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A Global Standard for Narrowband Power Line Communications

Steep increase in global demand for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Electric Vehicle charging, and Intelligent Street Lighting has spurred interest to implement communications for these Neighborhood Area Network (NAN) applications over currently installed assets.  Narrow Band Power Line Communication  (NB-PLC) addresses this need by providing a communication solution which operates over existing utility distribution networks.

IEEE 1901.2 Narrowband PLC: Final Steps to the Finish Line

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Driving to the goal of a global NB-PLC standard, Cisco is vigorously engaged in the development of   IEEE 1901.2 NarrowBand PLC.  IEEE 1901.2 adopts the latest generation PLC techniques and  provides full adaptation to the latest IETF enabling technologies for IPv6 based NANs (6LoWPAN, RPL, MPL, etc.). IEEE 1901.2 is further aligned with other important Smart Utility Network technologies such as IEEE 802.15.4g/e.  Multi service IP based NANs are thus a reality, able to seamlessly support a mixture of PHY/MAC technologies appropriate for specific deployments

The IEEE 1901.2 standard is in its final stages of development, with publishing of the finished document expected by the end of 2013.

HomePlug Netricity for Conformance and Interoperability Certification

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With the imminent arrival of the 1901.2 standard comes the need for a certification program to insure product conformance to the specification and interoperability between multiple vendor’s product offerings.  The HomePlug Powerline Alliance is rising to this challenge.  HomePlug’s Netricity program, with the full support of Cisco, is moving smartly ahead with development of a conformance and interoperability certification program for IEEE 1901.2 based devices.  Expect certification testing to begin 2014.

Cisco salutes the commitment and expertise of the entire 1901.2 and Netricity development teams. A global standard for interoperable NB-PLC will soon be a reality!

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Have a Problem? Ask an Expert (Even if He, She, or It Is 3,000 Miles Away)

Your smart sprinkler system is happily pumping water to your lawn in highly efficient sprays that are “aware” of the soil, the climate, the weather, the time of day, and even whether or not your kids are playing in the backyard on a Saturday. Suddenly, a faulty valve bursts and an uncontrolled geyser erupts. One part of your property is about to be ruined by flooding while the rest of the lawn is left to yellow in the sun.

You and your family are miles away, yet you know all about it.  Sensors throughout the system alert your smartphone. At the same time, machine-to-machine signals shut down the pumps, and an expert from the sprinkler company is dispatched to your home with the precise replacement part and the real-time knowledge to fix the system.

It’s a great example of how the Internet of Everything (IoE) may soon funnel precise information in real time to the people — or machines — that need it most. Many of these “remote expert” technologies are either already here or on the horizon.

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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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Internet of Everything: A Pivot Point in Technology — and Thinking

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” So said Dave Evans, Cisco’s chief futurist, in his keynote address at Cisco Live 2013.  I couldn’t agree more! As we usher in a new era of hyperconnectivity, we will see our environment in unprecedented ways, and then manage it like never before.

The trick is getting the relevant data to the right people at the correct time.

Cisco calls this transformation the Internet of Everything (IoE). With its explosion in connectivity from 10 billion things today to 50 billion in 2020, IoE promises a profound transformation that will enhance nearly all aspects of our lives.

But only if we do it right. And that requires changing the ways in which we think.

For IoE to be a true game changer, it will take much more than infusing every road, refrigerator, tire, and supermarket shelf with data-generating sensors. IoE could, for example, have a deep impact on water management. Today, 30 percent of fresh water is lost to leaking pipes. But a sensor in a pipe can only tell you that it’s losing water (and you may already have known that). The key is managing the information, tying it into control systems, and creating far-reaching, highly efficient processes for rerouting water or mobilizing maintenance resources. Read More »

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Cisco Live Connected Buses: More Than Just a Ride

Cisco 819 ISR and HD IP video camera on board one of 34 connected buses at Cisco Live.

Cisco 819 ISR and HD IP video camera on board one of 34 connected buses at Cisco Live

Last week when Cisco Live attendees hopped on one of 34 connected shuttle buses in Orlando, they saw the Internet of Things (IoT) in action. The buses provided service for a record breaking 20,000 attendees traveling between 17 hotels and the Orange County Convention Center. 

Free Wi-Fi kept attendees securely connected from the time they left their hotel until they reached the convention center without losing connectivity. They simply used the same Cisco Live SSID and password on the buses as in the convention center. Greater productivity and an enhanced service for attendees made for a great experience…but, that’s not all.

Video cameras help keep passengers around the world safer and more connected and Cisco Live was no exception.  Each connected bus had an on-board Cisco HD IP video camera which sent a live feed to a monitor in the Cisco IoT Pavilion.

More than 50 touchscreen kiosks helped attendees in the convention center track important event information along with the bus schedule and route information.

Beyond keeping attendees connected, there was a lot going on under the hood…literally.   The Cisco 819 Integrated Services Router (ISR) did more than just provide passenger Wi-Fi. It enabled high speed voice, video and data communication 24/7 …everywhere!  The vibrations of a moving bus, a few spilled beverages, Florida’s high humidity and hot summer temps posed no challenge for the ruggedized 819 ISR that delivers Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications in even the harshest conditions.

Back in the Cisco Connected Transportation booth, a monitor showed live GPS tracking of every bus in the fleet and visually tracked all buses and their location on a color coded interactive map.  On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) monitoring captured real-time vehicle telematics such as speed, tire pressure, RPM, engine temperature and fuel efficiency. This data was sent to the 819 ISR which transmitted the information to Davra Networks’ RuBan Suite for visual representation.

Wei Zou and Andy Manuel demonstrate Cisco's Connected Fleet Management solution at Cisco Live.

Wei Zou and Andy Manuel demonstrate Cisco’s Connected Fleet Management solution at Cisco Live.

Cisco Connected Fleet Management demo with video feed and Davra's RuBan software showing GPS location of Cisco Live connected buses and telematics info.

Cisco Connected Fleet demo with video feed from buses (left screen) and Davra RuBan software showing GPS location of Cisco Live connected buses and telematics data (right screen).

Additionally, areas around schools, playgrounds and other locations with reduced speed limits can be identified as “safety” areas using geofencing to send warnings or alerts or even take automatic action when a warning is triggered. Managers can be notified immediately when accidents occur or speed thresholds are exceeded.  On-board digital signs can display specific messages based on GPS location. The possibilities are nearly endless

The robust solution increases safety and fuel efficiency, reduces operating costs and enhances the passenger experience while helping transit operators comply with industry regulations and government mandates.  Cisco’s Connected Fleet Management solution is bringing the IoT to life!

Wishing all of you in the U.S. a safe and happy 4th of July!

Check out these great videos:

For more info on Cisco Connected Fleet Management visit: http://cs.co/9002ZHo2

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