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Get Ahead of the Curve in 2015: Invest in IoT

As the holiday season gets into full swing, executives like you are polishing off strategic and operational plans for the New Year. For many manufacturing companies, 2014 was a good year, for some outstanding, and most manufacturers are optimistic for more of the same in 2015. According to MAPI’s US Industrial Outlook, “manufacturing will continue to grow faster than the overall economy,” with 2015 growing at a higher rate than 2014.

Because manufacturers are looking to get ahead of this growth curve and set the stage for competitive differentiation and advantage in 2015, you are utilizing budgets remaining from 2014 to make smart investments now in new technologies, before the year comes to a close. With strategic investments in operations or R&D/engineering, companies position themselves to be more agile, productive and competitive while the economy slowly but surely continues to strengthen. In an Industry Week report, “Manufacturers are optimistic about their businesses as well as the economy as a whole, and are investing accordingly … Following a profitable growth strategy, they are controlling costs while introducing new products, increasing sales from existing customers, and leveraging data to make smarter business decisions.”

In recent conversations with a few of my Cisco colleagues who happen to be 20+yr Manufacturing / OT (Operations Technology) veterans, these industry gurus describe how they counsel manufacturing clients during the transitional holiday season. Steve Gansen points out that for many companies, budgets need to be expended this calendar year-end (‘use it or lose it’), which presents a great opportunity to change the prioritization for projects. “Many of my customers see this as an opportunity to reprioritize projects and drive budget to improve R&D or product engineering and offerings.” (His comments reminded me of the Sub-Zero’s innovative investments in their product development, NPI and processes.)

Jim Fledderjohn and Dwayne Edwards add that there are other considerations for a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) proof-of-concept (PoC) projects for production environments and engineering programs that present incremental, re-directional opportunities at year-end. From video surveillance to energy management, to factory wireless and plant virtualization, there are many compelling use cases that can be easily ‘piloted’ to deliver immediate business outcomes and measurable ROI. In fact, an option recently announced at Automation Fair is Cisco Services Factory Starter Kit, a fast-track, turnkey PoC package of wireless capabilities for your plant environments.

Jim further describes, “Piloting an IoT project on a small scale lets manufacturers test out a concept in their environment and puts them in a better position to win budget and additional investment in 2015.” Particularly in the US—where according to the latest ISM Report On Business for November, the manufacturing sector expanded for the 18th consecutive month—momentum in the industry just keeps building. And considering manufacturing technologies that include embedded intelligence and IoT, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), orders for 2014 are showing growth of >5%.

Are YOU planning end-of-the-year investments in IoT? Let us know what you think in the comment block below. Thanks for reading.

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The Internet of Things Accelerates Innovation and Value Creation for Manufacturers

I wasn’t around during the Industrial Revolution, but I can’t help but think that today is an even more interesting time to be in manufacturing. I’m happy to be participating this week in the annual Rockwell Automation Fair, where it seems we can see the Internet of Things (IoT) evolving in real time.

Perhaps no other industry is being disrupted by technology more than manufacturing. As manufacturers digitize their businesses, operational complexity increases and competitive pressure builds—driving the need for faster innovation, quicker time to market, and more efficient processes. Those who can’t keep up are left behind. Read More »

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Now’s the Time to Deploy Wireless in the Factory

tony shakib connected factory banner pic

Since manufacturers around the globe constantly have to adapt to ever shifting market conditions, any technology that lends a competitive advantage can be a game changer. Implementing wireless on the factory floor can be just that. And our announcement with Rockwell Automation this week at Automation Fair, will make this a no-brainer. The announcement covered enhancements to our joint architecture with Rockwell Automation called the Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE). The Cisco branded version, called Connected Factory, is a portfolio of validated, proven architectures, capabilities and market-leading technologies and services for industrial markets. Factory Wireless is the latest solution offering in this portfolio and delivers unified wireless for industrial applications. Read More »

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From Local to Global: Extending Our IoE Innovation Strategy with openBerlin and TTTech

mfg Blog 110714There are people all over the world doing truly innovative acts to move the technology needle, but without proper support, many of these ideas fail to come to true fruition. We at Cisco are committed to doing our part by guiding these creators towards a path of success. With both internal and external programs to feed innovation – including the Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation Grand Challenge and the Technology Fund – we aim to nurture disruptive ideas.

In this light, we were pleased to announce in September the establishment of an IoE Innovation Center in Berlin, Germany – openBerlin. Scheduled to open the summer of 2015, openBerlin will focus on the rapid prototyping of solutions in the transportation and manufacturing verticals. openBerlin marks the sixth Innovation Center in Cisco’s portfolio and joins its successors in Rio, Brazil; Toronto, Canada; Songdo, South Korea; Barcelona, Spain; and London, UK. Read More »

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Internet of Everything (IoE) – The Key to the Next Leap Toward Frictionless Business

Fighting “Friction” in the Check-Out Line and Beyond

You pull up to the gas pump, wait in a long line, and then fumble with your debit card and the touchscreen. Once at your hotel, you search mightily to find a parking spot before struggling with the ticket payment system. And then comes check-in, which entails more waiting in line at the front desk to get the key, before discovering that the key doesn’t work.  When you finally get in the room, it’s set way hotter than your preference.

OK, none of these experiences are major hardships, let alone life threatening. But taken together, along with so many other time-wasting aggravations — or business friction — they do take a toll: on energy bills, productivity, and nervous systems!

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