CISCO's Connected Industries Business Unit poised for growth |

CISCO's Connected Industries Business Unit poised for growth

August 272012
CISCO's Connected Industries Business Unit poised for growth
Reaching beyond EtherNet/IP (CIP)
August 2012
By Bill Lydon, Editor
Cisco’s newly-formed Connected Industries Business Unit announced the Industrial Ethernet IE 2000 switch series for industrial applications. The Cisco Connected Industries business unit was created to help customers realize the benefits of the transition to Ethernet and IP in manufacturing plants.   The Cisco IE 2000 industrial switch portfolio was formally unveiled at Hanover Messe 2012 and the complete line of industrial networking solutions from its Connected Industries Business Unit were displayed including the Cisco switching solutions developed in collaboration with Rockwell Automation.   
Industrial Ethernet IE 2000
The Industrial Ethernet IE 2000 switch series is described as a cornerstone product for the company’s newly formed Connected Industries Business Unit and CISCO’s industrial network offering. These products enable customers to build intelligent networks for industrial automation, delivering highly secure, scalable connectivity from plant floor to enterprise network. The company affirmed its commitment to provide intelligent networks that simplify the deployment of security, video and voice services for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications on the manufacturing floor and industrial IP networks. The Cisco IE 2000 industrial switch data sheet notes that it has support for EtherNet/IP based on the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) and PROFINETv2 - allowing integration with existing platforms from Rockwell, Siemens, and other industrial protocols.
Product Highlights
  • 4, 8, or 16 10/100Base-T Ethernet ports fixed configurations
  • 2x Gigabit Combo ports, SFP or RJ45 uplink
  • Dual-input DC power supply, alarm relays, DIN rail mount
  • Conformal coating available
  • Industrial partner applications: EtherNet/IP and PROFINET
  • Support for integration with existing management platforms from Rockwell, Siemens, and others.
  • Operating Temperature -40C to +70C (Vented Enclosure Operating); -20C to +60C (Sealed Enclosure Operating)
CISCO Connected Industries Business Unit
During Hannover Messe 2012, I had an informative discussion with CISCO’s Connected Industries Business Unit leaders Maciej Kranz, Vice President and General Manager and Stuart W. Robinson, Head of Industrial Automation World Wide Borderless Network Sales. The new Connected Industries Business Unit is focused on an architectural approach around applications starting with discrete manufacturing, oil & gas, mining, and transportation.   Kranz believes industrial manufacturing is going through a major transformation to open Ethernet driven by big data through factory automation, asset management and the convergence of IT with manufacturing. Robinson discussed their key partners today for the industrial markets including Rockwell Automation, Emerson, Honeywell, ABB, systems integrators, and EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) companies. He said, “The goal is to eventually amalgamate the operational network with the enterprise network.” They both noted that the industrial opportunity is potentially bigger than IT when you consider “…the number of end devices that need to be connected is many times more than on the IT side…” In our discussion they confirmed that this included M2M connection of field devices. CISCO also plans to broaden support for 802.15.4, 6LoWPAN-based wireless devices including WirelessHART, ISA100 and WIA-PA.
I asked them about the relationship with Rockwell Automation, and they replied, “We will continue to work with Rockwell very closely.”  They acknowledged that they learned a great deal about the industrial market by working with Rockwell Automation over the years. They also noted work with other companies such as Honeywell who uses the CISCO Aironet 1552 Access Point with Honeywell’s OneWireless solution to provide wireless coverage for both Wi-Fi and ISA100.11.
Thoughts & Observations
It is clear that CISCO is taking a broader view of the industrial market to encompass all industrial protocols – an approach that is consistent with the growth of Ethernet in industrial automation. With the integration of industrial operations with enterprise computing, it is undoubtedly an area for CISCO to broadly pursue. I have gathered in this conversation and in others over the last few years with many CISCO people that they clearly believe in the vision of IP to the edge, with processing power residing at the sensor level.
CISCO has developed the Visual Network Index (VNI) forecast model to estimate future global IP traffic growth that indicates by 2016 there will be nearly 2 billion machine-to-machine wireless connections. CISCO believes this growth leads to a transition they refer to as “The Industrialization of the Internet,” that will accelerate the networking industry beyond the IT and service provider (SP) networks in industries such as manufacturing and transportation.
I believe CISCO is working to become a major trusted networking product and service provider, reaching from plant floor to enterprise. With the proliferation of industrial Ethernet protocols, it is logical for CISCO to reach beyond the Rockwell Automation community. They are reaching out to a broad base of potential partners including many automation companies, systems integrators, and EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) companies.
This is yet another sign of the convergence of the plant floor with enterprise IT.
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