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Manufacturing a Successful Cloud Strategy

I just finished an interview on the topic of “Cloud in Manufacturing” with a German machine-building and factory automation magazine. The interview ran an hour longer than scheduled—an indication of the publication’s interest, as well as its lingering doubts about whether cloud services truly can benefit “real manufacturing.”

We discussed an abundance of cloud-related ideas – most pertaining to obvious areas such as web presence in marketing, after-sales application hosting to make field engineers more productive, and collaboration as a service to enable partners and suppliers to work together more effectively on large projects.

The uncharted cloud territory, however, is the area that manufacturers see their “core”: the physical making of things. Can cloud play a role in supply chain management (yes, it can)? Will there be a cloud service for motion control (due to latency and determinism considerations, not yet) and for asset management and MIS applications (yes)? Read More »

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Hey, it was a joke. No need for handcuffs.

Last week it was reported in the media that two British tourists were detained at Los Angeles International Airport due to the threatening tone of messages on Twitter (“tweets”), as one of the two travelers had said that they were going to “destroy America” on their holiday. It turns out that either the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) noticed those tweets through their efforts to monitor social media, or, as has been suggested more recently, someone explicitly reported the tweets to DHS as a prank. The legal ramifications of this event are worthy of examination when we consider that this event contains elements of language (slang), location (whose laws apply based on where the alleged events took place), and intent — particularly if the prank allegation turns out to be true. Read More »

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The Future of Work-Life Innovation: The Role of Networked Technologies

A number of forces are changing how we work, live, and innovate: pervasive technologies, distributed ways of working, “space rather than place” as a work ethos, new methods and modes of work, access to shared services, open versus closed innovation, a new generation of workers, environmental concerns, and macro socioeconomic shifts.

Given a choice, people will demand freedom to work, live, and innovate in ways that meet their individual lifestyles, unfettered by place. Meanwhile, pressures to reduce costs and seek new approaches to innovation are causing many private and public organizations to rethink how work gets done. Read More »

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Impact of Bringing Your Own Devices for Work and the Network

Recently Jon Stine with Cisco IBSG wrote in the Cisco Retail blog an article titled “In Between the Numbers: Bring Your Own Device Do we know what that means?” where he talked about the changes that the BYOD concept brings to the change in the culture of employees leveraging technology to get their job done, and how it not just impacts the end point technology but all the network and information technology infrastructure.

I recently went to New York  for the National Retail Federation Conference and I took a picture of all the devices (excluding my laptop) that I carried with me for use at the hotel, in the booth, and while I was at 30,000 ft.

Cius, iPad, iPhone

As I think back about working with multiple devices (both issued to me and owned by me) during the week, here are some areas that impacted IT.

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Protect Mobile Devices, Protect Your Network

Reduce the risk of compromised company data by securing users’ smartphones

Once upon a time, a mobile phone was just a phone—you made and received calls on it, and that’s all. It posed zero risk to the security of your network or your business. Now, a mobile phone is so much more than just a phone. It’s a personal assistant, a portable game player, a digital camera, and most importantly, a full-fledged computer—and these smartphones definitely pose a security risk. Just like a laptop, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices can connect to your network, which means they could compromise your company’s data or leave your network vulnerable to attack from a hacker. You wouldn’t leave employees’ laptops unsecured, so why would you take chances with their mobile devices?

For the most part, the same security measures you ascribe to the computers on your network in the office should also be applied to mobile devices that have access to your LAN. Just like desktop PCs and laptops, all mobile devices need software protection to guard against malware and other attacks. Smartphones and tablets should have a firewall as well as antispam and antivirus software installed, such as the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Solution and Norton Smartphone Security offering.

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