Access the Future of your Machine, Today

November 30, 2011 - 5 Comments

I read something the other day: today is the future’s past.

And I thought about that for a bit and decided to turn it around to machine builders. Today you deliver machines to end users that utilize your machines to make things. Tomorrow that end user will want more from that machine. How will you deliver it? Because if you don’t, you will really be in the past.

Part of the answer lies in Secure Remote Access. Part of it lies in trust between you and the end user (who by the way is your customer, if you haven’t figured that out).

As part of Automation Fair Rockwell Automation sponsored a “Global OEM/Machine Builder Forum”. Cisco participated in that, via Jeff Reed, VP Product Management, Unified Access Business Unit. I am not in any way summarizing that Forum, but there were 8 different machine builders on the panel. And when asked what they saw as their priorities, they responded:

Service and Support
Remote Access
Safety and Training

They all reinforced that the single biggest challenge was to get IT on the same page. To understand the business value of secure remote access.

That tells me we have some education to do.

Lets start here: Secure (means you know who is on the network and when and what they do) Remote (means they are not physically on site or in your plant) Access (means they are on your network – that implies trust on mutual parts). “They” can be a trusted employee, a trusted partner, a trusted vendor.

From a machine builder perspective the more diagnostics you can get from the machine, the more you can help your end user (think of Services revenue). You can also upgrade the machine, should the user elect to allow you. Without sending an engineer.

From an end user perspective you gain efficiency, performance, and you still control who is there. And if you give them access, you control what they get access to. And if you elect, you can let your machine builder upgrade your machine either at their request or yours.

It is all about cost efficient productivity. You can choose tomorrow or the past. Today is already gone.


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  1. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  2. Nice to meet you. Happy New Year.

  3. Secure Remote Access – It sounds like the ideal solution for machine builder and end user but it also sounds like a big task in building the trust factor.

  4. Thanks Donald. First, for reading and commenting. But second, setting me up for future blogs.

    I sense that the machine builder and the end user groups are not so far apart – they see the benefit. What I see is we need to recreate the education series we did with Rockwell Automation a couple years ago, but re-orient them.

    We’ve done a fantastic job getting the End Users to accept open access – perhaps because the End Users felt they still had control, since it was within their operations.

    Next, understand that remote can apply to anyone anywhere anytime. But you still maintain control.

    That is Borderless Networks. And only Cisco can deliver this.

  5. Secure Remote Access – It sounds like the ideal solution for machine builder and end user but it also sounds like a big task in building the trust factor. Here is hoping those obstacles can be overcome.