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Converge OT with IT for Business Benefits in Manufacturing

At the recent Cisco Live 2013 event in Orlando, I talked about the business value of converging operations technology (OT)—used for industrial automation systems—with IT business networks, in order to create more secure, end-to-end, standard communications and control.  Regarding business value of IT/OT convergence for machine builders/integrators and consequently their manufacturing customers, I referenced a case study involving Comau Group that Al Presher from DesignNews recently picked up in a blog entitled “Connectivity Enabling Smart Manufacturing.”

Automotive welding

Automotive welding

Comau is a leading supplier and partner for most global automakers, integrating welding and assembly lines that coordinate dozens of robots and ancillary automation across multiple stations.

The order-to-engineering sign-off cycle requires months and the consequent build and commissioning to full production adds many more months for a new or refreshed manufacturing line.

Multiple fieldbus protocols at the device level complicate both design and implementation, requiring more integration services—time and money—to make the system work.

By designing a converged IT/OT “Connected Machine” solution that utilizes IP-standards-based, off-the-shelf modularity with a network architecture validated for both business and controls topologies, Comau has been able to reduce engineering cycles and cut integration time by more than two-thirds.  Quoting an Engineering Manager from the company, “Installation, commissioning and debugging for 10 stations with 12-15 robots takes a couple days, rather than 1-2 weeks.” Read More »

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NetAcad Students Win 2 of 3 Medals in WorldSkills Competition for Networking Administration

I am still in awe at the incredible WorldSkills event that took place in Leipzig, Germany last week. It was truly amazing to see thousands of the most talented youth from around the world compete for the top title in their skill.

World Skills brings top international trainees age 23 and younger to compete for medals in 46 official disciplines — from cooking to IT networking.

The closing ceremony brought tears of joy and shouts of excitement as the names of each competition winner were unveiled, bringing to an end the intense week in Germany. Seeing the sheer joy on the winner’s faces was emotional and an experience I will never forget.

Skill #39 medal winners Takuya Nishide, Jason Soh, and  Hui-zhong Liu

Skill #39 medal winners Takuya Nishide, Jason Soh, and Hui-zhong Liu. Photo courtesy WorldSkills.

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Cisco Networking Academy Students Participate in “Workforce Olympics”

Olympic athletes train hard year round to be the best in their sport. Every 4 years we have the chance to watch them give it their all and compete on a global level.

Did you know that a similar event takes the most talented, skilled workers from around the world to compete head-to-head for a world title?

Welcome to the WorldSkills Competition, what a Cisco executive once described as the “Olympics of the skilled trades.”  This event is hosted by different host countries every 2 years:  this year Germany is the proud host and in 2015 it will be held in Brazil.

wordskills

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Women Have the Skills to Stand Out in STEM Fields

This blog was initially published on the Huffington Post

This week, my boss, Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, is being recognized at the U.S. STEM Solutions Summit as one of the 100 CEO Leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

This is a great recognition for Cisco’s efforts in developing talent for the technology field. On the other hand, the list of Fortune 100 CEO’s is disappointing because of what’s missing – women. Only 18 of the 100 leaders listed are women.

In the United States and around the world, there are far more technology-oriented jobs than candidates to fill them. According to the National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI), jobs in U.S are projected to grow 45 percent between 2008 -2018 in computer systems design and related services, a math intensive field.

Further, a new study from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program says 20 percent of all jobs in the United States require a “high level of knowledge” in at least one STEM field. Half of these jobs don’t even require bachelor’s degree, yet they pay $53,000 on average—10 percent higher than jobs with similar educational requirements.

Clearly, the computer technology represents a good career choice with strong possibilities for employment and professional growth. Yet it appears that this message isn’t reaching a broader audience of women.

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Email and Calendaring Social Community Decreases IT Support Caseload

June 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm PST

In my previous blog post, I talked about how adding a social support layer enabled the IT Mobility team within Cisco to realize cost avoidance of $650k, which was leveraged for new, innovative projects.

Benefits were also seen in Cisco IT’s Email and Calendaring WebEx Social community. Since it’s launch in Q4FY12, the Email and Calendaring Services community has seen more than 33,000 visitors and 300,000 views spread across collaborative wiki posts and discussion forums. The discussion forum alone has over 500 individual discussions through moderated support and user contribution, resulting in a self-service model for those who may have a similar question or issue. Read More »

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