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IT Is from Venus, OT Is from Mars

Bringing Alien Worlds Together in the Internet of Things

In the 1990s, I, like millions of others, read the book Women Are from Venus, Men Are from Mars. This best-seller suggested that the frequent misunderstandings between genders make it seem as though men and women are from different, alien worlds. But it’s not just men and women who appear to be from different planets. Today, every organization that has begun an Internet of Things (IoT) deployment is bumping up against a fundamental disconnect between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). In many cases, these two groups are alien to one another—with separate technology stacks, network architectures, protocols, standards, governance models, and organizations.

In the first wave of the Internet, data and technology systems fell solidly in the realm of IT. IT systems focused on the flow of data across an organization, and with a few exceptions, did not get involved in production and logistics environments.

However, in many companies, a parallel organization—commonly called operational technology —has grown up to monitor and control devices and processes that act in real time on physical operational systems, such as assembly lines, electricity distribution networks, oil production facilities, and a host of others. Read More »

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Automation Fair 2013 – Final Thoughts from Houston

As Automation Fair was wrapping up yesterday, all of my Cisco colleagues were expressing gratitude to our hosts at Rockwell Automation. We want to congratulate our partners at Rockwell Automation for once again, putting on a very successful user conference. Our partnership has evolved into a truly collaborative and demonstrably successful model for joint product and solution developments, go-to-market effectiveness, industry and thought leadership, all aimed at the same goal: our mutual customers’ success.

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Automation Fair 2013: Industrial IP Advantage

As I blog today from the show floor at Automation Fair in the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, the second day of one of the largest industrial automation events is underway. We have had a lot of traffic and interest in the Industrial IP Advantage booth (#1223).

In fact, many booth visitors are asking us, “I get OT (or the reverse, ‘I get IT’)- how can we work together?”  As my Cisco colleague Dave Cronberger mentions in the video below, the relationship has now evolved and certainly both sides see the merit of working together.    Our Industrial IP Advantage community can certainly add to the conversation and give guidance on next steps in getting the most out of IT/OT convergence in order to move towards an IP-centric industrial network.

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Day 1 Wrap-up from Automation Fair

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Cisco has a significant presence at Automation Fair  in Houston this week.  This event is not only the largest gathering of Rockwell Automation users, it is also one of the most well-attended conferences for controls and industrial automation. Cisco-auto-fairThe day was busy both in the exhibit floor and throughout the sessions, industry forums and demonstration areas.

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First Day of Automation Fair 2013

Well, the first day of Automation Fair 2013, Rockwell Automation’s (RA) largest user conference, is almost a wrap.  The George Brown Convention Center in Houston was the setting for today’s very busy activities- at the exhibition floor, packed sessions, hand-on demonstrations and industry workshops.

As my colleagues Peter Granger and Paul Didier describe in the video below, Cisco has now evolved to having a very pervasive presence at this event.  From our own booth (#1321) to presence in the Rockwell Automation Oil and Gas booth to the Industrial IP Advantage booth (#1223), our products and solutions are highlighted throughout the show floor and in several sessions.  It is particularly nice to know that we have evolved from showcasing from just a few products to having over 200 switches, routers and other industrial networking gear at the show floor.  And our partnership with RA has evolved and grown significantly too. There were only a handful of Cisco attendees at our first Automation Fair.  Now there are several dozen Cisco employees onsite in Houston, including key executives.

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