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Building Professional Skills for the Internet of Things

August 7, 2014 at 7:30 am PST

In my conversations with our customers and partners, one of most frequent topics is the need of aligning the skills of the Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) professionals to the new capabilities offered by Internet of Things (IoT) related technologies and solutions, and the changing conditions and demands of the business.

There is plenty of training in the market about configuring and maintaining all the new smart objects that are coming to the market. But the specific nature of these devices radically changes the way the essential infrastructure that is needed to interconnect them should be planned, designed, deployed and maintained. These are not traditional networks.

The IoT network infrastructure for all these new “things” has to deal with several new challenges. For one, IoT devices are not traditional computing devices. There are literally hundreds of different protocols used by these devices.  They may have very specific needs in terms of speed and frequency of connectivity.  Many of them are super susceptible to changes in delay and latency, some of them connect intermittently, while some others just come in range from time to time.  Many operate 24x7 under the harshest conditions, and a lot of them where designed to operate in hierarchical and closed loop networks.

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Manufacturing, IoT and Innovation – What’s the Missing LInk?

My colleague Chet Namboodri recently discussed, “The Internet of Things and the Future of Manufacturing” with Manufacturing Revival Radio.  In the interview, Chet discussed how best in class manufacturers like GM and Stanley Black and Decker are driving innovation and capturing real business value across their value chain by developing and executing an IoT strategy.

Manufacturers like GM and Stanley Black and Decker are creating this platform for innovation by deploying open standards–based Internet Protocol (IP) technologies that converge their enterprise and plant floor networks. The convergence enables tight integration of operation technology (OT) and information technology (IT), creating a flexible and scalable platform to:2439633

Speaking of security, it is cited by most manufacturers as the key barrier to IoT adoption and innovation.  The prospect of connecting millions, potentially billions of sensors, actuators, motors, gauges, valves, and machines with Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) applications like MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) applications can make VP of Supply Chains, Operation Managers and the like want to go back to the old island of automation model that Chet cited in his interview.

As daunting as security may be to innovation and IoT adoption. The skills workforce gap in the industry is the biggest threat and concern for manufacturing executives and managers. ThomasNet conducted a survey of over 1200 line of business manufacturing professionals .  The survey cited that Generation Y (18-32 years old) employees will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, but three-quarters of manufacturers report that 25 percent or less of their workforce are in the Generation Y age group.

Cisco recognizes that new skills and education are the missing link required to drive innovation and realize the value afforded by IoT in the manufacturing industry.

To prepare and attract the next generation manufacturing workforce Cisco has launched the Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist Certification for information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) professionals in the manufacturing, process control, and oil and gas industries who install, maintain, and troubleshoot industrial network systems. This certification ensures candidates have the foundational skills to manage and administer networked industrial control systems. It provides plant administrators, control system engineers and traditional network engineers with an understanding of the networking technologies needed in today’s connected plants and enterprises.

What are your major barriers to IoT Adoption?  Security, transitional workforce, ….?  In the meantime, be sure to visit the Industrial IP Advantage website for more information around how you can leverage IP technologies to accelerate your path to IoT value.

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Congratulations to the IoT Innovation Grand Challenge Semi-finalists!

IoT Innovation Grand ChallengeIn April 2014, Cisco announced the IoT Innovation Grand Challenge, a global, open competition aimed at recognizing, promoting and accelerating the adoption of breakthrough technologies that will contribute to the growth and evolution of the Internet of Things.  The response was overwhelming with fantastic submissions.

We received over 800 submissions from startups all over the world on a diverse set of topics – from agriculture to Wifi with ble, gps, m2m, rfid and many more things in between.   The top 5 submission categories were: Smart Cities with 166 entries, Healthcare with 123, Retail (98), Education (80) and Transportation (59).

Announcing the Nineteen Semi-Finalists!

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Modernizing Public Safety Communications

Modernizing Public Safety Communications

Your existing radios and voice system do more, with Cisco IPICS 4.8

If your agency uses Cisco Unified Communications as well as PTT radio communications, you can make both more valuable by adding Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS).Communicate, Collaborate, Operate 3

Hundreds of public safety agencies around the world already use Cisco IPICS to make radio dispatch operations simpler. IPICS improves incident response because personnel can join PTT talk groups using just about any device. That includes land-mobile radios, smartphones, IP phones, PCs and laptops, and even traditional phones.

The newest release, IPICS 4.8, has new features that improve communications, collaboration, and operations. Read More »

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How Internet of Things Is Transforming Public Safety

How Internet of Things Is Transforming Public Safety

Use Case 1: BYOD for Police Officers

The Internet of Things refers to connecting currently unconnected people and things, and it’s transforming public safety. This blog explains how police officers can securely use commercial smartphones and tablets in the field. Future blogs will describe other ways to use the Internet of Things to improve communications, collaboration, and operations.

Police officers are clamoring to use their iPhones, iPads, and Android devices for work. For law-enforcement agencies, allowing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is appealing because it can save money, and mobile apps for law enforcement improve situational awareness.Public Safety

Until now, two things have stopped police departments from allowing BYOD. One is governance. To use smartphones and tablets for incident response, departments need a way to enforce standard operating procedures. Lacking this, the NYPD recently had to remind officers to use radios instead of smartphones for official communications. Here’s the article in the New York Post.

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