The resiliency and determination of America’s sense of justice was thrust into a spirit of rejoicing on Sunday evening May 1, 2011, when President Barack Obama addressed the world, confirming Osama bin Laden’s demise in Pakistan. While watching the breaking TV news coverage, I began to share that sense of accomplishment and joy, less for the act of neutralizing the thought leader and chief architect of 9/11 and other atrocities against Americans, and more for the fortitude and resolve demonstrated by the U.S. commander-in-chief, our military forces, and intelligence agencies. I found myself thinking of what this type of public resolve implies for the future state of our Manufacturing economy in the U.S., whose resurgence is essential to the country’s defenses, global leadership, and the health and prosperity of our citizens, along with those of other democratic nations.
President Obama’s determination coming into office in January 2009 to recommit U.S. resources to bring justice to bin Laden, and the U.S. intelligence and military’s subsequent success bodes well as I consider his commitment to U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, infrastructure build-out and job creation articulated during the President’s January 2011 State of the Union address. During the last several quarters, I have had the privilege to present on behalf of Cisco to the Office of the President as part of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), a broad cross section of manufacturers, technology suppliers, manufacturing consortia, government laboratories and research universities across industry segments pulling together to recommend programs to revitalize U.S. manufacturing.
My distant relative - Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger (Royal Air Force) and his DH82A Gipsy Moth - did the forerunner of RFID save him from being shot down?
Some of the best technological advances are made during times of conflict. Sad that it should be so, but the silver lining is that many of the advances are focused on defending, protecting and shielding people. Active RFID, the kind of solution provided by Cisco and AeroScout, in many ways started out that way.
Looking back decades to WWII, radar was already being developed in ernest by the British in the run-up to the second world war. Many countries were developing radar at that time, but most folks agree that Robert Watson Watt, later Sir Robert, was the prime mover-and-shaker. It took US marketing (in the form of the US Navy) to coin the term RADAR, for radio detection and ranging.
So where does Context Aware Location RFID come in? Well, whilst radar itself was useful, the British needed to know whether those planes coming over the English Channel were returning Spitfires and allied bombers, or attacking Luftwaffe aircraft. It was the same Watson-Watt that helped produce the ‘Identification friend or foe’ (IFF) system that used a transponder on the allied aircraft that was ‘excited’ by the radar system and actively sent back a signal to the base saying friend. My own cousin, Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger, Officer Trainer RAF, was grateful for that!
Now fast forward decades to today. The technology for today’s RFID is a little different, but the concept is the same. So let’s keep the aeronautical theme going and talk about Boeing and its use of RFID.Read More »
Last week at the ODVA Annual Conference--as part of ODVA’s announcement of a new energy initiative and white paper--Cisco’s Bryce Barnes roused a packed-house audience representing ODVA’s ~200 industrial and automation suppliers with a compelling speech on the immediate need for Optimization of Energy Usage (OEU™) in the Production domain. Energy consumption statistics for the industrial sector are staggering, most estimates suggesting half of the world’s total delivered energy, and that amount is projected to increase by 40% over the next 25 years. For Manufacturers, energy typically constitutes the first or second highest portion of product variable costs, and most manufacturing companies now report as part of their governance a sustainability strategy that is core to their overall business strategy. Furthermore, volatility of energy markets--closely linked to the stability of governments, international relations and policies--raises the risk profile for continuity of supply, production and satisfaction of customers. Optimizing energy consumption, minimizing energy costs and mitigating energy risks are clearly top of mind business imperatives for the Manufacturing CEO.
Mark Wylie discusses the importance of energy optimization to sustainable manufacturing operations. Check out Mark’s December blog on factory energy management.
This year for Christmas my wife gave me the wonderful gift of membership to our local gym, and in addition, a discounted gift pack of 8 personal trainer sessions. My first reaction was to be offended by the gesture until I gazed at the sincerity on her face and the “keg” below my chest. So, instead of wallowing in self pity. I proceeded to pull out and dust off my 1998 Brooks track shoes, my knee high athletic socks and my 2000 Los Angeles Laker’s Championship head band, and proceeded to walk out the door on my quest for a new and improved six pack.
How does this story relate to manufacturing? Well let me explain.
I did not make it out the door before my teenage daughter glanced at me, chuckled and stated, “Dad. Where are you going with that outfit? And where did you get those shoes!!!”, “You need some new “stompers” (translation for the tweet challenged generation…new shows. Oh and I needed the translation.) She directed me to the NikeID website to find some new “stompers”
Nike -- Custom Solution
Global manufacturing stalwarts like Nike and Harley Davidson are re-engineering their plants to address the growing trend of custom “productization.” Where customers can personalize and customize their product with unique detail and style. Customers end up paying a little more for this service, but in many instances it turns out to be more reasonable than exclusive branding. Is Custom Automation the new craftsmanship of the 21st century? If so, what is required to implement this new paradigm into a viable business and operational reality -- a sort of Industrial Intelligence? Read More »
Introducing Cisco Industrial Intelligence. Neither James Bond gone corporate nor Cisco gone espionage, Industrial Intelligence is the enabling of business enterprises and municipalities to more intelligently and responsively manage industrial operations globally, and it’s one of Cisco’s latest adjacencies as part of the Borderless Networks solutions portfolio. Having IP-data and control flows converged with voice, video and virtualization creates a more intelligent platform for innovations that connect devices to measure, monitor, and manage resources for greater efficiencies, to connect people in less time and space, and to connect ideas that generate solutions to today’s industrial, operational and environmental challenges.
Chet Namboodri talks about how the Cisco Industrial Intelligence solution can help to improve operational efficiency, safety, agility, and use of assets.