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Connected Machines Take Manufacturing to the Next Level of IoT

We’ve all seen how connected products can transform industries in areas like home energy management and personal health, and manufacturing is no exception. When products communicate back to their original makers, the manufacturers can detect production flaws well before customers would need to raise warranty claims. Further, product usage data can become the core of value delivered to the customer. Now that we have Fitbit and Jawbone UP, would you ever consider buying a traditional pedometer whose only method of telling you steps is on an LCD display?  These ideas can be applied to machines on the factory floor too.

In a previous blog post on the Connected Factory, I shared how Cisco’s validated designs combine best practices from operational technology (OT) and IT into robust and secure networks. I also addressed how wireless connectivity can enable a more effective workforce and how digital transformation with real-time production analytics improves quality. Read More »

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What happened after the Innovation Grand Challenge Awards?

At Cisco, we have invested significant time, money and resources into igniting innovation around the Internet of Everything (IoE) both inside and outside the company.

Since fostering an innovation ecosystem is so critical to the success of IoE, last year we launched the global Innovation Grand Challenge. The risk-reward ratio was high, but with a lot of hard work – at Cisco and with partners — the Challenge was a resounding success by all accounts: more than 1,000 entries from 171 countries.

The winners were announced at the IoT World Forum in Chicago last October, and they received not only prize money, resources and mentorships – but also valuable publicity. Driven by the success of the initial Challenge, the IoTWF Steering Committee recently decided to launch a second Innovation Grand Challenge, and this year’s winners will be announced in December at the World Forum in Dubai. Read More »

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What happened to the “Things”

We are all very caught up in the “Internet of Things” phenomenon.  There isn’t a day goes by when we don’t see an article (or sixteen) on the topic.  We see statistics quoted here there and everywhere about this is going to/already is affecting our lives, yet almost none of these articles seems to see the big picture.

In “How to Fly a Horse” by Kevin Ashton (http://www.amazon.com/How-Fly-Horse-Invention-Discovery/dp/0385538596 ) we learn that Kevin coined the phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) in 1999 when he was trying to present a solution to the problem of tracking the sales of lipsticks.  Kevin worked at Procter & Gamble and the misplacement of lipsticks in the display case was causing a sales issue when the required color was in stock, on the display, but in the wrong place and not easily found.  Kevin put an RFID tag in the lipstick and an antenna under each location, monitored the display unit, uploaded the information to the internet and used it to make decisions about the actual sales stock position.

Since then the term has been broadened to include almost anything that is in some way connected to the Internet and is providing information that can be used. The term has almost become a part of everyday use, though it seems the understanding of the term has morphed.  In 2013 the Oxford English Dictionary included a definition for the IoT – “The interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/Internet-of-things ). While this definition is fine, it does not capture the real essence of the concept.

OSI ETC JTC 1In 2013-4, Special Workgroup 5 under ISO/IEC JTC 1 (International Standards Organization/International Electrotechnical Committee Joint Working Group 1) spent a lot of time looking at the definition of the IoT and found over 30 definitions in common use including one from CISCO.  The group reviewed all of these and created a new definition that is currently being used in ISO – “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a global network infrastructure, linking physical and virtual objects through the use of interoperable data capture and networking methods.  Standards‐based object identification, sensors, controls, actuators, and connection capability provide for  the  development  of  independent  cooperative  services  and  applications  supported  by data analytics and characterized by a user‐defined degree of autonomy.” The work of this group can be found in a report and annexes to be found at http://www.iso.org/iso/jtc1_home.html. Read More »

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Security as an Enabler in a World of Increased Manufacturing Vulnerability

CF imageTShakibManufacturing is entering a new digital era, with more opportunity for mass customization, reduced downtime, and increased innovation. Manufacturers are capturing the value of the Internet of Everything (IoE) by becoming digital. Many are taking their first steps in this transformation by adopting Ethernet to connect plant floor devices to better manage operation and supply chain workflows, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. This digital transformation, however, creates greater exposure to cyberattacks. As a result, mitigating security threats has never been more important. Read More »

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Security Is a Top Priority for Feds and Should Be Moving Forward

It’s no secret that security is top priority for the federal government. It seems like every week we are hearing about a new threat, hack, or breach that has hit an agency. In just the past few weeks, we’ve heard about significant breaches that have resulted in both citizen and federal employee information being compromised.

Obviously, these kinds of attacks are putting agencies on alert. This is especially important as organizations continue to embrace new technologies and polices to improve operations and efficiency. As technology investments bring great new capabilities to government, it’s imperative that IT managers design security in from the very beginning.

I recently discussed this topic in an article published in Federal Times. The article explored how the Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Everything (IoE) need cybersecurity protection. In addition to a projected $4.6 trillion in value for global public sector by 2022, the enhanced connectivity offered by IoE technologies also creates an increased need for network security. For example, while BYOD programs are tremendously valuable, these initiatives also create a larger surface area for potential attacks by adding devices to the networks.

With billions of devices expected become connected over the next five years, it’s important that agencies have a plan in place to address their security needs. In general, agencies should focus their efforts on creating a cybersecurity strategy that is visibility-driven, threat-focused and platform-based. As more individuals and devices need network access, having real-time visibility becomes even more critical to gaining insight on surrounding threats and identifying system vulnerabilities. Also, presuming the network has already been breached it can help agencies be more proactive their approach. And lastly, a platform-based approach will provide scalability and flexibility required to address a variety of threats and reduce complexity through centralized management.

The number of ways IoE can make our lives better and our organizations more efficient depends mainly on our ability to think of new ways to use the technology. If we can be confident in the security of IoE, we can be confident developing more applications for it. All organizations should be in a position to ask, “Now that I am confident with my protection, what new things can I develop to save money or time and delight my users?”

Take a look at the Federal Times article for more insights around IoE and cybersecurity, and check out this white paper to learn more about IoE’s impact on public sector.

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