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On The Edge: Think Different About I.T. for Remote Sites

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Like so many millions of people around the world this week, the passing of Steve Jobs and Apple’s call to “Think Different” has us doing exactly that. His ideas improved the world in innumerable ways, and the best way we can honor his brilliance is to build on it in ways that even Steve might not have imagined.

Each of us in the I.T. world has huge potential to improve the day-to-day existence of our co-workers, partners, and customers, if we just take a few minutes to think differently and approach our traditional challenges with a new mind set. Here are just a few ideas on we might invest in our future together. I’d love to hear yours.

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The Anywhere Office

October 7, 2011 at 6:00 am PST

Long commutes and being in an office at a certain time with limited flexibility is gradually becoming a thing of the past. The future will see an increase in workplace mobility creating the “anywhere office,” a place where employees can work anytime from anywhere.

Which global region will lead the way in mobility by 2013? Click on our interactive infographic to find out.

In terms of sheer mass, the Asia-Pacific region will have the largest amount of mobile workers, topping out over 700 million people and making up for 62% of all the world’s mobile workers. In regards of being the leader in mobile penetration, the US will lead the world with Japan in tow with roughly three-fourths of all employees having workplace mobility options.

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John Deere avoids cost with Cisco Wireless Architecture

September 29, 2011 at 11:40 am PST

Maybe you’ve seen the recent article in RFID Journal: John Deere Planter Factory Gains Efficiency.

John Deere, working with integration and technology partners Prime Technologies (now Kubica) and AeroScout, used the existing Cisco Wi-Fi networking nodes that it had already installed throughout the facility to avoid the expense of installing RFID readers for a new manufacturing solution.

John Deere MaxEmergeXP

Here’s the story: John Deere’s  Seeding Group factory in Moline, Ill. was seeking an automated solution to improve on its manual work in process manufacturing system.  It wanted to increase efficiency in the way it replenished welding material as well as improve the way it carried out processes at its assembly stations at the plant. The factory in question assembles John Deere’s  row-crop planter machines -- the MaxEmerge XP range -  that are used by farmers to deposit a variety of seed in soils and seedbeds.

The new system uses a wireless back-haul to a Cisco infrastructure that enables the SAP, reporting and programmable logic controller (PLC) systems to communicate live.  It’s intended to improve material replenishment and reduce delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.  It allows the equipment manufacturer’s kitting staff to boost material replenishment speed, and allows assembly workers to prepare for specific equipment as it approaches their assembly stations. The RFID Journal Story goes into excellent detail on the wip process and the process improvement, but I did want to reiterate some of the key business metrics:

“Our goal was to improve Takt time *,” says Shay O’Neal, John Deere Seeding Group’s project manager, who expects the reduction to increase from what he estimates may be about 5 percent improvement in Takt time thus far. He reckons there has been a 40 percent reduction in cycle time because of the improvement in replenishment. He has also seen a decrease in overtime work undertaken by kitting staff at the welding station. “I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the system met our needs,” O’Neal said in the RFID Journal article.

  • John Deere has seen a 40 percent increase in efficiency in welding due to improvements in material replenishment and fewer delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.
  • On the assembly line, the system provides a view into the work in process (WIP), which thus far has reduced the cycle time (Takt) it takes to assemble a single product by about 5 percent.
  • Since existing Cisco Wi-Fi nodes read the RFID tag of each seeder as it passes from one assembly station to another, indicating where it has been and what its next assembly location will be, John Deere avoided the expense of installing RFID readers.

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Business Video Is Already Mainstream in the Enterprise

Enterprise video is experiencing tremendous change in terms of adoption, traffic growth, business model evolution, and technology innovation.

We recently undertook an extensive study to uncover key insights about the use of business video in U.S. enterprises. The survey is part of the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group’s Horizons program, which combines multimodal research and analysis to identify business transformation opportunities fueled by technology innovation.

Since the purpose of this study was to understand how the use of video is evolving in the enterprise, we chose to seek insight from executives at enterprises with at least 1,000 employees, from across the United States.  For this study, we recruited more than 450 enterprises from more than 20 industries across the United States, including both Cisco customers and non-Cisco customers.

Because we wanted to understand both end-user and IT perspectives on business video, participants included both business executives (i.e., from non-IT functions such as sales, marketing, finance, and engineering), and IT executives.

Our research uncovered several key findings:

#1: Business Video is already widespread throughout the enterprise.

  • We discovered that business video is already well entrenched in the enterprise. More than three out of four business executives said they use either one-way video or two-way video—or both—at least once a week.
  • This trend is growing: more than 70 percent of respondents said they will increase their use of business video in the next two years.

#2: A majority of executives are active in both recording videos and viewing employee-created videos, and they plan to do more of both.

  • More than 70 percent of corporate executives expect their use of one-way and two-way video to grow over the next two years. Currently, 34 percent of business executives record business videos on a daily basis, and 62 percent of business executives watch employee-created videos at least once a week. Read More »

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Boeing Delivers First 787 Dreamliner. Cisco Delivers Solutions to Boeing. Congratulations Both!

September 26, 2011 at 5:56 pm PST

Congratulations to Boeing on shipping it’s first 787 Dreamliner to ANA (All Nippon Airways). The world has been waiting and US Manufacturing has delivered. But it’s not just US Manufacturing -- suppliers as far away as Australia, Italy, Japan and Russia, to name but a few countries have been working with Boeing Engineers to bring the airplane to market -- and using Cisco or Cisco Partner technologies to do so!

The video, courtesy Associated Press’ YouTube Channel, shows the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner Airplane being handed over by Jim Albaugh, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, to ANA’s President and CEO - with a large key!

Jim does talk about the delays -- but it was such a vast undertaking -- and in the ‘old days’ it would have taken a lot longer! There are plenty of Manufacturing improvements that have taken place over the decades that have helped speed things up. Here are three Cisco Solution areas where Cisco and its partners made a difference: Cisco WebEx, Cisco MMVC (Manufacturing Mobile Video Collaboration) Solution, and Cisco Context aware, many using Cisco Unified Industrial Architectures. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 for any manufacturer who wants to know the secrets. Here’s how, and with customer comments to boot

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