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Analytics: Building a Winning Strategy in Manufacturing

Machinery, supply chains, and raw materials have always been core concerns in manufacturing. Today, another asset is just as critical — data.

General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt said it well: “The industrial world is changing dramatically, and those companies that make the best use of data will be the most successful.”

I certainly agree. If manufacturers want to gain the agility, innovation, and hyper-awareness needed to compete and win, they must start thinking like technology companies. That means leveraging data — and the real-time insights derived through analytics — in impactful new ways.

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As Manufacturers Go Digital, Customer Value Expands

Every single day, I’m reminded that a digital revolution is taking place—from researching local coffee places on the dashboard of my car to ordering coffee on my mobile device—it’s clear that our lives are becoming more digitized. This is also apparent for the businesses and industries that manufacture the goods that we use everyday. In order to compete today, manufacturers must respond to complex and constantly changing demands from their customers. That requires the agility, rapid innovation, and fast execution that only digital manufacturing can deliver. Too many manufacturers, however, still lack these critical capabilities and suffer from fragmented and siloed organizational structures.

This was reinforced by new research from Cisco on the current and future state of digital disruption in manufacturing. The study included economic analysis, interviews with manufacturing industry thought leaders, and a survey of more than 600 senior leaders from 13 countries, representing both industrial machine builders and end-user manufacturers.

Our research confirmed that manufacturers get it. They understand that a digital revolution is taking place, and they want to be part of it. Seventy-nine percent believe that digital disruption will drive a moderate to major impact at their companies in the next three years. Moreover, they see digital technologies such as cloud, IoT, and analytics as having the biggest impact on their production — not more manufacturing-centric technologies such as robotics and 3D printing.

However, in terms of driving new value, many are faltering. Their service strategies, for example, are seen as a key opportunity for new revenue, but they are not driving expected levels of growth.

Digital business transformation is the solution, but it can’t be done in a piecemeal fashion; it must be implemented across the entire organization and beyond, throughout the ecosystem. Analytics, cloud, machine-to-machine connections, and collaboration tools all enable new opportunities for sharing data insights. Getting those insights to the people (or machines) who need them most, on the other hand, can be challenging. In this context, silos — between IT and operational technology (OT), engineering and design, and so forth — are the enemy to progress.

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Cisco’s Chief Futurist Shares Top 5 Predictions for 2013 and Beyond #IoE

The future intrigues us all, especially when every now and then we’re able to catch a glimpse of what’s to come.

At Cisco, one of the ways we build our business and serve our customers is to think about the future and how technology innovation stands to transform the world in which we live. This approach is especially important now as the more than 99 percent of physical objects that are currently unconnected become part of the Internet of Everything (IoE).

And while we know that no one person or company can predict the future with 100 percent accuracy, we put a lot of effort into coming as close as we can. To make this possible, we have a Chief Futurist on staff – Dave Evans – who, in addition to his responsibilities leading the Cisco IBSG Innovations team, spends his time helping Cisco and our customers see what lies ahead.

In an event earlier this month, Evans and the General Manager of Cisco’s Emerging Technology Group, Dr. Guido Jouret, shared their top predictions for the future and the mind-boggling innovations that will start taking off in 2013 and beyond. If you’re up for a little crystal-ball gazing, here’s what they had to say… Read More »

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Tracking Assets: RFID Meets Industrial Wi-Fi – Industrial Ethernet Book Part 1

I had the pleasure of meeting up with both Leo Ploner, Publishing Director, Industrial Ethernet Book (IEB) and Tom McNulty from the Chicago, US office recently here in Silicon Valley recently. I was pleased to see that Cisco had contributed to an article in the 65 / 35 Issue of the Industrial Ethernet Book around the topic of RFID and industrial WiFi – a topic close to my own heart in terms of previous blogs of mine (Intro to RFID, Continental Tire, Boeing, and John Deere).

The first Industrial Ethernet Book was published in 1999.  Since then it become an excellent  information source for industrial networking and communication technology, and aims to provide unbiased editorial views focused on both process and discrete manufacturing industries. The editorial content is aimed at end users, system integrators and vendors within factory automation and process automation.

The article starts with the recognition that “Increasingly ‘smart’ devices, which include radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and sensors that have advanced diagnostics, are contributing to the billions of devices now connected to IP networks. This proliferation of smart devices is referred to by some as the ‘Internet of Things’, and it is projected to grow to trillions of devices that will be connected using the emerging IPv6 protocol (ref1). For manufacturers, a growing number of connected smart devices promises to revolutionise portability, mobility, context-aware condition and use of critical assets.” Read More »

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Cisco & Intermec Simply Scan-To-Connect in about 4 minutes!

We often talk about business issues, customer care-abouts, productivity savings and the like on this channel, and sometimes philanthropy or esoterics, but mostly if you’re an engineer you have to deal with the technology, the installation, the support, and all the other stuff in terms of where the-rubber-hits-the-road.

In this video Hank Stephens, Product Manager at Cisco Preferred Solution Partner Intermec, talks about how easy it is to put Cisco and Intermec into the warehouse.

When we post videos, we know people lose interest if they’re more than five minutes, so I’m glad it takes less than that to connect the gear up. A couple of cheats help of course – like switching the radios on in the Cisco gear (they are shipped switched off for security reasons), and it helps to have a pre-charged battery available for the Intermec CK3. But then the video wouldn’t have made it onto the channel! We have quite a few customers with this kind of Warehouse technology.

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