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In today’s industrial environment, we see companies struggling to amplify efficiencies that drive better business outcomes. For manufacturing, oil & gas, utilities and more, the key is to digitize with new ways to securely connect global production operations.

That’s where we come in. I’m excited to announce the Cisco IoT Industrial Automation solution that enables companies to simplify network deployment and management, while securely extending the network to the IoT edge.

Capturing data from edge devices in factories, refineries, substations, mines and treatment facilities is critical to improve operations – but that’s where many IoT initiatives stumble. The Cisco Industrial Automation solution uses our new next gen Cisco Catalyst IE3x00 Series of Switches, and provides a validated approach and architecture built to securely meet the needs of both IT and OT.

In other words, you’ll have the power to scale secure connectivity to thousands of diverse sensors, controllers, and communication devices, from the plant floor to rugged outdoor sites. That means greater visibility and faster access to data for early detection and troubleshooting, and productivity insights to improve operational equipment effectiveness (OEE) and reduce downtime.

Optimizing production with industrial connectivity

Let’s look at a great example like Krones, a leading supplier of machines and production lines for breweries, beverage bottlers and food producers worldwide. For years they’ve used a Cisco network to manage manufacturing applications like Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), but they never had visibility into machines they support at customer sites. Now, with IIoT solutions that leverage IE3x000 switches, Krones can gain real-time insights beyond the plant, with edge computing at end customer bottling factories.

“To meet our end customers’ stringent requirements, we use Cisco’s industrial switches in our solutions. High speeds, reliable operation, simple management and advanced visibility capabilities offered by Cisco Catalyst IE3x00 Rugged Series  allows us to build best-in-class systems for the manufacturing industry.” – Hans Berger, Head of Network Technology Line Solutions Line Electrics, The Krones Group.

Ensuring flexibility and security across the IT stack

A key component to delivering customer success is that our IoT solutions are modular and future-proof. We know you need the flexibility to adapt existing network infrastructures as your needs evolve over time. Our Industrial Automation solution enables you to securely connect from edge to cloud for today’s IoT applications.

And of course, security for connected industrial environments is often a daunting hurdle. At Cisco, we believe you should be able to capture the wins of IoT without compromising security. Our solutions help you meet OT needs like device and traffic visibility, asset optimization, predictive maintenance, and machine learning – while satisfying IT demands for multi-layered authentication and access control.

We’re excited to see the Cisco Industrial Automation solution deployed by hundreds of global customers, partners, and system implementers. Validated under real world conditions, our solution supports vital industrial controls and protocols for devices and applications used by companies such as Siemens, Emerson, Honeywell, Rockwell Automation, Mitsubishi Electric, and ABB Robotics.

Our customers are redefining what’s possible in industrial environments, and we’re proud to be a part of that digital transformation.

Want to learn more?

Find more information at cisco.com/go/manufacturing as well as these resources:

Cisco IoT Switches

Cisco IoT Portfolio

Cisco IoT Gateways

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Strategy, Technology and Operations

Delivering business outcomes for enterprise and IT buyers requires a new approach, new capabilities, and new relationships. An entirely new business solutions practice. Digital Systems Integrators (DSI) represent that new business practice as follows:

  • These DSI’s integrators have deep vertical knowledge and processes that facilitate executive buy-in.
  • With the shift in the sales ecosystem away from IT, DSI’s help sales teams add value to engaging people using the technology — Lines of Business, the C-Suite, Operations Tech. These are the new decision makers.
  • When we bring Digital Systems Integrators into our sales conversations, our power to deliver real value increases exponentially.
  • They can break IT infrastructure into easily identified layers, allowing executives to easily determine costs and implementation timeframes, while permitting IT technical staff to evaluate their “Why Cisco” recommendation.

Polytron, Inc. is a holistic Smart Manufacturing provider – a Consulting and Engineering firm for manufacturers coming alongside its customers with full manufacturing systems and solutions. Supporting the digital transformation journey and leveraging the IIoT – plant-floor machinery, sensors and controllers – Cisco and partner solutions.

Polytron Use Case:

Polytron, Inc. owns the long-term relationship with the client and was engaged to upgrade its 15-year old aging industrial network infrastructure. The company asked Polytron, Inc., Cisco’s Digital System Integrator and Solution Provider, to evaluate and design a network architecture that focused on improving overall bandwidth utilization and efficiency across all manufacturing areas. The new network requirements were to configure and install a reliable, expandable and robust infrastructure, and to maximize the benefits of plant-to-business data collection and reporting systems. It was going to take the installation and configuration of a high-performance Ethernet and fiber-optic network to meet and exceed the client’s networking standards requirements for the industrial network.

Following the Polytron “Roadmap to Network Solutions,” a network audit was conducted using diagnostics;
 a design plan was developed; and a schedule was created for implementation. The Digital System Integrator’s team reviewed the design plan with the manufacturer’s stakeholders for alignment. Alignment with all stakeholder groups was crucial because the network project touched every area of the plant. Support was needed from: manufacturer’s IT support group; all department managers; plant engineering; and control support technicians.  The project required minimal disruptions to plant operations. To accomplish this, the installation and network migration schedules had to be adjusted constantly to align with the plant’s schedule and this DSI made a big difference in achieving the desired outcomes.

ZAG Technical Services is an award winning IT consulting firm specializing in network infrastructure, data center, security, disaster recovery and remote access.

ZAG Technical Services Use Case:

ZAG Technical Services, a Digital Solutions Integrator pilot program participant, leveraged their existing trusted advisor relationship with the client to secure a 360 Degree Workshop. The first phase of the workshop was to understand and gain agreement with all business stakeholders regarding the expected digital business outcome and what it means to them. With this client, the outcome of that phase was the definition of the Manufacturing Floor of the Future.

Unique Solution – Competitive Advantage – It’s important to point out that ZAG developed the requirements, so it was very easy for them to point out to the client why the incumbent was not able to achieve the same outcome with their solution. Cisco’s account manager John Murnane said, “From an overall perspective it would be difficult to find a partner who does what ZAG does, and this deal wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for ZAG.”


Xentaurs is a next-generation consulting agency and systems integrator specializing in making digital business transformations a reality. They are a market leader in Cloud, DevOps, Big Data/Analytics, and Machine Learning – a Cisco Gold Certified Partner with existing client relationships.

Xentaurs Use Case:

Network Modernization to Enhance Operations
 – When serving millions of customers in different regions, 
even small improvements in processes and operations 
can make a substantial financial impact. One approach is to 
leverage the Internet of Things, such as putting sensors on waste collection trucks to increase work
productivity.

Underutilization Turns into Faster Time to Value – Though Cisco ACI had been implemented, the Cisco Gold Partner recognized that the client was not taking full advantage of it. Production workloads had yet to run in the environment.

The partner recommended that the client speak to Xentaurs, a veteran Cisco Digital Systems Integrator (Cisco DSI) partner. Xentaurs uses a proven engagement methodology that drives adoption and utilization of existing Cisco products. They helped outline how the client could save significant operating costs and realize other goals such as application segmentation, faster. By adding Cisco Tetration Analytics, the client could achieve business objectives in 4-6 months versus 18 months. The collaboration and cooperation between the Cisco Gold Partner, Xentaurs, and Cisco were key components to why this deal came together and closed in less than 5 months so that the customer could more quickly begin to achieve the positive impacts of the solution faster.

Consider contacting your Cisco DSI ecosystem partner to help expand the opportunity with customers looking for comprehensive business solutions here.

To learn more about Cisco’s Manufacturing solutions for digital transformation and IoT please contact your Cisco partner.

 

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There is no one size fits all view when it comes to manufacturing. Large, advanced plants are using a plethora of advanced manufacturing processes, robots and data as a core part of their operations. There are emerging startups who are lean and able to respond to changing customer demands quickly. Then there are also a lot of companies in the middle, ranging from around 10 million in revenue up to 1 billion in revenue and are a significant impact on the overall economy. This group is also seeing substantial growth in both revenue and employment while taking some very innovative and agile approaches to smart manufacturing. A recent report, Middle Market Manufacturing – How to Thrive in a Transforming Environment, from the National Center for the Middle Market at Ohio State University (and co-sponsored by Cisco) highlighted some of the areas these mid-size manufacturers are focusing on as well as some of the current challenges they are addressing both near and long-term.

The report noted five key insights and areas that manufacturers in the middle market are focusing on, these include:

  • Competition
  • Supply chain relationships
  • Changing product/service mix
  • Technology on the factory floor
  • Talent

Completion: 86% of the businesses surveyed noted that competitive pressure has grown over the last five years, from both a global standpoint and adjacent companies entering into new spaces. Some of the challenges that have arisen out of increased completion include more pressure on supply chains, customer consolidation and the potential impacts of tariffs on pricing.

Supply chain: The overall management and utilization of the supply chain increasingly become essential, and a competitive advantage for manufacturers. Shifts in customer demands for more speed as well as “just-in-time” manufacturing means collaboration between these groups, both upstream and downstream, is now a critical component to ensuring timeliness, transparency, and better supplier relationships. The report notes that companies who can optimize these supply chain integrations are also the ones seeing faster growth.

Changing product/service mix: Increasingly, manufacturers are looking for ways to not only deliver quality products but how to add new value-added services as a way to differentiate in a more competitive market.  Adding further value streams and services to products is changing the way manufacturers organizing and going to market. These changes also mean the need to add new capabilities and shifting the current business model. More connected devices with IoT as an example means changing how a company will support security, connectivity, data, and privacy.

Technology on the factory floor:  Manufacturers are making investments in some key areas. The report found there were five top areas that middle market manufacturers are focused on.

Source: Middle Market Manufacturing: How to Thrive in a Transforming Environment (2018). National Center for the Middle Market.

These included:

  • Cybersecurity
  • New materials/composites
  • Advanced process control
  • Robotics/advanced automation
  • Additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping

When factoring in the supply chain, competition, market changes, and talent, choosing the right technology can help increase productivity, improve the manufacturing process and drive growth, but these investments also add in more risk to properly secure connected machinery and the need to manage all the new data that is now being produced.

Talent: More than half of the manufacturers surveyed in the report noted that talent is one of their most significant challenges. While there is a challenge in attracting talent overall to enter the manufacturing field, the problem is also finding the right specialized expertise who can support and implement all the new technology and automation on the factory floor. Aging workforce is also a significant factor with talent retiring, and this means more outreach to vocational schools, universities, and organizations to help fill the gap. Adding in globalization and completion as noted above adds to the challenge.

The report also looks into areas such how to overcome the risk noted and how to overcome them, and the best practices that growing manufacturers are utilizing. I invite you to download the full report here:

 

I also invite you to explore the following manufacturing topics:

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Even though Industrie 4.0 and smart manufacturing concepts have been around for a few years, thought leaders are now agreeing that Industrie 4.0 is at an inflection point. In a recent issue of CloudComputing News, this passage was particularly striking:

“Manufacturers are gaining the greatest value from Industry 4.0 by creating pilot projects that create flexible, agile, real-time platforms supporting new business models with real-time integration…For manufacturers in cost-sensitive industries, the urgency of translating the vision of digital transformation into results is key to their future growth. The more competitively intense an industry, the more essential real-time integration.”

We are definitely seeing this as we talk to manufacturers who are looking at different ways to accelerate their digitization projects in factories around the world.

Later this month Cisco will be at Hannover Messe, the largest industrial show, highlighting some of the key steps to securely digitizing your operations. Read more about our presence in Martin Dube’s blog here.

If you are planning to attend the conference, plan on catching many interesting sessions in the various forums on the following topics:

  • [Mon April 24 at 10:40 -11:00] Theory of Operations for TSN-based Industrial Systems and Applications by Paul Didier
  • [Weds April 26 at 11:10 -11:35] Automotive Industry Challenges and Opportunities by Martin Dube
  • [Weds April 26 at 16:00 -16:20] Industries Digitization Journey – Realizing New Industry Business Outcomes with IoT by Bryan Tantzen
  • [Fri April 28 at 11:20 -11:40] ‘Smart Connectivity and Data Analytics for Intelligent Process Field Devices with Fog Computing’ by Volker Sorhage
  • [Fri April 28 at 12:30 -13:00] Collaborative human and machine insights & interactions to improve decision support and productivity by Daniel Keely

More information including locations for these sessions can be found here.

In addition, we will have subject matter experts presenting on various topics every ½ hour in our booth theatre in Hall 8, Stand C13 on topics such as:

  • How to Get Started on your IIoT Journey by NYT best selling author and Cisco executive Maciej Kranz
  • Opportunities in the New IoT Industrial Revolution by Bryan Tantzen
  • Standard-based security architecture for control systems in a converged IT/OT environment by Maik Seewald
  • How To Secure Remote Access Needs For Industrial Systems by Robert Albach

We hope to see you at Hannover and we look forward to helping you jump start your Industrie 4.0 strategies and plans.

For more details, check out our event site here.

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Jordan and Pippen. DeMar and Kyle. Magic and Kareem. The Great One and The Moose. Edwin and Jose (…too soon?)

Sports history is filled with dynamic duos. Players who so perfectly complemented each other in skills and personality that they elevated their entire team to greatness. A business is no different. For every Jobs, there is a Wozniak. For every Ben, a Jerry.

To this pantheon of duo-ed greatness we now add Chad from IT (Information Technology) and Stan from OT (Operational Technology). This is their story.

Traditionally, Chad and Stan maintained separate networks within an industrial environment. Chad owned the organization’s technology network and all associated connected devices – computers, phones, video endpoints, and so on. Stan owned the hardware and software that monitored and controlled physical devices such as valves or pumps.

Chad worked in the office. Stan worked in industrial environments. Chad focused on network security. Stan focused on plant productivity.

But that was before the Industrial Internet of Things. Now IT and OT networks are converging, creating new opportunities and driving digital transformation across the manufacturing industry. However, with convergence comes confusion and some organizations don’t yet see the value in bringing together IT and OT leadership.

To those I say: don’t deny yourself this bromance for the ages. Bringing together IT and OT will transform your business.

Your production line will be more efficient, and offline less.

Your network – even on the plant floor – will be more secure.

IT will enable OT to do more, with less. Make this the year you begin your journey on the Industrial Internet of Things. We can help.

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What do the Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Leicester City FC have in common? If you guessed they were all league champions in 2015 or 2016, you’re right. But in addition to winning it all, each had an abundance of team chemistry.

Yes, chemistry. As every sports fan knows, talent wins games. Chemistry wins championships.

Chemistry bonds players from different backgrounds and experiences together, uniting them in a common goal. More often than not, it makes the team more than the sum of its parts. While it’s true the teams listed above had talented – and, in some cases, all-star – players, none were considered the most talented in their league.

Photocredit: nbamixes.com

If talent alone equaled championships, the Miami Heat would have won every season LeBron James played with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

Without chemistry, success is possible – but not plausible.

And just as chemistry elevates a team’s performance, a digital network – the routers and switches that move data – elevates a business’ performance. In manufacturing this is especially true on the plant floor, where the network is the foundation of Industrie 4.0 (also known as the Industrial Internet of Things).

Consider that the right digital foundation elevates your plant floor into a place where you can improve inventory management, streamline operations, better secure intellectual property, reduce waste, and reduce unplanned downtime. And that’s just to start.

Simply put, a digital network makes it possible to achieve things you never thought possible in your factory.

But team chemistry isn’t always easy to achieve. In fact, it can be like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Striking the right balance is key and deliberate decisions are required if a team wants to win it all.

The same is true when laying the foundation for Industrie 4.0. It’s important to consider factors such as how simple your network is to manage, as well as whether it will meet your needs in 10 years, before making a purchasing decision. Otherwise you might have to start all over again real soon.

One of my favorite examples of the difference the network can make is our work with Rockwell Automation for Daimler Truck North America (DTNA). With a Cisco network as the foundation, DTNA has been able to increase agility on the plant floor, maximize uptime, and reduce operating costs. For example, through the wireless network DTNA can perform remote diagnostics via video and troubleshoot issues in real-time.

Watch the video below to learn more:

If you’re ready to take your plant floor to championship heights, we can help. Leave us a comment below and check our website:

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The Industrial IoT brings new promises to the plant floor: lower operating cost, better visibility, and improved Overall Equipment Effectiveness. These results are all in the pot of gold at the end of the IIoT rainbow, but that pot is sometimes hard to find.

Here are the top 7 reasons why I believe IIoT projects fail:

1. Starting too big too fast

If you focus on your entire plant, you will be making success much less likely. Try starting with a smaller project, in a key focus area – perhaps an area that has the most downtime, the most maintenance, the most energy consumption, etc. Keep the project manageable. Make sure you contemplate how to scale – if you are successful, what’s next?

2. Lack of a clear objective

I continue to be surprised by the number of companies diving headfirst into an IIoT journey with no clear goal, objective, or a full understanding of ROI. What is success? Determine what you are trying to achieve and measure it before and after any IIoT implementation. For example, what’s your unplanned downtime today? Where do you want it to be? By when?

3. Lack of internal company alignment

The days where operations can implement networking projects without IT are gone, or at least close to extinction. You can only find the pot of gold together. For example, data analysis might bring new compute requirements where IT can help. IIoT can also bring new security risks – a key area where IT can help, but only by fully understanding operational requirements. You also need executive buy in. Not only can this help you with driving support across your organization, but it may help “grease the skids” for approval by aligning with corporate objectives like Sustainability or Security.

To bring IT and OT together, view our page here.

4. Not understanding and addressing security risks

Connecting to data from the Enterprise or opening up remote access all the way down to the plant floor can potentially open up security risks. With any IIoT project, your attack surface is likely to expand. This is where operations and IT collaborating can bring big value to your organization. Carefully evaluate the potential risks and impact of those risks, then focus on the most serious. Many companies like Cisco can perform assessments to help you evaluate and prioritize those risks. Your entire organization’s IIoT effort may come to a grinding halt if a hacker wreaks havoc in your facility – it’s game over.

Understand potential security challenges by taking our holistic security assessment.

5. Siloed or disparate networks

Make sure you fully understand the different networks in play all the way down to the data you want to capture for analysis.  There’s no disputing that Industrial Ethernet is the de Facto standard today for nearly all control applications. Do you have Controlnet, Devicenet, CAN, or other networks? Do you want to install a “Shmozzle” (technical term, meaning “Varied”!) of different gateways to translate that data to Industrial Ethernet? Or do you want to overlay new equipment to gather data for analysis?

This can create quite a spaghetti of networks and hardware (extra failure points) on your plant floor.  You may decide that extra complexity and risk is not worth it, set a plant floor standard, and explore changing out all controls to a robust standard Industrial Ethernet. With more than 80% of industrial facilities over 20 years old, I’d propose that changing to newer controls with Industrial Ethernet communications is worth the spend. In the long term, it may be more cost effective to replace old machine controls with new ones instead of other options to gather data.

6. Lack of automated analytics

I heard a great quote recently: “Sure you can connect your toaster to the internet, but do you really need to??” Let’s say you are interested in looking at product quality on one of your lines. Although it would be great to correlate the earth’s rotation and hundreds of other potential variables to quality, you don’t want to suffer from data overload. Keep your data set manageable and use basic statistical analysis to look for outlier data. You might consider using edge analytics (fog computing) to reduce the overall data set for later analysis. Work with a partner who has experience with automated analytic software packages designed to look at manufacturing data and glean actionable results from that data.

7. Spiraling cost

Adding gateways, converters, extra wiring, piggy backing extra sensors to get at data, multiple vendors, adding wifi or cellular, adding security, data storage & computational horsepower might all add cost to your IIoT project. In the immortal words of one of my favorite movies, Office Space: “Plan to plan.”

The better you plan out the potential pitfalls to your IIoT project, the more prepared you will be to mitigate surprises later. Companies will either do it right or they will do it over…. which one do you want to be?

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2017 is officially here and it’s an exciting time to be in manufacturing. The industry is continuing to evolve as we see continued discussion around how to improve productivity, performance, and apply smarter analytics to improve overall operations. Manufacturing is also seeing a lot more focus on cybersecurity as more connectivity helps drive innovation, but potentially leads to more risk as industrial systems are now one of the most targeted sectors for attacks.

At Cisco, we have explored many of these topics across several blogs from leading industry experts in manufacturing. This month we are going to elevate things to the next level as we begin a monthly Factory of the Future webinar series. These events will be a mix of Cisco and industry manufacturing experts discussing topics such as cyber threats, secure manufacturing, and IT/OT convergence in the connected factory.

A full list of the topics, speakers, and registration can be found here. All webinars will begin at 11AM EST and will be available on demand if you are unable to attend the live sessions. We will continue to add more topics throughout the year, so be on the lookout for additions to the series.

We hope you will join us and we welcome any feedback on topics you would like to see us cover in this series. Please let us know in the comment section below or tweet us @ciscomfg.

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Manufacturing customers are already gaining insight from IoT data by securely connecting machines and sensors. One example of this is the Israel-based manufacturer Lordan.

Lordan is a manufacturer of thermal-engineering heating and cooling systems and has a global reputation for delivering high-quality custom made designs.

Their Challenge

Lordan needed a manufacturing automation system that could identify bottlenecks, reduce downtime and waste, and improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Requirements included the ability to view overall throughput and track mission-critical manufacturing information in real time directly from the production floor, rather than relying on periodical assessments.

What they wanted was a window into production that would enable them to improve inefficiencies within the plant – a system allowing end to end visibility.

The results were immediate.

In addition, they were able to:

  • Save more than 600 labour hours a month with workforce optimization
  • Identify material-flow bottlenecks immediately and fix issues with mid-shift change management
  • Receive direct cost savings within weeks of the system’s deployment

Amir Aloni, CEO of Leadermes.com, explained why security was top of mind:

“Security issues regarding data connectivity to the cloud have been of the utmost concern to our customers in traditional manufacturing industries. This challenge prevented many manufacturers from moving to a digital factory and optimizing production efficiency. Our partnership with Cisco helped us create a unique industrial data connectivity tool, eliminating the security risks involved in cloud-based data transfer and is enabling us to provide a smart, scalable, plug and play solution with very fast deployment and reduced installation costs.”

Lordan installed the following solution:

  • Cisco converged industrial infrastructure creating a highly reliable intelligent and secure fixed/mobile connectivity solution within the plant
  • Wi-Fi connected, non-disruptive PLCs and sensors on each machine collecting basic yet essential production data

  • Cisco FOG computing networking nodes enabling the LeaderMES application running on it to collate and analyze specific data and securely transmit to the LeaderMES cloud service. Fog enabled localised computing and analytics at the asset

  • This service enables a manufacturing operations management platform, online data analysis, 
live visibility and alarms & alerts

The Cisco AS Solution Validation team (SVS) approached the development of this use case with three major building blocks:

  • R&D addressing the current customer needs while reducing manufacturing floor OPEX and increasing productivity
  • Cisco Product pull through by utilizing the Cisco IOT product line
  • A dedicated day 2 support package via Advance Services

This is made possible using Cisco’s Connected Factory architecture. View the full case study here.

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As I get ready for my presentation on The Factory of the Future, Today: Lessons Learned from Deploying IoT at the Design & Manufacturing Conference, I think the main value I get out of these conferences is networking with peers and staying relevant in a fast-evolving job market. Companies are also having to reinvent themselves and stay relevant in light of Digitization.

I remember when John Chambers predicted that by 2024, 40% of Fortune 500 companies would no longer exist. This was an eye-opener, but seems particularly prophetic given how quickly traditional manufacturing companies are evolving into software-centric organizations.

Source: Creative Commons

These forces of change are even driving traditionally risk-averse corporate IT managers to trial & deploy applications from startups that embrace cloud, smart devices, web applications, analytics, and all those buzz words. This is IoT: the application of internet-technologies to the world of things.

As we evolve our M2M thinking to embrace IoT, applying the principles of design thinking helps ensure we are addressing the right problems.

Innovation = Creativity X Execution

Design Thinking can be traced back to 1969, but the concept really came into its own in the 90’s with the work done at Stanford and IDEO. It is perfect for maximizing the ROI of ambiguous journeys like Digitization because of its emphasis on creativity & problem finding that is suited for dealing with ambiguous outcomes and the need to consider the human element.

Source: Stanford D-School

Rather than blindly assuming that every technology issue is an IoT-shaped problem, Design Thinking can focus on where the IoT can provide a tangible ROI today and how to apply the technology.

I see many design thinking success stories firsthand from my work with customer and partner executives who are monetizing IoT for their businesses. These folks are becoming increasingly valuable to their employers because they combine their knowledge of the problem with a willingness to think outside the box.

I’ll get into more of the details in Minneapolis on the 22nd. I hope to see you there!

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