Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Cisco IoT packages target utilities, oil and gas industries

Steve Rogerson
October 20, 2015
Utilities, oil and gas are key industries Cisco is targeting with the launch of four separate IoT packages. The aim is to help users connect machines and assets, break through information silos, and digitise data in an integrated way across the business.
Additionally, Cisco has announced an industrial IoT security system to mitigate the risk of system disruption and efficiently assure compliance.
To remain competitive, industries such as manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas, and transportation need to increase productivity, deliver more value, and create better experiences for customers and end users. Some of the greatest obstacles to efficiency are operational silos.
Silos separate people, machines, systems, information and complete areas of a business; they separate information from operational technology. Breaking through silos with a more holistic and connected architecture connects people, streamlines communications and drives a more agile operation.
In manufacturing, a connected architecture can redefine secure, efficient and visible operations. This enables rapid, standards-based, repeatable machine connectivity, and global factory integration while enabling OEM digitisation and new business models, including highly secure remote access, monitoring and serviceability of machines.
Fanuc America and Cisco intend to implement this to enable robot connectivity and analytics for proactive maintenance. At a recent event in San Jose, high-tech manufacturer Flex outlined how it is already using the connected machines system and Fanuc robots to drive efficiency and quality in its operations. Cisco is also announcing a series of bundles to simplify and accelerate infrastructure digitisation for factory networks, factory wireless and factory security.
“Preventing unplanned downtime is a huge savings for our customers and makes the Fanuc robots with ZDT a tremendous value,” said Rick Schneider, North America CEO at Fanuc. “With Cisco, we are helping our customers access this new value and also re-imagining our go-to-market strategy for after-sales service and support. This has the potential to have the biggest impact of anything I’ve seen in my 35-year career.”
Murad Kurwa, senior vice president at Flex, added: “Cisco’s vision of the power of industrial IoT was realised through joint collaboration using automation as the enabler. With universal mechanical assembly process partnering with Fanuc, we are now able to get data to create a pool of knowledge. This helps us take action through analytics and ultimately leads to a more robust process performance, leading to a world class, smart factory."
A connected, highly secure architecture that allows oil and gas companies more control over their pipelines helps protect assets from accidents or cyber-attacks. Operations are safer, more efficient – and more secure. Schneider Electric and Cisco are collaborating to bring the smart connected pipeline to market, and are already working with customers such as Italian multinational oil and gas company ENI.
Patrick Albos, senior vice president at Schneider Electric, said: “The smart connected pipeline brings scada and IT infrastructure together in a converged, secure, easy to deploy and use platform, and brings significant business value in optimising and reducing cost of pipeline operations.”
A connected and timely substation security architecture enables highly-secure power grids for reliable, more efficient service across the utilities industry. Power grids need additional layers of safety and security. Utility companies in North America must comply with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP) version five mandated standards. South Carolina utility Scana will be the first to deploy Cisco’s substation security, which is designed to enable utilities to comply with these regulations.
“With new regulatory requirements, including NERC CIP compliance, and a commitment to cyber security, Scana is continually modernising our systems and our grid for increased reliability and to better protect against cyber-threats,” said Randy Senn, CIO at Scana. “We look to our technology partners, such as Cisco, for digital technology to help comply with those regulations, stay safe and effectively enable operational technology.”
A connected architecture will enable the delivery of greater safety, mobility and a better passenger experience in mass transit systems. Through a converged network architecture that is based on the Cisco IoT system, transit systems can enhance automation, collaboration, video, cloud-to-fog agility and business intelligence. From the management control centre to the transit station – onto the roads, the rails and on-board mass transit vehicles themselves – this puts safety and security first. Situated on the River Danube, the Austrian City of Linz is implementing this to streamline operations across its tram network.
Georg Linhard, project manager for Linz Telekom, said: “We decided to build on our existing Cisco network and channel its agility and simplicity to incorporate new security, mobile and analytics technologies that help us achieve our goals and gain greater business insight.”
The IoT security portfolio helps deliver secure connectivity, visibility and control to assure that IoT initiatives deliver competitive advantage for users across all verticals. The portfolio includes IoT-specific security with the introduction of a dedicated security appliance (ISA-3000 for application visibility, policy enforcement and threat defence) and a fog data services security system.
With this announcement, the IoT network can now act as a sensor and enforcer to provide security policy enforcement within routers and switches. It also provides IoT physical security with video surveillance cameras, physical access control and a video surveillance manager with security analytics. Cisco plans to continue to expand its IoT security offering through additional developments and collaboration with ecosystem partners including Rockwell Automation.
“The Cisco IoT system security will make an immediate impact for customers by accelerating secure IT-OT convergence with end-to-end security, simplifying compliance and mitigating threat vectors,” said Sujeet Chand, senior vice president and CTO at Rockwell Automation. “Together with Cisco, we are helping industrial operations maintain the integrity and confidentially of their network in support of holistic enterprise risk management strategies throughout a connected enterprise.”