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The 2014 Automation Conference – IoE and Beer

The 2014 Automation Conference (TAC) was held March 20-21, 2014 in sunny Chicago (Yes, sunny Chicago!! I made sure to pack some California sunshine for the Windy City) attracted a diverse group of automation and manufacturing thought leaders and subject matter experts from leading machine builders, system integrators, manufacturing end users, standards bodies and educational institutions. The focus and objective of the conference was to have peer to peer discussions and dialogue around the technologies and next generation automation strategies that are enabling and driving the Internet of Everything (IoE).

“This conference is designed not only to make you think about the application of automation, but also to help you take action” -- David Greenfield, Automation World, editor in chief and TAC event director

The conference achieved this goal and more.  The framework of the sessions encouraged audience collaboration and dialogue around the challenges and practical steps and strategies being designed and deployed to achieve an integrated and scalable IoE architecture that drives value across the entire manufacturing value chain, as depicted in the video below:

I can “wax poetic” around all the great individual sessions held at the conference around Big Data, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), mobility, virtualization, cloud computing, cyber-physical security, network switching, CPwE (Converged Plantwide Ethernet), safety systems, workforce retention and optimization, but I think its more fun and interesting to summarize the highlights of the conference through the  context of a use case that was shared at the conference.

What better way to meet that objective than to leverage a manufacturing use case around beer!!!!

Automating Brewing Operations from Two Different Perspectives

I attended this session where Highland Brewing, Sierra Nevada and Vicinity Manufacturing gave an interesting perspective around the challenges and strategies in deploying their next generation manufacturing operation.

Highland Brewing is a regional brewer of craft beers based in the Southeast and Sierra Nevada is a larger brewer with more of national brand.  The interesting contrast between the two is that Highland Brewing is designing more automation into their operational facility and Sierra Nevada is scaling their automation and IoE strategies across all their facilities.   Both perspectives and approaches have the same objective.  How do I effectively integrate all the various technologies into an intelligent, flexible and scalable system/architecture to meet the following business outcomes:

  1. Increase Customer Loyalty
  2. Supply Chain Optimization
  3. Operational Excellence
  4. Energy Sustainability
  5. Disruptive Innovation

To paraphase Kevin Wheeler, Director of Operations, Highland Brewing Co,“Our core competency is crafting great beer. We have an opportunity to drive efficiency into our operation by an integrating IoT/IoE platform … the challenge is figuring out the best approach.”

Like Highland Brewing, manufacturers must begin to transform existing business processes and fundamentally rethink how they create, operate, and service smart, connected products in the IoE. For those that get it right, the future represents a huge opportunity to create product and service advantages.

Are you having challenges putting together the “IoE technology puzzle?”  Is security the main barrier to IoE adoption?

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Technology- The Paintbrush Enabling the New Manufacturing Renaissance

Welcome to the New Manufacturing Renaissance driven by a collage of sensors, robots, servers, clouds, tablets, machines, people and …things. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is serving as the canvas that connects and integrates all those “things.”  Over the last few years we have been inundated by industry pundits and scholars predicting the efficiency gains, value opportunities and innovations that can be obtained from the IoE revolution.  In fact, Cisco estimates the manufacturing IoE value opportunity is $4.2 trillion over the next 8 years.

Forward thinking CTO’s  understand that technology plays a significant roll in enabling this renaissance.  In a recent Industry Week article, our CTO, Padmasree Warrior, made the following observation:

“At this point, we believe that every company, big and small, is essentially becoming a technology company,” Warrior says. “Technology has become implicit and embedded in every business process today — the supply chain, manufacturing floor, automation and IT: They are all driven by technology and data analytics, not just operational expertise.

This renaissance is accelerating now thanks to the convergence of a number of technology trends: the low cost and accessibility of Big Data associated with cloud computing; the plummeting cost of electronic sensors, microprocessors and other components that can be used to make machines more adept; and advances in software and communications technology that make it possible to manage manufacturing with a whole new level of precision and enable new forms of collaboration.

Convergence has to not only occur  between  Information (IT) and Operational (OT) Technologies , but also within the C-suite.  The CTO’s primary responsibilities are evolving to become more tightly integrated and aligned with the enterprise’s business and operational goals. The result is optimized business processes, enhanced information for better decisions, reduced costs, lower risks and shortened project timelines.

Sujeet Chand, chief technology officer at Rockwell Automation adds,

“The role of the CTO is no longer just to enable technology.  Our role is to use that technology to help move the business forward.  It’s all part of the convergence between IT and OT,”

Chand explains.

“To really get value from that convergence, you’ve got to highlight what value is going to be derived. You don’t want to connect manufacturing to IT for the sake of connecting manufacturing to IT or put all kinds of real-time data into the cloud for no reason.”

The New Manufacturing Renaissance is creating a wave of technologies and ideas.  The revolution threatens to shatter long-standing business models, upend global trade patterns and surpass the radical gains and innovations brought forth by the Industrial Revolution.

Has your organization evolved and embraced the opportunities afforded by the IoE revolution?  Is your CTO driving business relevance through the innovative use of technology?  Have you broken down organizational silos to foster a true innovation culture throughout the manufacturing value chain?

The technology is mightier than the paintbrush.

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Automation Fair in 15 seconds…

November 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm PST

In 2-3 sentences

The team is back in town and recovering after a tremendous showing in Chicago for Automation Fair. As a preview for the blogs to come in the next few weeks, I asked each team member to summarize the event in 2-3 sentences – about 15 seconds of reading time. Here’s what they said: Read More »

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Day 2 at Automation Fair, Part 2

November 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm PST

Congratulations Cisco team! Automation Fair has drawn to a close and we are celebrating a successful event.

It was so great to meet face-to-face with our customers and discuss all of the exciting technologies which are available to the Manufacturing Industry. We were particularly pleased that our customers now recognize Cisco as not only a provider of products, such as routers and switches, but also as a provider of Solutions.

Stay tuned to our blog for all of the in-depth discussion and analysis our team will provide from their experiences at Automation Fair. Please join the conversation and let us know what you thought of what you saw at the event!

If you want to see all of our social media activity regarding Automation Fair, visit our storify instance, which will aggregate all of our content creation, including blogs, videos, tweets and pictures into one spot. So follow this link to see all of our activity as it happened and to have a record of everything that we did:

http://storify.com/ciscomfg/rockwell-automation-fair-2011-autofair

Also, if you missed Part 1 of today’s event, view it here:

http://blogs.cisco.com/manufacturing/day-2-at-automation-fair-part-1/

Thank you everyone for participating in such a wonderful event!

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Day 2 at Automation Fair, Part 1

November 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm PST

Day 2 at Automation Fair is rapidly underway.

One thing we’re really proud of this year is that customers at Automation Fair are no longer asking: “Why are you here, Cisco?” They know why. From our Industrial Intelligence solutions to our promotion of Convergence and the Internet of Things, manufacturers now know the benefits Cisco can bring them.

And hold tight for Day 2 at Automation Fair, Part 2 — coming soon!

If you’re at the event and haven’t already done so, be sure to stop by booth #239 to see us!

If not, make sure to follow us on our storify instance, which will aggregate all of our content creation into one spot. So follow this link to see all of our activity as it unfolds:

http://storify.com/ciscomfg/rockwell-automation-fair-2011-autofair

Also, if you missed any of the video from yesterday, view it here:

http://blogs.cisco.com/manufacturing/live-from-automation-fair-part-1/
http://blogs.cisco.com/manufacturing/live-from-automation-fair-part-2/

Watch the video below of live footage from Day 2 at Automation Fair to see Kevin Davenport describe our customer successes and the popularity of the new Cius on the plant floor:

See you at our booth!

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