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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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Innovation: The Cisco and Librestream Video Collaboration Solution

March 2, 2011 at 11:08 am PST

I’m really excited by this new Cisco and Librestream MMVC solution. Lots of information out on the web, and lots of questions so I thought I’d put a brief video together to give you an introduction and to see if we can get a discussion going and also to see if we can answer some of the questions for you. The video starts talking about what really matters. What are the pain-points that manufacturers and industry have today? How do they get hold of the right people to fix things if something goes wrong, and how can they say ‘I see what you mean now’ -- and really mean it?

All this matters because keeping things running matters. Being able to communicate effectively in real time using video, speech and pictures -- globally, if need be -- matters. Knowing what’s going on and having clearer visibility matters. Working out what to do next, whether it’s developing a new product or fixing an operational problem fast, matters a lot.

I was fortunate to catch up with Librestream’s Vice President of Marketing and Client Services, Marieke Wijtkamp, and let her answer some of your questions. You’ll see what Marieke has to say and find out more about the solution in a moment… 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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5 Tips for Community Managers on Surviving the Holidays

Recently Mashable posted an article on 5 common ‘Community Killers’. Since December marks the season of giving, here are 5 Tips for Community Managers on how to survive the holiday season.

1.       Be prepared for the holidays! While this typically means running out to get extra gifts for unexpected guests, for community managers, you can prepare for the holidays by understanding there will be a drop in participation. With in-laws visiting, holiday door busters and an overwhelming rush to deck the halls, your members have their hands full. Acknowledge this busy season and don’t be disappointed if your dialogue isn’t so lively.

2.       Silent Night(s). Community members will most likely be juggling holiday parties, school plays, and vacation days during this busy time. Make sure everyone is on the same page and set some ‘quiet hours’. Alleviate some holidays stress  and let them know it’s okay to be offline.

3.       Deck the Halls. While members are preoccupied with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, use this time to review your community.  Have members been asking for new enhancements? Explore your space and, if you need an update, get it in while members are dreaming of sugar plums dancing in their heads (Hopefully you can do this during #2’s silent night).

Read More »

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