My time at Hannover Messe 2019 has confirmed: Manufacturers recognize the value of investing in Industry 4.0. They see the potential of pushing the Internet to the edges of the machines in their production environments. And they’re eager to gain access to data and data-driven insights that can help fuel productivity and trim costs.

At the same time, in my discussions with manufacturing leaders, it’s clear that most companies are facing these three key challenges:

  • Complexity in getting connectivity to the devices. Many manufacturers are still operating small, unconnected networks and/or networks powered by proprietary technologies. Manufacturers need a way to connect all of the key vendors and protocols.
  • Growing security risks. Many plants still rely on local, Microsoft-based applications and other technologies that are hard to update. They’re also hard to monitor—leaving them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Whether hit by a targeted attack or a broad-brush campaign, manufacturers face the same fallout: significant loss of operational time and significant impact to revenues and profits.
  • The need for unprecedented scalability. Industry 4.0 initiatives will require a massive number of devices to be connected plus a massive amount of data to be collected and analyzed. That requires a level of IT networking and IT security expertise that plant operators simply haven’t needed in the past. With this massive scale, automation will be key.

The good news is that while these networking challenges are largely new for manufacturing, they’re problems Cisco—the #1 provider of Industrial Networks globally—has been solving for years.* As I highlighted in IT Technologies in the Production Environment, my talk at Hannover Messe on April 1, Cisco has combined our industrial networking solutions with an ecosystem of partners to put Industry 4.0 within reach today.

We’ve designed these solutions to address manufacturers’ complexity, security and scalability challenges. Cisco’s solutions harmonize with multiple protocols to simplify the complexity. They’re designed for resiliency and security. And our Intent-Based Networking makes it far easier to deploy networking solutions. Just tell us your networking and security goals; we can automatically configure the network based on those objectives.

If you’re also at Hannover Messe, I welcome the chance to talk with you more about how we can help you advance your Industry 4.0 initiatives. Come see us at Hall 6, Stand F30.


* Industrial Edge Networking Components Report – 2019, IHS Markit



Paul Didier

Solution Architect

Manufacturing Industry