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Mfg.net Webcast Series: The Internet of Things

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Partnering with Manufacturing.net, Cisco recently hosted Part II of a webcast series  on ‘The Internet of Things ’ for Manufacturing.  The content was very well received as it covered some key opportunities in Manufacturing today and how IoT technologies are helping enable an industrial renaissance in many markets today.  The first webcast   was joined by Steelcase’s CIO, Bob Krestakos, Joe Kann from Rockwell Automation and Tony Shakib from Cisco.  Meanwhile, for the second webcast, one of our key partners in the industrial space, Rockwell Automation joined us along with Harley Davidson.   Moderated by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director of Manufacturing.net,  the webcast speakers included David Gutshall, Infrastructure Design Manager at Harley Davidson, Rachel Conrad,  Global Business Manager   at Rockwell Automation and  Bryan Tantzen, Senior Director, IoT Business Unit at Cisco.

Both Part I and Part II are worthwhile, whether you want to learn more about the key areas that are ripe for the IoT opportunity or want to better understand enabling technologies or best practices.  In addition, I summarize David Gutshall’s comments on the Harley Davidson deployment and other best IoT practices in my blog, “IoT in Manufacturing: Insights and Best Practices”.    We hope you have time to check out these on-demand webcasts.  Thanks for reading.

Imagine the Possibilities with IoT and IoE

Cisco customers have asked me how the Internet of Everything and the Internet of Things are going to affect their everyday life.  My answer:  it can be mind-boggling how interconnected sensors and devices are going to impact our daily lives.

Specifically, in the industrial space, I get to work daily with our manufacturing and mining customers who want to understand best practices and deployments, and figure out how to implement various solutions to add value to their business.  Some of this may be tracking adjacent or similar markets with the nuanced changes to apply to their particular situation.

For example, one customer I have been working with is in the process of integrating 4-5 completely different systems into one tool to do correlation events.  In the past, one person had to have the intelligence to look at each of these disparate systems and then start to tie all of this together.  The issue is with the fact is the single person who has this intelligence is the only one who knows what to do.  This may have been job security for that individual, but the situation creates bottlenecks.

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An Update on Recent Industry Events and IoT in Manufacturing

It has been a crazy past three weeks with IoT and IoE for myself and also Cisco.  We recently hosted Cisco Live where we had over 25,000 attendees onsite and over 200,000 more attend virtually.  By the end of that week, I felt I had met each and every one and had at least a 15 minute conversation with them.  The buzz is there and our customers are telling us we are aligned to tackle this market and make IoT  in manufacturing take off.  Aside from our customers, I also had the pleasure to talk with leading industry and manufacturing analysts on our vision of IoT as well as various customer projects.  Here’s what one leading analyst blogged about right after CiscoLive:

“…current plant networks are like spangled spaghetti, which Cisco is attempting to untangle it based on its powerful networking routers and switches in a secure, simple and an effective way. The converged platform approach solves flexibility, scalability and responsiveness challenges of end-users. At a juncture, wherein customers across industry verticals are looking at standardization and standards-driven manufacturing, Cisco clearly has cracked the code with this platform approach.”  –

-Muthuraman Ramasamy, Frost & Sullivan

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Cisco Supply Chain Operations Places in Top 10 of Gartner Ranking

Congratulations to the Cisco Supply Chain Operations (CSCO) team. For seven consecutive years, Cisco has placed in the Top 10 of Gartner’s prestigious ranking!

Led by Cisco Senior VP John Kern, the supply chain operations team here at Cisco has undergone an extensive transformation and continues to be recognized globally as a best-in-class practitioner. With more than a thousand contract manufacturing and component suppliers, logistics (3PL) and other service partners, along with more than 25,000 orderable product IDs—which are broadly mixed amongst build cycles of engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, build-to-order and build-to-stock—the complexity and global scale of what our Cisco-resident supply chain gurus deal with on a daily basis could be staggering for some organizations but is managed with excellence by CSCO. Beyond the outstanding development and fulfillment supply chain and manufacturing management services rendered, CSCO has served as a tremendous expert asset and executive connection for our go-to-market expansion with manufacturing customers’ lines of business, particularly related to the Internet of Everything (IoE) market transition.

The splashy ad below illustrating a vision for the Internet of Things (IoT) has become much more of a reality and the technologies and products shown are in use within Cisco’s supply chain ecosystem today.

Recently, two Cisco colleagues — Edna Conway, VP CSCO and Chief Security Officer and Bob Dean, Director, Manufacturing and Energy Vertical, co-authored an excellent article for Manufacturing Leadership Journal entitled ‘The Fourth Dimension of Supply Chains’. The article highlights how new technologies are empowering supply chains as never before, and how they are also exposing enterprises and ecosystems to new risks.  Cisco’s comprehensive approach to mitigate risks and bolster confidence across the supply chain focuses on the four areas of malicious modification/substitution of technology, counterfeit products (both raw materials and finished goods), the security component of supply chain resiliency and misuse of intellectual property.

Discipline surrounding that fourth topic of securing intellectual property has become an even greater concern in the face of new business models and innovations with the application of IoE in manufacturing. Best-in-class manufacturers are, like Cisco, increasingly leveraging their supply chains and ecosystems to develop offering portfolios balanced between sustaining and disruptive innovations that are derived from scrutinized customer segmentation and guided by such principles as value-driven design discipline, cross-BU portfolio platform awareness and rationalization, differentiated solution-service bundling, and connected system-level lifecycle services (e.g., Product as a Service). All of these design and innovation processes require immersive and intimate collaboration with customers and across supply chains.

Cisco’s relevance to enable manufacturing supply chain and innovation strategies to achieve more transformative business outcomes has never been greater:

  • Virtualized and distributed compute with Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Supply Chain Collaboration accelerating time-to-market with value-oriented product and service offering innovation;
  • IoE-enabled ‘3D Value Chains’ with ubiquitous visibility accelerating portfolio rationalization decisions, improving throughput and enabling more sustainable supply chains;
  • Business video with IoE-enabled connectivity accelerating lifecycle service offerings throughout the supply chain, like remote access, monitoring and diagnostics with mobile expert/advisor.

What are some of the challenges, innovations and opportunities in your global supply chain today?  Join the conversation below and let me know.  Thanks for reading.

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The 2014 Automation Conference – IoE and Beer

The 2014 Automation Conference (TAC) was held March 20-21, 2014 in sunny Chicago (Yes, sunny Chicago!! I made sure to pack some California sunshine for the Windy City) attracted a diverse group of automation and manufacturing thought leaders and subject matter experts from leading machine builders, system integrators, manufacturing end users, standards bodies and educational institutions. The focus and objective of the conference was to have peer to peer discussions and dialogue around the technologies and next generation automation strategies that are enabling and driving the Internet of Everything (IoE).

“This conference is designed not only to make you think about the application of automation, but also to help you take action” – David Greenfield, Automation World, editor in chief and TAC event director

The conference achieved this goal and more.  The framework of the sessions encouraged audience collaboration and dialogue around the challenges and practical steps and strategies being designed and deployed to achieve an integrated and scalable IoE architecture that drives value across the entire manufacturing value chain, as depicted in the video below:

I can “wax poetic” around all the great individual sessions held at the conference around Big Data, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), mobility, virtualization, cloud computing, cyber-physical security, network switching, CPwE (Converged Plantwide Ethernet), safety systems, workforce retention and optimization, but I think its more fun and interesting to summarize the highlights of the conference through the  context of a use case that was shared at the conference.

What better way to meet that objective than to leverage a manufacturing use case around beer!!!!

Automating Brewing Operations from Two Different Perspectives

I attended this session where Highland Brewing, Sierra Nevada and Vicinity Manufacturing gave an interesting perspective around the challenges and strategies in deploying their next generation manufacturing operation.

Highland Brewing is a regional brewer of craft beers based in the Southeast and Sierra Nevada is a larger brewer with more of national brand.  The interesting contrast between the two is that Highland Brewing is designing more automation into their operational facility and Sierra Nevada is scaling their automation and IoE strategies across all their facilities.   Both perspectives and approaches have the same objective.  How do I effectively integrate all the various technologies into an intelligent, flexible and scalable system/architecture to meet the following business outcomes:

  1. Increase Customer Loyalty
  2. Supply Chain Optimization
  3. Operational Excellence
  4. Energy Sustainability
  5. Disruptive Innovation

To paraphase Kevin Wheeler, Director of Operations, Highland Brewing Co,“Our core competency is crafting great beer. We have an opportunity to drive efficiency into our operation by an integrating IoT/IoE platform … the challenge is figuring out the best approach.”

Like Highland Brewing, manufacturers must begin to transform existing business processes and fundamentally rethink how they create, operate, and service smart, connected products in the IoE. For those that get it right, the future represents a huge opportunity to create product and service advantages.

Are you having challenges putting together the “IoE technology puzzle?”  Is security the main barrier to IoE adoption?

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