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Summary: The Internet of Things: Why Now?

An excellent overview of some of the key topics that are top-of-mind for industry executives in both power utilities and oil and gas. Written by Maciej Kranz, Vice President, Corporate Technology Group, the blog covers many of the ‘essentials’ that are going to make the difference between success or failure for many companies in the future:

  • Business Relevance – how important is Line-of-Business (LoB)? What is Cisco doing to address the new buying centers?
  • IT/OT Convergence – IT techniques are increasingly used for OT (Operational Technologies). OT has critical needs that IT must take notice of. Is a coming together happening?
  • Open Standards – Cisco leads the charge here, but proprietary and legacy protocols still endure. How is the industry adapting?
  • Cross-industry Use Cases – All industries are different, or are they? Maciej talks about commonalities and the inefficiencies of learning from different industries.

Maciej Blog re IoT Oct2015 compressedMaciej talks about the number of connected “things” in the world that has skyrocketed from about a million in the early 1990s to 13 billion today.  He adds that…

“As the Internet of Everything (IoE) gains momentum—digitizing business processes in every industry—we expect to see 50 billion connected devices by 2020. The technology connecting all these devices has become affordable and easy to integrate. But that is not the primary reason for this explosion in connected devices. I believe we are entering a “golden age” of digitization because of the confluence of the following factors”.

I know John Chambers and others are talking about there being 500bn devices connected by 2030, so the challenges and opportunities will grow exponentially.

It is those four elements mentioned above, combined with the “network effect,” which multiplies the value of connections as their number grows,which are are driving the rush to connect everything, Maciej concludes. At Cisco, we have thousands of customers who have already adopted IoT solutions—and every day there are more who see the evidence in their own businesses and industries that the time is now for IoT, he adds.

Read his blog hear to find out his views on the four critical elements here: The Internet of Things: Why Now?

…and let me know what you think!

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New Certifications Help Connect the Unconnected

The Internet of Everything (IoE) – bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – is accelerating the pace of digital transformation.

This new age of the digital economy presents unprecedented challenges for all CEOs and business leaders. In today’s dynamic business environment, enterprises are under more pressure than ever to drive business outcomes. Innovation, ability to quickly adapt to new challenges and market conditions, as well as proficient leverage of new technologies are all critical in determining success. In addition, the IT landscape is evolving with more connected and mobile endpoints, the growth of application based services, and the need to collect, analyze and utilize an explosion of data. Read More »

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BC Hydro, Cisco and Itron – a Powerhouse in Canada

With just under two million customers, BC Hydro is deploying the first standards based multi-services in production FAN network with IPv6 802.15.4/RPL mesh to manage the Automated Metering Infrastructure(AMI), Distribution Automation(DA) and other advanced gird applications.

The design is based on Cisco’s Connected Grid Solution utilizing Cisco’s Field Area Router (CGR) and standards based Smart Meter Field Area Network (FAN) technologies and Itron OpenWay® CENTRON® smart meter as well as Itron’s meter data management, collection engine and reporting software.

BC Hydro is fast moving to build an IPv6 network able of supporting 2 Million routable IPV6 addresses in a secure, resilient, and manageable way.

British Columbia for BC Hydro BlogBC Hydro has 41 Dam sites, 30 Hydro facilities and 9 Thermal units and, from a transmission perspective,  has 18,000 km of Transmission lines 260 substations, and 22,000 steel towers!

On top of that, BC Hydro has 56,000 km of Distribution lines  Approx. 900K poles, over 300K of transformers that serve 17 Non-integrated areas.

The area covered by BC Hydro is equal to the area of California, Oregon and Washington state combined. Impressed/? You will be…

OK, enough of the numbers. So what about the business? Well, the idea is to do three things, according to Fiona Taylor, director of BC Hydro’s smart metering program, who discussed  results  reported in an Itron Press Release:

“We are pleased with all the accomplishments to date and the benefits we are already seeing, including [1] streamlined operations, [2] improved system visibility, and [3] revenue recovery. We look forward to realizing the full benefits of the IPv6 network architecture in 2014.”

By way of history, under a mandate from the British Columbia government to implement AMI, BC Hydro awarded Itron and Cisco a $270 million contract for smart meters and networking, Gary Murphy, chief project officer for smart metering at BC Hydro, told Smart Grid Today in 2011 (SGT, 2011-Aug-10).

HAK22620 - for web

That brings us  to a key part of the customer solution. Itron. Itron is a partner of Cisco, and together we have developed some of the most innovative metering solutions for energy customers.

Also, Itron and Cisco are helping to break down silos in the Energy industry infrastructure. There is real added-value in adopting a standards-based approach to smart metering and smart grid. You can read about it in the white paper here.
Itron’s partnership with Cisco goes back a way, and you can see how it manifests itself in the whitepaper, and the background is well covered in the historic  press announcement (click on the link to view).

A couple of the objectives of the partnership deliver direct value to our customers:

  • Deliver true multi-service, multi-application (applications from metering to grid to workforce) capabilities over a common network infrastructure with standardized and robust security that any utility can implement.
  • Optimize the total cost of ownership of these networks by spreading the cost over a greater number of grid applications and devices.

The way forward is clear. And foggy. That’s because Cisco is delivering its vision of Fog Computing to accelerate value from billions of connected devices – meters included! More about that next time when I talk about how Cisco IOx enables applications to run directly at the network edge to overcome rising operational costs and spark new innovations in the Internet of Things.

Until next time – keep the power on!



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Continue driving the Internet of Things

So, in my last blog, I pointed out that Manufacturers, and particularly car makers, will be driving the Internet of Things (IoT) by incorporating standard networks into their machines.   I also indicated that evolving the standards is going to be critical to that adoption.

Applying standard networks (by that I mean Ethernet, IP, TCP/UDP, 802.11/WiFi, etc.) machines is going to be a distinctly different than the networking of computers, phones and the plethora of tablets and handheld devices that has driven the Internet and standard networks to date. Read More »

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Car makers driving The Internet of Things (part 1 of 2)

Intelligent Cars

I don’t watch too much TV, but I did take some time this weekend between my honey-do’s and soccer transport tasks to keep up with bay area football – it was a good weekend for that.  As expected, there were plenty of car ads.   I was struck by how the high-end auto manufacturers are really focusing on “intelligent” cars – competing in fact.  Cars are now aware of their surroundings (obstacle sensing), aware of their driver (attention assist), able to call emergency assistance, making lots of decisions every second and richly communicating with its driver … or maybe more appropriately stated “passenger”:

These are really smart cars, and they are getting smarter.  It is foreseeable now to imagine automated driving making the driver a true passenger. Read More »

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