The Journey to Industrie 4.0 Continues
We wrapped up the Hannover Messe event at the end of April in Hannover, Germany, and I can say one thing – Wow! The official numbers are still not in, but there were an estimated 225,000+ attendees, 6500 vendors, 2,500 journalists from all over the world , and 5 full days of exhibits. This is the Olympics of manufacturing shows where we also launched Connected Factory for Industrie 4.0, a suite of new products to help manufacturing customers on their digital transformation sprint:
A Better Way to Tap into the Power of Your Data
Walking around a show dominated by robots and moving cars, and every Industrial Automation vendor, including partners Rockwell Automation, Intel, NetApp and Panduit in our booth, I also saw a continued trend towards digitization. There are many vendors claiming the ability to open up data from the plant floor, in a variety of ways, the most popular being “IoT gateways”. I would argue that adding additional hardware to liberate data may not the best way to break up the silos of information locked in different network protocols. Additional hardware means more components in cabinets, more power supplies, more wiring, and increasing complexity and cost. I also saw software solutions, which need to be run on industrial PC’s around manufacturing facilities. That presents another challenge since managing a fleet of PC’s, with the maintenance and patching required for those systems means higher support costs, more downtime, and additional potential security risks.
An alternative method would be to use devices that you already require, and potentially have on your plant floor to do that data translation; your network switches with edge compute. You already need a robust switching infrastructure, so why not use the capabilities of those switches to liberate the data from those old control system protocols? Cisco partners like Telit allow you do just that on select Cisco switches. Sorry to guzzle too much of my own kool-aid, but I truly do believe this is a better solution!
The Cisco Connected Factory for Industrie 4.0 suite helps our customers with the key solutions they need to enable their digital transformation:
- Connected Asset Manager for IoT Intelligence— a software product that converges different levels of automation systems, discrete devices, historians, and business data systems to help monitor and manage all of their connected assets. This can help you with tracking asset location and utilization, managing power consumption, and monitoringreal time equipment health data to enhance visibility.
- The Industrial Network Director— empowers your operations teams with full visibility and control of your industrial automation network and a familiar user experience to drive up productivity.
- Support for a new standard for Time Sensitive Networking specifically for deterministic applications to help our customers converge their industrial networks.
Check out our ebook for more details on these 3 solutions.
In short, Hannover Messe was a great show! Check out this quick video wrap-up, and we will see you next year.