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RFID: Context Aware and Location – a Brief History & Introduction

March 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm PST

My distant relative - Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger (Royal Air Force) and his DH82A Gipsy Moth - did the forerunner of RFID save him from being shot down?

Some of the best technological advances are made during times of conflict. Sad that it should be so, but the silver lining is that many of the advances are focused on defending, protecting and shielding people. Active RFID, the kind of solution provided by Cisco and AeroScout, in many ways started out that way.

Looking back decades to WWII, radar was already being developed in ernest by the British in the run-up to the second world war. Many countries were developing radar at that time, but most folks agree that Robert Watson Watt, later Sir Robert, was the prime mover-and-shaker.  It took US marketing (in the form of the US Navy) to coin the term RADAR, for radio detection and ranging.

So where does Context Aware Location RFID come in? Well, whilst radar itself was useful, the  British needed to know whether those planes coming over the English Channel were returning Spitfires and allied bombers, or attacking Luftwaffe aircraft. It was the same Watson-Watt that helped produce the ‘Identification friend or foe’ (IFF) system that  used a transponder on the allied aircraft that was ‘excited’ by the radar system and actively sent back a signal to the base saying friend. My own cousin, Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger, Officer Trainer RAF, was grateful for that!

Now fast forward decades to today. The technology for today’s RFID is a little different, but the concept is the same. So let’s keep the aeronautical theme going and talk about Boeing and its use of RFID.      Read More »

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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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Cisco Industrial Intelligence liberates the Factory

Introducing Cisco Industrial Intelligence.  Neither James Bond gone corporate nor Cisco gone espionage, Industrial Intelligence is the enabling of business enterprises and municipalities to more intelligently and responsively manage industrial operations globally, and it’s one of Cisco’s latest adjacencies as part of the Borderless Networks solutions portfolio.  Having IP-data and control flows converged with voice, video and virtualization creates a more intelligent platform for innovations that connect devices to measure, monitor, and manage resources for greater efficiencies, to connect people in less time and space, and to connect ideas that generate solutions to today’s industrial, operational and environmental challenges.

Chet Namboodri talks about how the Cisco Industrial Intelligence solution can help to improve operational efficiency, safety, agility, and use of assets.

Read More »

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How do I keep iPads off of my factory floor?

This question was posed by the Manufacturing IT Director for a major Pharma producer, as part of an annual customer advisory board hosted jointly by Cisco and Rockwell Automation. One answer:  Good luck! …And why would you want to?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diHUhLh5VH4

Chet Namboodri talks about how consumer products are entering production and maintenance workflows and how “Rockwell and Cisco are in the forefront of enabling those solutions” during a recent customer innovation council session.

The migration of technology and applications from Consumer to Business to Industrial has become a well worn path, and the use of Smart Phones, Tablets, Mobile Video and other Operator Interfaces powering work flows and industrial intelligence has become a mainstay for Manufacturers.  Read More »

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