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IoT in Manufacturing: Insights and Best Practices

IoT Webcast Manufacturing net

Recently, the second of a two-part Manufacturing.net webcast series on ‘The Internet of Things ’ (IoT) wrapped with a deep dive on the very real business advantages and outcomes that are enabled when IoT is fully applied to Manufacturing operations. One of the speakers, David Gutshall, Infrastructure Design Manager at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, highlighted many advantages he’s experienced with deployments of the Converged Plant-wide Ethernet solution architecture from Cisco and Rockwell Automation. In the webcast, David talked about “greater manufacturing flexibility across the supply chain, where … we can collate data across the factory (and enterprise) … and have experienced a substantial reduction in downtime.”  He described that with an IP-enabled Connected Factory, “what used to take hours or days to triage and troubleshoot problems now takes seconds.” Expanding on the topic, David said “when we bring a new machine online, it essentially works with the network out-of-the-box,” yielding greater flexibility and significantly reducing new model NPI (New Product Introduction) cycles and time to market.

Similar companies, like General Motors, have leveraged this industrial automation and controls system (IACS) architecture, which GM calls ‘Plant Floor Control Network’ (PFCN), to reduce downtime by as much as 75% and to drive out hundreds of $millions in plant engineering, operations and maintenance costs associated with factory expansions and modernizations. Both GM and Harley identify one of the biggest advantages of a standardized yet flexible factory automation infrastructure is the acceleration of NPI offerings and advancement into new markets. Over the past decade, GM with partners has been able to gain a leading share of passenger vehicles produced in China, Brazil and other emerging markets. And as Harley rolls out their recently announced LiveWire electric motorcycle, I suspect that an integral part of their strategy includes the American manufacturing renaissance vision for a dynamic, fun, flexible factory of the future. Take a look at this inspirational video from Harley describing the modernization and transformation of their existing York Manufacturing Facility:

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Open Source at The Large Hadron Collider and Data Gravity

I am delighted to announce a new Open Source cybergrant awarded to the Caltech team developing the ANSE project at the Large Hadron Collider. The project team lead by Caltech Professor Harvey Newman will be further developing the world’s fastest data forwarding network with Open Daylight. The LHC experiment is a collaboration of world’s top Universities and research institutions, the network is designed and developed by the California Institute of Technology High Energy Physics department in partnership with CERN and the scientists in search of the Higgs boson, adding new dimensions to the meaning of “big data analytics”, the same project team that basically set most if not all world records in data forwarding speeds over the last decade, and quickly approaching the remarkable 1 Tbps milestone.

Unique in its nature and remarkable in its discovery, the LHC experiment and its search for the elusive particle, the very thing that imparts mass to observable matter, is not only stretching the bleeding edge of physics, but makes the observation that data behaves as if it has gravity too. With the exponential rise in data (2 billion billion bytes per day and growing!), services and applications are drawn to “it”. Moving data around is neither cheap nor trivial. Though advances in network bandwidth are in fact observed to be exponential (Nielsen’s Law), advances in compute are even faster (Moore’s Law), and storage even more.  Thus, the impedance mismatch between them, forces us to feel and deal with the rising force of data gravity, a natural consequence of the laws of physics. Since not all data can be moved to the applications nor moved to core nor captured in the cloud, the applications will be drawn to it, a great opportunity for Fog computing, the natural evolution from cloud and into the Internet of Things.

Congratulations to the Caltech physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists working on this exciting project. We look forward to learning from them and their remarkable contribution flowing in Open Source made possible with this cybergrant so that everyone can benefit from it, not just the elusive search for gravity and dark matter. After all, there was a method to the madness of picking such elements for Open Daylight as Hydrogen and Helium. I wander what comes next…

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The Nexus of the Internet of Everything? It’s in the Palm of Your Hand.

On a typical day, we hold in our hands a portal to our civilization’s entire trove of information and entertainment — and a window into our finances, our health, and the lives of our friends. Not to mention, the ability to make a purchase anywhere and anytime the whim strikes us.

To say that our personal devices have become an integral part of our lives is a vast understatement. But get ready for an even bigger wave of change. Mobile is poised to become ever more ubiquitous. But the focus will be less on the device itself, and more on its role as a critical enabler in the connected world of the Internet of Everything (IoE).

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Forget Looking in the Mirror, It’s Your Digital Image That Truly Matters

It’s great to stay in shape at the gym and pick out stylish clothes. But more and more, the personal image that really counts is digital.

That’s because the Internet of Everything (IoE) era demands new ways of looking at, well, just about everything. And everything includes you. In an expanding universe of new connections, each of us needs to ask, just where do I fit? And how am I being viewed?

In short, what is my digital persona?

The ways in which we are seen online have assumed acute importance in recent years, and that only stands to increase. Therefore, our digital personas have to be cultivated and maintained, just as we care for our images in the physical world.

In career terms, for example, you may be known in your daily work life as a good leader. But the physical world has limited reach.  If there is no evidence of that in the digital world, you will be in trouble, especially if you happen to be looking for a new job. Recruiters, of course, know that they can do an instant search and start compiling your digital profile within seconds. If you say you’re an expert or a good manager, your digital persona had better back it.

According to some recent research, job recruiters are turning more and more to Facebook, which by some measures is becoming even more impactful for employment purposes than LinkedIn. So, if the personal social media site can actually trump the professional social media site, think twice before you post those Spring Break photos.

As the consumerization of IT extends ever further into the workplace — via personal devices, social media, and so forth — the blurring of the personal and the professional will only continue.  As a result, everyone must be aware that personal actions have an impact comparable to professional achievements. And the digital trail that you leave behind every day influences how you are perceived in the marketplace.

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BC Hydro, Cisco and Itron – a Powerhouse in Canada

June 24, 2014 at 9:23 am PST

With just under two million customers, BC Hydro is deploying the first standards based multi-services in production FAN network with IPv6 802.15.4/RPL mesh to manage the Automated Metering Infrastructure(AMI), Distribution Automation(DA) and other advanced gird applications.

The design is based on Cisco’s Connected Grid Solution utilizing Cisco’s Field Area Router (CGR) and standards based Smart Meter Field Area Network (FAN) technologies and Itron OpenWay® CENTRON® smart meter as well as Itron’s meter data management, collection engine and reporting software.

BC Hydro is fast moving to build an IPv6 network able of supporting 2 Million routable IPV6 addresses in a secure, resilient, and manageable way.

British Columbia for BC Hydro BlogBC Hydro has 41 Dam sites, 30 Hydro facilities and 9 Thermal units and, from a transmission perspective,  has 18,000 km of Transmission lines 260 substations, and 22,000 steel towers!

On top of that, BC Hydro has 56,000 km of Distribution lines  Approx. 900K poles, over 300K of transformers that serve 17 Non-integrated areas.

The area covered by BC Hydro is equal to the area of California, Oregon and Washington state combined. Impressed/? You will be…

OK, enough of the numbers. So what about the business? Well, the idea is to do three things, according to Fiona Taylor, director of BC Hydro’s smart metering program, said in prepared remarks to a reporter at Smart Grid Today:

“Benefits of the IPv6 network include streamlined operations, improved system visibility and revenue recovery,”

By way of history, under a mandate from the British Columbia government to implement AMI, BC Hydro awarded Itron and Cisco a $270 million contract for smart meters and networking, Gary Murphy, chief project officer for smart metering at BC Hydro, told Smart Grid Today in 2011 (SGT, 2011-Aug-10).

HAK22620 - for web

That brings us  to a key part of the customer solution. Itron. Itron is a partner of Cisco, and together we have developed some of the most innovative metering solutions for energy customers.

Also, Itron and Cisco are helping to break down silos in the Energy industry infrastructure. There is real added-value in adopting a standards-based approach to smart metering and smart grid. You can read about it in the white paper here.
Itron’s partnership with Cisco goes back a way, and you can see how it manifests itself in the whitepaper, and the background is well covered in the historic  press announcement (click on the link to view).

A couple of the objectives of the partnership deliver direct value to our customers:

  • Deliver true multi-service, multi-application (applications from metering to grid to workforce) capabilities over a common network infrastructure with standardized and robust security that any utility can implement.
  • Optimize the total cost of ownership of these networks by spreading the cost over a greater number of grid applications and devices.

The way forward is clear. And foggy. That’s because Cisco is delivering its vision of Fog Computing to accelerate value from billions of connected devices -- meters included! More about that next time when I talk about how Cisco IOx enables applications to run directly at the network edge to overcome rising operational costs and spark new innovations in the Internet of Things.

Until next time -- keep the power on!

 

 

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