It’s just two weeks since Cisco Live 2023 in Las Vegas wrapped up. The excitement and energy at the event were contagious. We enjoyed many discussions with customers and partners about the industrial IoT innovations we introduced at the event.
It’s clear that security and visibility across the industrial environment are critical. To achieve this, organizations need insights into their security posture, and control and oversight of remote access to their connected industrial assets, as well as secure access to data from those assets. Often, these capabilities are enabled by introducing point hardware solutions, which in themselves increase the attack surface, while also expanding maintenance needs. We were excited to talk about how we are helping organizations address this challenge: cloud-based IoT Operations Dashboard now enables you to deploy OT services that provide security and data access capabilities directly onto your Cisco Catalyst industrial switches. This eliminates the need for those point hardware solutions, and so the potential for cyber-attack is reduced, while maintenance costs are contained. This reduces cost and risk across the organization.
IoT Operations Dashboard delivers on the Cisco Networking Cloud vision to simplify IT. It enables simple, consistent experiences across our portfolio with the flexibility to meet your specific needs. And at the same time we continue to drive innovation in connectivity with new models for the Cisco Catalyst IE9300 and the new industrial wireless IW9165I device—a wireless access point for industrial environments with an internal antenna.
There were many memorable moments – from formal presentations to informal conversations. However, a key theme that shone through was how industrial organizations are accelerating their digital transformation, and how they need the right tools to drive this transformation successfully. The challenges are real across many industry verticals, like manufacturing, utilities, and transportation.
Great insights were provided by Dr. Henning Loeser, head of Audi production lab and Tony Geara, Deputy chief of mobility innovation at the City of Detroit, as guests in Samuel Pasquier’s Innovation Talk entitled ‘Improving the IT + OT Partnership Experience to Digitize the Physical World’, Dr. Loeser discussed challenges faced in manufacturing and Tony spoke about delivering long term resilience, sustainability, and safety for roadways. Dr. Loeser described how Audi is leading the way in enhancing security and reducing complexity on the factory floor through virtualization. He highlighted the partnership between Audi and Cisco, and explained how the production lab knows why digitization is necessary and Cisco has been instrumental in helping IT implement the solution.
In turn, Tony described the complexity of Detroit city roadways infrastructure and challenges faced, including the previously high rate of vehicle and pedestrian fatalities. He discussed the importance of connectivity and access to data, and how his teams plan to use this to dramatically improve safety, in partnership with Cisco.
Shared ideas in industry summits
We were delighted to hold three industry summits, focused on manufacturing, roadways and transportation, and utilities. In these summits, customers and partners engaged with us in open discussions and Cisco experts shared best practices and advice on how to address industry-specific challenges. We had great discussions that enabled us to understand where customers gain the most benefit from our products and solutions, and what we need to do more of. I was excited to attend the Utilities summit, where customers and partners shared their challenges. And we heard from energy service providers and partners how they are creating highly resilient communication networks in partnership with Cisco to deliver a reliable energy supply.
Solutions in action
As ever, our Cisco team in the World of Solutions welcomed customers and partners to a full set of demonstrations. Here are a few takeaways:
#1 – Security is key for industrial networks.
Solutions for securing industrial networks include a combination of security posture visibility, zero trust, and remote access. We showed how Cisco Cyber Vision provides visibility of the security posture of every device or asset on the industrial network. Cyber Vision also integrates with Cisco Identity Services Engine for sharing asset profiles and the industrial zones and conduits that should be enforced through microsegmentation. This enables a “zero trust” approach to connecting industrial assets, ensuring they can only communicate with specific devices and only once they have been granted network access. And Secure Equipment Access keeps connected assets safe by providing controlled, secure access for maintenance and troubleshooting.
#2 – Scaling field operations is getting a lot easier.
Cisco experts illustrated how simple it is to deploy OT services from the cloud to our Cisco Catalyst industrial switches with IoT Operations Dashboard. Participants were enthusiastic about the hands-on demonstrations of our cloud-based IoT Operations Dashboard with Secure Equipment Access, Cyber Vision, and Edge Intelligence.
Delivered from the cloud and running natively on our industrial switches and routers, these OT services remove the need for complex point hardware solutions. To make this real, the demo highlighted a use case for roadways, using a LiDAR sensor and traffic control system with signage. The demo showed how IoT Operations Dashboard’s cloud-delivered OT services simplify maintenance and management of connected assets at the roadside – making it easy to scale up operations and protect critical infrastructure.
#3 – Wireless can go here, there, and anywhere.
Different applications need different wireless solutions to provide connectivity in a wide range of industrial environments. One size doesn’t fit all. Our comprehensive portfolio of industrial wireless solutions supports Wi-Fi, Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul, 5G, LTE and LoRaWAN. Meeting the needs of customers who need to connect cameras or laptops outdoors, robots on the manufacturing floor, tele-remote applications in ports and mines, low-power sensors deployed over extensive areas or building-to-building connections where fiber is not an option.
We showed our range of Cisco Catalyst IW heavy duty access points, including the new Catalyst IW9167I, our latest Wi-Fi 6/Wi-Fi 6E-ready industrial and outdoor access point. We also highlighted LoRaWAN and our industrial sensors – a topic my colleague Kevin Holcomb and I covered in an interactive breakout session. (To everyone who attended, a big “thank you” for being such an amazing audience!)
And that’s a wrap. It’s not easy to capture everything from the event, however it was amazing to have the opportunity to engage in so many sessions, presentations and discussions and hear from you, our valued customers and partners.
Mark your calendar for February 5-9, 2024, where we are looking forward to sharing what’s next at
Cisco Live EMEA in Amsterdam.