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Preparing Your Business for Growth

These 5 building blocks will help ensure your network supports your business today and in the future.

If you’re just beginning to build your network for a fledgling small business or you’re expanding the network of a more established smaller company, you should plan your network with an eye toward preparing your business for growth. Your network should be a secure, reliable foundation; one that’s flexible and can adapt to the changing needs of your business as well as give you a competitive edge.

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Energy Optimization for Manufacturing

Last week at the ODVA Annual Conference--as part of ODVA’s announcement of a new energy initiative and white paper--Cisco’s Bryce Barnes roused a packed-house audience representing ODVA’s ~200 industrial and automation suppliers with a compelling speech on the immediate need for Optimization of Energy Usage (OEU™) in the Production domain. Energy consumption statistics for the industrial sector are staggering, most estimates suggesting half of the world’s total delivered energy, and that amount is projected to increase by 40% over the next 25 years.  For Manufacturers, energy typically constitutes the first or second highest portion of product variable costs, and most manufacturing companies now report as part of their governance a sustainability strategy that is core to their overall business strategy.  Furthermore, volatility of energy markets--closely linked to the stability of governments, international relations and policies--raises the risk profile for continuity of supply, production and satisfaction of customers.  Optimizing energy consumption, minimizing energy costs and mitigating energy risks are clearly top of mind business imperatives for the Manufacturing CEO.

Mark Wylie discusses the importance of energy optimization to sustainable manufacturing operations.  Check out Mark’s December blog on factory energy management.

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Automation: Custom Automation the New Craftsmanship?

This year for Christmas my wife gave me the wonderful gift of membership to our local gym, and in addition,  a discounted gift pack of 8 personal trainer sessions.  My first reaction was to be offended by the gesture until I gazed at the sincerity on her face and the “keg” below my chest. So, instead of wallowing in self pity. I proceeded to pull out and dust off my 1998 Brooks track shoes, my knee high athletic socks and my 2000 Los Angeles Laker’s Championship head band, and proceeded to walk out the door on my quest for a new and improved six pack.

How does this story relate to manufacturing? Well let me explain.

I did not make it out the door before my teenage daughter glanced at me, chuckled and stated, “Dad. Where are you going with that outfit? And where did you get those shoes!!!”, “You need some new “stompers” (translation for the tweet challenged generation…new shows. Oh and I needed the translation.) She directed me to the NikeID website to find some new “stompers”

Nike -- Custom Solution

Global manufacturing stalwarts like Nike and Harley Davidson are re-engineering their plants to address the growing trend of custom “productization.”   Where customers can personalize and customize their product with unique detail and style. Customers end up paying a little more for  this service, but in many instances it turns out to be more reasonable than exclusive branding.  Is Custom Automation the new craftsmanship of the 21st century?  If so, what is required to implement this new paradigm into a viable business and operational reality -- a sort of Industrial Intelligence? Read More »

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From Rust to Gold: The Olympics Makes East London the Ultimate Winner

The Olympic torch hasn’t been carried into the Opening Ceremonies yet – it’s still a year and a half away before the Summer Games consume London – but there is a crescendo of energy that is already palpable as you tour the main site where the competition will play out.

East London, a community that has longed for rejuvenation, is finally getting it. At Cisco Live! Europe, held a few days ago in London, we had a chance to tour the expansive construction site that is fast becoming the heart of the 2012 Summer Olympics. If the pictures below are spotty, apologies. It’s the best I could do with a smartphone camera and a tour bus rocking gently over gravel and muddy roads. But quality aside, you will be able to see that the arenas and main stadium are taking shape. The architecture is distinct and contemporary. The athletes’ village is modern and amenable. The construction is ingenious and environmentally friendly. For example, the basketball arena can actually be folded up and transported to another location. Hundreds of thousands of local newts were carefully relocated to a temporary environment prior to digging.

With all the care that is being taken, Cisco is making sure it does its part. Cisco is the official network infrastructure partner of the London 2012 Games.

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What’s the Power of the Network?

What do people think of when you say The Network or Networking Technology? What do YOU think? The latter is at the heart of the question we were looking to answer when we created a video from the floor of the 2011 International Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. With the help of few industry leaders, musicians and, of course, your everyday talking, walking robot, we gathered some insightful and diverse answers. Then we put the question to our Cisco Facebook community as well as the Networking Academy Facebook crowd. The answers lead us to crown Cisco’s Facebook SuperFan of the month, William Westman Malmi from Umeå, Sweden.

“In one word: Synergy. The power of many is always greater than the power of one, exponentially.”
William Westman Malmi, on The Power of the Network”

What we learned from the wealth of responses…and what we are still learning as we hope to hear from YOU in this blog post…is that the definition and the relevance of the network varies considerably from person to person, depending on perspective. But, regardless of how it is defined, whether it be a social definition or more technical in focus, one thing is certain, everyone has an answer to this question. And, that alone reflects the true Power of the Network.

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