning.

Tomorrow Starts Here
What if the next big thing, isn’t big at all? It’s lots of things, all waking up. Explore how IoE will change the way we work, live, play and learn.

Innovation May Spark Economic Renewal
If we’ve learned anything from the last two decades, it’s that every time we think the Internet has exhausted its transformative potential, something highly disruptive comes along. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior talks IoE innovation and the $14.4 trillion value at stake that will spur research, new investments and new jobs.

A Typical Day
Explore how the Internet of Everything is sparking innovation and instigating meaningful actions to happen faster.

Is Your Site Safe From Attack?
Ars Technica editor Dan Godin compiled a list of Apache website compromises that have been impacting thousands of legitimate sites by allowing entrance to remote attackers. Until his research, no one had realized the magnitude of the situation and how widespread the attacks were. Check out the full insights, including potential solutions, in this blog post.

Three Networking Truths
There’s a clear consensus that one size does not fit all when it comes to deploying Software Defined Networking (SDN) solutions to different organizations. Time to dispel common networking misconceptions with three truths about the future of networking as Cisco sees it.

Check out the Cisco Storify feed for even more great content!Cisco_Sizzle_Final

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Three Truths about Networking – the Next Chapter

It’s great to see, hear and read various points of view on the evolution of networking.  It’s a hot topic right now, highlighting the fact that the network is at the center of the market transitions driven by Mobile, Cloud, new breeds of Apps and the Internet of Things.  Technical leaders from my team have become road warriors recently, talking to customers, media and investors about the evolution in networking, sometimes referred to as Software Defined Networking (SDN)

There’s a healthy debate in the market about SDN, and with any debate comes confusion. SDN’s initial definition (the logical separation of routing and switching control plane and data plane) has been stretched so far that it has come to mean something different to everyone.

There are plenty of use cases driving the attention that SDN is receiving today.  For instance, Service Providers are looking at trends like Network Functions Virtualization for network elasticity as an opportunity to create greater business value by launching new services quickly.  Traditional enterprises think about SDN as a way to rein in the operational and management complexity of data centers to scale infrastructure.  Academic institutions want open source controllers, so they can economically slice campus networks for both production and research purposes.  At least one thing is crystal clear: one size does not fit all when it comes to deploying SDN.

In some circles SDN has become synonymous with the erosion of value in the underlying networking infrastructure – the hardware and the ASICs. There is an argument purporting that when network intelligence is abstracted into software, hardware and silicon innovation will become less important and even commoditized.

I’m going to take this opportunity to address these misperceptions about the changes taking place in networking with three truths about the next chapter in networking as Cisco sees it.

Read More »

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