Well, back on the road again, it has been a straight 3 weeks of travel. From Kentucky to Shanghai then to Auckland and Sydney to Phoenix where I blogged about Cisco’s partnership with Caterpillar, now I’m back in my hometown of Chicago for Automation Fair # AutoFair15. Cisco once again has a significant presence at this leading industrial show which is Rockwell Automation’s largest user conference- with our own Booth # 1045 as well as presence in Industrial IP Advantage’s Booth #1340. We had some standing room only sessions including ones hosted by Bryan Tantzen and Randal Kenworthy.  The energy has been dynamic at this event with nearly 19,000 attendees.

A couple of key takeaways from the day- first, I was impressed with the customer engagement and quality of the conversations – especially as the network expertise of show attendees (primarily OT, controls and automation managers and professionals) have grown significantly over the years. Second, Connected Machines and the data analytics/data insight that result  comes as the number one asked about topic with Industrial security a close second. And finally, there were a lot of questions around Cisco’s recently announced Manufacturing Thought Leadership Study— research validates what folks are hearing – that disruption is happening and that organization change is needed to adopt to digitization and servitization.

My colleague Richard Mullen who was busy giving booth tours all day describes the reactions from the show floor:

“What I’m hearing from customers is that they now understand the value when hearing about IP as a data conduit from the plant floor. This ability to predict when things will break is of tremendous value to them. In addition, customers have told me that Cisco and Rockwell have come a long way in a year as far as integration — they are saying- ‘we would like to see even more network visibility within the PLC application to make management even easier. We understand it is a journey but you (Cisco) and Rockwell are leading the way.’ ”         

Here’s one of our cool demonstration stations showing our partnership with robotics manufacturer FANUC.

FANUC at AF2015

Thursday, the second day of the show promises to bring even more interesting discussions on the topics and issues Richard mentioned. If you are here at the show, come see us tomorrow or catch our sessions (see graphic below):


For those not at Automation Fair, tell us what keeps you up at night and how you see how the future of Digital Manufacturing is evolving. We are here to help you get there as quickly as possible.  You can also catch all the action from the show floor by following us at @CiscoMfg and hashtag #CiscoDigitalMfg– you might win our social media contest! Thanks for reading.


Douglas Bellin

Global Lead, Industries

Manufacturing and Energy