Maciej Kranz, VP and GM of Cisco’s Corporate Technology Group, shares his perspective on Dundee Precious Metals and the Internet of Everything
I’ve traveled a great deal around the globe in the last year and am amazed at the interesting things organizations are doing with technology to connect the unconnected. As we enter the next big phase of the Internet – the Internet of Everything (IoE) – no industry can afford to be left behind. Even the industries that existed long before the Internet was even a glimmer on the horizon, such as manufacturing and mining, can realize great value through IoE. Dundee Precious Metals (DPM) is one example. They’re a manufacturing company that has capitalized on the connections between the people, process, data and things that IoE is enabling, transforming one of the world’s most traditional industries in the process.
When DPM set a goal to increase production of their flagship mining operation by 30 percent, their IT team needed to find a way to reach the target without increasing manpower or the number of vehicles.
With the help of the connections from IoE, now Dundee can share important information in real time, such as miners’ locations, equipment updates and data such as the number of buckets filled. This lets their teams troubleshoot as they go, instead of just at the end of a shift, keeping crews better on track to meet daily goals. What’s more, miners and mine managers had limited communication options since their Wi-Fi didn’t function well underground. So they leveraged Cisco’s unified wireless network to provide coverage along 50 kilometers of tunnels. This let drivers, supervisors and managers communicate efficiently – above ground or below – with calls and instant messaging. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags placed on miners’ caps and vehicles keep everyone synced up with location tracking via a 3D map for improved worker safety. New collaboration capabilities extend to other DPM locations, making face-to-face collaboration possible between managers, geologists and metallurgists as they discuss production, development and project schedules. This all adds up to better understanding and decision-making across the board.
So what have these changes meant for DPM?
Production increased by 400 percent, far exceeding their original 30 percent goal.
Miner safety has improved as they track miners’ movements and know where everyone is at all times.
Asset utilization of vehicles has also improved via continually transmitted data identifying repair needs.
Communication and energy costs have been lowered through more efficient use of resources.
This is just the start of DPM leveraging IoE’s capabilities. The company plans to replicate the same systems in all of its mines, as well as extend the Internet of Everything concept to health monitoring of employees, using connected environmental health sensors.
The Internet of Everything is not just the technology of tomorrow. It is here today, and the networked connections it provides can impact all industries, even those industries with roots from long ago.
Ten years ago, I remember driving around my neighborhood with a laptop, wireless card, and an antenna looking at the Service Set Identifiers (SSID) of all the open wireless networks. Back then, a home user’s packets often flew through the air unencrypted with nary a thought to who might be listening.
As a protocol, Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), has continually improved (IEEE 802.11) and today it is the preferred communication channel for a multitude of home devices including video game consoles, cameras, streaming video devices, mobile phones, tablets, and list goes on. As October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we outline typical WiFi risks and share sensible precautions.
In my last three homes, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) installation technician arrived with a cable modem that included four Ethernet ports and native WiFi default enabled. In each case, the technician explained that I could manage the cable modem through the settings webpage. When I inquired about management authentication credentials all of the technicians told me that passwords were not enabled by default, which naturally caused some consternation due to the obvious security implications.
It turns out that most ISPs will provide a modem without WiFi capabilities upon request. You can also request that a WiFi enabled modem be converted to bridge mode which will allow you to attach and manage your own WiFi access point (AP) without worrying about conflicts. Read More »
I was driving home the other day when I heard a radio report on densely populated California cities. What’s interesting was a mention of a small California city that is ranked as the nation’s fourth most dense urbanized area. I guess that a lot of people don’t know Delano, a central valley city with a population density of 5,483 people per square mile. It’s surprisingly more dense than the New York-Newark, N.J. metropolitan area which is ranked the 5th.
Many people with many devices in a densely populated area can pose a challenge to WiFi networks. I was talking to a Cisco customer in the New York City area a few days ago. He said that deploying WiFi was not as straightforward as it used to be. There are many RF interferences near his office and many new SSIDs that he never saw before.
Last week at the ODVA Annual Conference--as part of ODVA’s announcement of a new energy initiative and white paper--Cisco’s Bryce Barnes roused a packed-house audience representing ODVA’s ~200 industrial and automation suppliers with a compelling speech on the immediate need for Optimization of Energy Usage (OEU™) in the Production domain. Energy consumption statistics for the industrial sector are staggering, most estimates suggesting half of the world’s total delivered energy, and that amount is projected to increase by 40% over the next 25 years. For Manufacturers, energy typically constitutes the first or second highest portion of product variable costs, and most manufacturing companies now report as part of their governance a sustainability strategy that is core to their overall business strategy. Furthermore, volatility of energy markets--closely linked to the stability of governments, international relations and policies--raises the risk profile for continuity of supply, production and satisfaction of customers. Optimizing energy consumption, minimizing energy costs and mitigating energy risks are clearly top of mind business imperatives for the Manufacturing CEO.
Mark Wylie discusses the importance of energy optimization to sustainable manufacturing operations. Check out Mark’s December blog on factory energy management.