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Manufacturing in America – Turning the Corner

April 9, 2014 at 9:51 am PST

What does manufacturing mean to America? While there may be no quantitative right answer to that question, in my opinion, manufacturing is the creation of new jobs, the empowering of individuals, and teamwork that helps make dreams a reality. Manufacturing has long been wrongly perceived as a dirt and grime industry that lacks the appeal necessary to build and grow a strongly educated workforce, vital to our nation’s industrial and economic growth.

Recently, I watched a video released by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) titled, “What Manufacturing Means to America.” The video addresses the current state of the manufacturing industry and provides fresh insight into utilizing the skill and talent of America’s workforce. It shows that with the right education and skills, manufacturing can be the key to a better future and making dreams come true. Read More »

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The Internet of Things and the Future of Business

As SAP says, the trends reshaping your world will ultimately transform the way you do business.  Today, Cisco and SAP join together to deliver their visions for the Internet of Things (IoT) at SAP’s signature conference in New York:  Conversations on the Future of Business.  Bryce Barnes, Solution Leader, Internet of Things, Cisco, and Patrick Maroney, Principle, Industry Solutions Group, SAP, lead a session on How the Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting the Future of Business.

Bryce will explore the significance and impact of how connecting everything from machines in factories, to cars to sensors inside our bodies will change our lives, and drive new and exciting business models.  He will explore the relationship between connectivity, big data, and analytics and highlight IoT examples that point to the future of business from manufacturing to Life Sciences, retail, mining, touching every aspect of how we design, make, and deliver products.

Value at stake: enormous.  A top area of opportunity for manufacturers is to move toward a connected factory—an intelligent, networked plant environment that enables smart manufacturing. Read More »

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From the Mine Shaft to the Store Shelf — an IoE Revolution in Manufacturing

Since Henry Ford, the alchemy of turning raw materials into mass-produced products has been complicated and challenging. At best, it has been a delicate and precarious balancing act; at worst, something akin to herding cats.

The trick has always been to align ever-shifting patterns of customer demand with far-flung ecosystems of miners, designers, suppliers, engineers, factory workers, truck drivers, sellers, and so forth. Yet the process of orchestrating such intricate value chains has often been based on art (hunches) more than science (data).

Today, however, the Internet of Everything (IoE) — the ongoing explosion in networked connectivity among people, process, data, and things — is transforming manufacturing in startling ways, just as it is changing so many other industries.

IoE delivers seamless, intelligent connections to every corner of the manufacturing value chain, optimizing the flow of products, information, and payments in real time.

The Cisco IoE Value Index study found that in 2013, manufacturing had the largest potential share of IoE Value at Stake, at $224 billion. Yet, it was poised to realize only 46 percent of that potential bottom-line value.  The key to closing that gap lies in much-improved machine-to-machine and machine-to-people connections, resulting in smart factories, smart grids, and connected supply chains, among many other IoE-related innovations.

Read More »

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Attending The Automation Conference Should be an Automatic Decision

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Last week, I got a great response to a blog on ‘Making Smarter Manufacturing and IoT a Reality Today’, where I illustrated some use-case business scenarios and strategies to leverage the IoT industry trends now. One way savvy manufacturers, industrial companies and supply chain and operations teams stay current with evolving trends like IoT is to send their key players to industry educational and networking opportunities. One such opportunity to learn how to better leverage IoT for improved real-time decision support, amongst many other benefits, is coming up. The Automation Conference is a professional, educational event hosted by the editors of Automation World and Packaging World and is happening at the Chicago O’Hare Marriott from May 20th to 21st.

Cisco is proud to be one of the sponsors at this event, which is focused on delivering practical application advice and visionary insights for automation and control engineers, operations and engineering management, manufacturing systems/IT and networking professionals, as well as industrial systems engineers, machinery designers and software development professionals involved with discrete and process industries and production operations.  Many of these industry leaders are wrestling with not just how to leverage IoT, but also key manufacturing issues and opportunities around industrial cybersecurity in production operations, reducing costs, improving efficiences, building new business capabilities and revenue streams and addressing skills gaps.

I hope to see you in Chicago on May 21st.

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No matter how harsh is your work environment, Cisco has you covered

Cisco_IndustrialEthernetSwitches_2 27 14“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” – Popular US Postal Service motto

Many of my US colleagues have told me that they grew up hearing the phrase above and thinking how reliable their mail service is, even under the harshest conditions, they always got their mail. We in Cisco think that your network should be as reliable and resilient, and work under all conditions, particularly now when the Internet of Things (IoT) requires a level of resiliency at a scale never imagined before, and under conditions beyond what the traditional datacenter or wiring closet can offer.

These days, one of the challenges that the Internet of Things has to deal with is that it “…is already connecting the physical world today, but the real world, unlike the digital world, is much more uncertain and variable. We have to connect objects in unpredictable environments, often subject to Mother Nature or just the movement of our earth and its inhabitants…”

In fact Cisco defines the Internet of Things as “the intelligent connectivity of physical devices driving massive gains in efficiency, business growth and quality of life.”

In order to establish intelligent connectivity to physical devices, networking equipment have to be able to coexist in the same environmental in which the physical device are operating.

Very often, these physical devices are operating in harsh environments both from a temperature prospective (like in a smelting furnace or in a mining field located in Siberia), from a dustiness prospective (like in a cement production plant), from a vibrations prospective (like on a train or on a mining truck) etc.

To properly operate in these environments networking devices have to be specifically designed with highly ruggedized casing to protect the device’s internal components, and with specific connectors to avoid any possible water penetration or to get unplugged because of hard vibrations.

We’re excited to announce today an extension of our Industrial Ethernet portfolio adding a new series of IE2000 IP67 switches! Read More »

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