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The Information Driven Enterprise in a Connected World

Join me at the ARC Industry Forum Europe 2015 –  March 4-5, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – where this year the theme is ‘The Information Driven Enterprise in a Connected World’.

“New and emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, predictive analytics, wireless, additive manufacturing, modular and mobile production, cloud computing, mobility, and 3D visualization are beginning to disrupt and radically change the way industrial enterprises do business.  Departing from the characteristic industry prudent innovation, leading companies now recognize that they must embrace new information, automation, production, and supply chain technologies to maintain a competitive edge.” (Arc Forum Executive Team)

The Forum is aimed at CEOs, COOs, and Presidents, CIOs and CTOs, and I shall be hosting a couple of sessions on the agenda:

The first day I’ll be driving a session on Collaboration and Organization, and the second day a plenary workshop on Industry 4.0, Industrial IoT, Dig Data, Analytics and the cloud:

ARC Forum 2015 Ams

Join me if you can. If you have a good case study from your company I’d be happy to buy you one of our great beers brewed in the Netherlands so that I can listen!

Registration Methods
Please use one of the following methods to register for the Forum:

Call +49-(0)2104-28698 (ext. 87 or 89), fax +49-(0)2104-542013, or e-mail ablech@arcweb.com or  rkilies@arcweb.com.

Register On-line

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Summary: Fog Computing Becomes Clearer with Cisco IOx Solution

Many of you may have missed the recent presence of Cisco at DistribuTECH in San Diego last month, so that blog is summarized here and a link to the live blog is given at the end of this summary:

At DistribuTECH, Cisco had the pleasure of engaging with attendees, demonstrating how utilities the world over have worked with Cisco and our partners to reduce costs and deliver more services on a single, intelligent and secure platform. The IT model we shared is one that brings innovation to the Operational Technology (OT) environment, integrating information, data, people and processes – the building blocks for the Internet of Everything.

In the included video Bit Stew went on to talk about how they’re taking their software, embedding it in Cisco routers, putting it inside substations, allowing that intelligence and that automation to happen in real time, right at the edge of the network, yet tie back into cloud based systems.  This technology is brought to life at major utilities such as BC Hydro, a Canadian electric utility in the province of British Columbia, which first introduced smart meters in 2011. Find out more by reading the whole blog below.

Read the blog here: Fog Computing Becomes Clearer with Cisco IOx Solution

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2015 Strategic Directions: Smart Utility Report

Founded in 1915, Black & Veatch is a leading global engineering, consulting and construction company, specializing in Energy, Water, Telecommunications, Federal, and Management Consulting. Black & Veatch’s annual Strategic Directions Report identifies top of mind issues based on a compilation of data and analysis from an industry-wide survey. The complete report is available from the Black & Veatch website.

“The annual Strategic Directions report series captures Black & Veatch’s global engineering and thought leadership expertise across key elements of the critical human infrastructure market.… This report represents the evolution of Black & Veatch’s inaugural Strategic Directions: Utility Automation & Integration report, with an expanded focus on automation and integration and utilities’ efforts to harness data to make operations and service delivery more efficient.

Black & Veatch 2015

The major sections of the report address:

  • Utility Telecommunications
  • Utility Automation
  • Data Analytics
  • Smart Communities
  • Perspectives

The report notes that utilities and communities, with the proliferation of smart devices, automation and the use of analytics are transforming development and delivery of key infrastructure services to become more responsive, efficient and resilient.

Especially relevant to Cisco’s engagement with the utility industry and communities around the world is Black & Veatch’s observation that as legacy equipment is replaced or upgraded, IP-based technology is creating new opportunities. Connected devices on utility telecommunications infrastructure is now widely recognized as “…an essential element of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Advanced metering Infrastructure (AMI) has often been thought of as synonymous with “Smart Grid”, but the expectations of real-time pricing or even time-of-use (TOU) rates and demand side management are far from the top of the list of top areas enabled by increased data management and analytics. The top three listed in the report are:

Asset Management (67%)

Capital Investment (45%)

Customer Service/Engagement (27%)

More than 63% of electric utilities report plans to replace, upgrade or build communications infrastructure in the next 5 years, with IP leading the way as the network protocol standard including SCADA systems.

“Some utilities are completely embracing a converged mentality and running everything over a shared infrastructure, while others are moving more cautiously by keeping protective relaying and other mission-critical applications separate from the converged network.

The report notes that some utilities are more focused on the cost of maintaining and replacing outdated equipment and are unconvinced that smart grid technologies and automation are critical, but concludes, “Staying on the sidelines carries risk.”

Budget concerns dominate the obstacles to new technology implementation, and convincing stakeholders is key to addressing cost and perception issues.

The report concludes that the adaptive planning enabled by IP communications and advanced analytics allow leaders to effectively address core management functions of Strategic Options Assessment, Asset management and Operational Planning.

“For organizations that provide essential services, this represents the greatest transformation in utility operations in decades. For the smart city, it will facilitate the transformation to becoming a better place to live and a more friendly and desirable place to do business for generations to come.”

Black & Veatch and Cisco partner to create architectures for electricity, natural gas, solar and wind customers that provide secure and optimized network integration for smart grid environments. If you’d like to know more about our work together, contact me by commenting on this blog.

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Challenges and Progress at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity

White House Cybersecurity JPEG

On February 13, I attended the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University. President Obama, along with senior leaders spanning federal government, industry and technology sectors, law enforcement, consumer privacy advocates, and others convened to collaborate and build partnerships within the public and private sectors to further improve cybersecurity practices.

The keynote, panels and workgroup sessions covered a range of preeminent topics but the resounding theme from each was simple – everyone is online, therefore everyone is vulnerable. A comprehensive and collaborative effort from private and public sectors will be necessary to address these challenges. Sharing information in a safe, secure, confidential and reliable way will be a major factor in this coordinated approach.

Throughout the Summit, the key challenges were consistent –

  • The need for legislation to protect information sharing
  • Eliminate cross-industry barriers and establish partnerships
  • Liabilities created by the convergence of wireless & digital technology
  • Need to raise the security baseline for digital products and controls
  • Create stewardship for planning and management

This is a complex and changing environment, but it’s moving in the right direction. Several public-private partnerships exist today that are starting to address these challenges including the Electric Sub-sector Coordinating Council, Cyber Threat Alliance, Idaho National Laboratory and the Cyber Threat Intelligence Centre. Additionally, President Obama officially signed the Executive Order on Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing while at the Summit and launched the BuySecure Initiative in November to help mitigate these risks.

Specifically within the utilities industry, there has been a consistent focus on reliability and safety, but modernizing the electric grid is an ongoing process. Cisco Secure Ops and Collaborative Operations are just a couple of the solutions addressing this industry evolution; click here to learn more. In my next blog, I’ll address some of these Cybersecurity exposures and how to leverage technology to reduce these risks.

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Live at DistribuTECH – Wednesday Recap

While Day One of DistribuTECH wrapped on Tuesday, Day Two delivered more of the same: exceptional networking, education and workshops for utility professionals, industry experts and solution providers. The day kicked off with lively roundtable discussions, followed by another full day of conference sessions, workshops, and demonstrations. With so many great topics and speakers, it was difficult to choose which to attend!

DistribuTECH Day 2

The session I gained the most value from was NERC-CIP version 5 Strategies and Approaches. The panelists addressed compliance approaches for the updated standard, aimed at fending off both cyber and physical attacks. Panelist gave their views on identifying assets and how to address monitoring and controls. Other panelists made it clear that perimeter defense is one of the many tools but by no means the only tool to address grid cyber security. Security teams should focus on approaches that encompass intelligence. Hacktivists, nation states, and cyber-criminal threat vectors are relevant considering the threat landscape.

During the day, I popped into the exhibit hall to check out the product workshops and demonstrations. I was particularly interested in integration of Bitstew’s Grid Director’s analytic into Cisco’s architecture. The ability to get a complete view of the grid with predictive analytics capabilities enhanced the Internet of Everything deployment.

During the evening reception, our booth was abuzz with attendees wanting to learn more about our solutions for Field Area Networks, Grid Security, Substation Automation and collaboration. Field Area Networks was especially popular with the attendees and our reps did a great job articulating the multiservice value and different connectivity options. We had a great evening with attendees, industry peers and our customers celebrating the 25th anniversary of DTECH, complete with the Macarena dance craze to boot!

It’s been a busy few days, but it’s not over yet. On Thursday, we still have a half-day of networking, engagement and education planned. Don’t miss your final opportunity to visit Cisco Booth #3413. After lunch, we’ll pack up our solutions and start planning for next year’s event! Check back tomorrow for a full DistribuTECH recap!

DistribuTECH Day 2 Image 2

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