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#CiscoChat: Industrial Security: Critical for Digital Manufacturing?

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Manufacturing is undergoing radical advancements, much like the ones we’ve seen in healthcare and education, thanks to the Internet of Everything (IoE) and all of the people, data, processes and things it connects.

By 2020, it’s estimated that there will be 50 billion devices and objects connected to the Internet, including many of the devices in the manufacturing world. “Smart” factories where machines “talk” to one another, fleet vehicles such as trucks and forklifts with sensors that monitor their movements, and even wireless inventory tracking devices are all in play at manufacturers across the globe. Manufacturers are embracing a new generation of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Person-To-Machine (P2M) systems, as well as mobile applications and cloud-based services that drive efficiency and innovation across their value chain.

All of these connected “things” and processes allow manufacturers to Read More »

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Updating the Company that Updates the Home

whirlpool blog

As the world’s largest appliance maker, Whirlpool Corporation knows a thing or two about innovations. But the company recently looked at its factories’ mixed networking devices and realized that their backend infrastructure needed some innovating too. An unstable wireless network set-up was costing the company money, was difficult to troubleshoot and simply could not keep up with new technologies.

Whirlpool turned to Cisco and the appliance company’s service provider, Black Box Network Services, to come up with a plan to update their network architecture.

Beginning with five pilot sites—including one of Whirlpool’s largest plants—Cisco employed designs to modernize the network. The products included in the plans were:

  • Cisco Catalyst 3750X switch
  • Cisco Catalyst 2960X Series switches
  • Cisco FlexStack and StackWise cabling
  • Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point with Cisco CleanAir technology
  • Cisco 5500 Series wireless controller

Read More »

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Cisco Secure Ops demonstrated at Cisco Live 2015

As I mentioned in my last blog: “Cisco Live Hosts Enhanced Cisco Collaborative Operations Solution Demonstration“, Cisco Live excited many delegates this year, and one of the highlights was indeed the World of Solutions. I talked about how the industrial section of the ‘Cisco Campus’ not only showed off lots of new advances, but, for the first time, the small but important process industries (including Oil and Gas) booth opened up showing the services-based solutions Secure Ops and Collaborative Operations. Now let’s talk about Secure Ops.

In the video, I interview Cisco and Partner representatives to discuss the Secure Ops Solution from Cisco: What it is, what the business need is, and how Cisco is helping customers get better better business outcomes – especially when it comes to cybersecurity! Having the Secure Ops solution can increase availability of systems and critical infrastructure, reducing downtime in, for example, the oil and gas industry, or or any industry that relies on critical infrastructure such as process manufacturing, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals or other industrial automation environments.

Cisco Secure Ops delivers a standardized, comprehensive and integrated approach to security. It is supported by automation suppliers such as Yokogawa and Rockwell and technology providers such as McAfee and Symantec and provides a framework for a wide range of partners to participate. It’s currently installed at customers such as Royal Dutch Shell.

Rob Arlic of Cisco is joined by Galina Antova at Cisco Live. Rob talks about what Secure Ops is, how it helps provide not only cybersecurity protection, but also demonstrable regulation compliance. It therefore provide companies with higher availability and better Operational Excellence.

Galina talks about what’s new. Added capabilities include going deeper than just the IP network to gain more profound visibility into operations. Then gaining a view of what’s normal/abnormal in those other networks which can be assessed. Managing all that is key, and included.

Rob concludes by summing up: “It’s all about up-time and availability. If there are security vulnerabilities, (making sure) those are addressed proactively, proactively and preemptively”.

To learn more go to

And, as always, tell us what you think.

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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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Disrupt or Be Disrupted: Industrial Internet of Everything at Cisco Live

I just returned from Cisco Live and the vibe was incredible. We had over 25,000 customers attend this event and additional partners and Cisco employees that pretty much took over San Diego. I had the pleasure of spending most of my time in the Connected Factory Experience Manufacturing vignette, as part of the industry stories in the World of Solutions part of the conference. This was truly the biggest business area in a key vertical for Cisco. During this time frame, I was able to speak with about 200 customers and the resounding feedback was that we are spot on with IoT, IoE and Business Outcomes. We had demonstrations in the World of Solutions that revolved around industrial use cases including security and analytics.

In customer meetings, manufacturers were looking for guidance on where to start with the Internet of Everything and Industrial IoT. In fact, John Chambers’ farewell keynote which focused on the messages of ‘Disrupt your industry or be disrupted’ resonated well with attendees. There was a strong, consistent theme of change, disruption, connecting your company and connecting your world as well as how Cisco can help. I also felt more of a sense of urgency for network and IT managers and professionals to be more engaged with the lines of business. Everyone understands that being more creative, disruptive and closer to the business positions IT to be integral to meeting industrial imperatives.

We have been working with quite a few customers to start their IoT journey. Despite IoT being a relatively recent trend, we have been working with a very innovative food manufacturing company in the Midwest who is embarking on a new facility and wanted to build the “factory of the future” or “digital Factory” and fully embraced Cisco to help them down this journey. While it is a bit easier with a green field or brand new factory, there are still issues with identification and starting pilot projects. Read More »

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