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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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Collaboration: The Cure for a Rollercoaster Economy

Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Rick Hutley, a vice president in Cisco’s global strategic consulting arm, IBSG. Rick advises business leaders in every industry about how technology—and more often than not, Intelligent Network technology—can help businesses achieve their goals.

As we embark on yet another economic rollercoaster, the goal of dramatically reducing costs while simultaneously growing revenues and market share seems impossible to attain. Yet, this is what businesses must do to survive.

In my opinion, the answer to this dichotomy is “collaboration”—enabling your workforce to be more effective at significantly lower costs. Collaboration can deliver significant benefits. Cisco®, for example, realized $1.4 billion in collaboration benefits in FY2010, up from $1.1 billion in FY2009. This was achieved across 27 initiatives at an annual cost of only $128 million.

These findings are detailed in a report titled “Economics of Collaboration at Cisco” by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), with analysis from its Research & Economics Practice. While every company is different, the following Cisco examples from this report offer a compelling business case for adopting similar initiatives where you work.

  • Business travel optimization to enable greater collaboration across regions while containing travel costs resulted in expense savings of $519 million per year and time savings of $140 million per year.
  • Telecommuting initiatives to increase productivity, tap global talent, and improve sustainability resulted in time savings of $320 million per year for Cisco and commute cost savings of $49 million per year for employees.
  • Connected Workplace, Cisco’s solution for optimizing knowledge worker productivity in the office, generated a 43 percent reduction in space per worker, real estate savings of $33 million per year, and energy savings of $2 million per year.
  • Next-generation Unified Communications resulted in salesforce time savings of $27 million per year and improved customer service.
  • Faster time-to-market capabilities with improved remote collaboration accelerated the introduction of Cisco’s ASR 9000, increasing margins by $90 million, reducing time to market from 4 to 3 years, and lowering R&D costs by $70 million.

To achieve these results, Cisco employed much of its own technology. Cisco TelePresence®, for example, powers a new way of working that allows us to be more productive through face-to-face, two-way video collaboration. Cisco WebEx® enables us to hold highly effective team meetings by sharing information whether we are using a desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone. Cisco Unified Communications links our phone, email, and other communications systems so we never have to miss a call or wait until a colleague gets back to his or her desk to respond to a critical email. And finally, Cisco QuadTM provides a single, integrated experience where individuals, teams, and communities connect, share, learn, and collaborate.

In today’s volatile economy, it’s clear we must learn how to collaborate better. Fortunately, technologies like those employed by Cisco can give your company an edge by improving competitiveness, innovation, and, most important, business results.

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How Does Cisco Simplify Unified Communications for Mid-size Business?

We sat down with Marc Ayers, Senior Manager of Product Marketing, to better understand how Cisco simplifies unified communications for the mid-size business.

Leading into our upcoming news about offerings for our mid-size business customers, we are conducting a series of interviews with members of our product teams so get their insights into unified communications from a mid-size business and Cisco perspective.

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Right-sizing Unified Communications for Mid-Size Business

Cisco has long been known for providing industry-leading unified communications solutions to large companies.  In early 2011, Cisco right-sized that unified communications enterprise offering for small and mid-sized businesses.  Watch this video interview with Mark Bissell, Director of IP Communications Product Management, to understand Cisco’s strategy and how mid-sized businesses benefit.

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Identifying a Caller’s Location for Emergency Response

If someone in your corporate building makes an emergency call, will responders know where to go? Years ago a phone was always in one location, and the phone number was as good as an address for identifying where you were. With IP telephony features for mobility, and with software phones that travel with your laptop, it can be hard to identify the physical location where a call is coming from.

At Cisco, we use several approaches to providing the right location information for emergency response. And we’ve learned how a simple portion of our dial plan can have a dramatic and painful impact on our Emergency Response system. You may find these ideas helpful for configuring emergency calling and response capabilities at your own sites.

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