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Most recent posts by "Brian Oulton"

Infrastructure - More than a Big Word
Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Brian Oulton on September 20, 2012

A good friend and co-worker recently said the tone of a recent article I wrote was “snarky”. I’ll take the best definition I could find… “mildly sarcastic and pointed” as his intention since he really liked what I wrote. For you that means that I avoid the big pretty words, keep it simple and tell it like it is… or how it should be. That’s how I’d like to learn about things – I’m guessing you’re the same. So here goes my first exception to the rule by talking about a big word…. Infrastructure!

You’ll see a lot of discussion from Belden about industrial Ethernet infrastructure. That’s code for “a network you designed” and the opposite of “a bunch of switches I strung together that works”. While Ethernet is awesome and often lets you add switches until something breaks, there are some exceptional reasons to design a real industrial network infrastructure:

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What I'd Do About Workforce Changes
Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Brian Oulton on November 26, 2012

Baby Boomers are retiring, we've gone through tough economic times and companies that are rebounding have very conservative rehire policies. In this video, I discuss the difficulty of quickly developing domain experts and my plan for successfully staffing your industrial company.



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A Foundation for Industrial Progress
Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Brian Oulton on January 22, 2013

Editor's Note: This is part one of a five part series.

Opportunities for progress are materializing faster than ever - with no turning back - and companies that don't take advantage will soon find themselves too far behind to play catch up.

With industrial businesses looking to speed and efficiency as key differentiators, the likelihood of success falls to the reliability, capability and flexibility of its communication system. In a recent infographic, our team detailed just how big a role industrial Ethernet plays in helping to capitalize on key tech trends.

To complement the graphic, we've written four posts, each one featuring a key driver behind industrial advancement: innovation, efficiency, agility and risk. Let's dive into innovation first.

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A Foundation for Industrial Progress, Part Two
Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Brian Oulton on January 29, 2013

Last week, we discussed how manufacturers are upping their game with innovative technologies. This week, we want to dive into another key area: efficiency.

Consider this scenario: concerned about a sudden breach in security, IT automatically resets everyone's password without notifying operations. The result? Disaster on the production line – inventory lost, specialized machines damaged, business flow hugely disrupted – and worse, injured employees.

It's an extreme case, but not unheard of, and not far off from what our teams see in the field every day. As an IT or operations professional, building an infrastructure designed to absorb this type of disruption, and improve workflow, is critical in making a real impact for your business. Easier said than done, right?

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A Foundation for Industrial Progress, Part Four
Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Brian Oulton on February 12, 2013

Editor’s Note: This is part four of a five-part series.

In 2012, poor security enforcement cost the manufacturing industry approximately $6 million a day – tallying up to $20 billion for the year. This includes losses in revenue, brand damage, compliance fines and lost productivity.

When you also take into account costs that are harder to quantify, such as lost intellectual property (IP) or personal injury, the message is clear – you can’t afford the risk associated with ignoring security.

Innovative technologies, while increasing efficiency, have simultaneously introduced new threats of cyber sabotage to the factory floor. The growing sophistication of malicious malware requires advanced hardware protection, especially for targets of cyberattacks aimed at nation states, such as energy, water and transportation systems.

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A Foundation for Industrial Progress, Part Five
Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Brian Oulton on February 19, 2013

Editor’s Note: This is the final post of a five-part series.

At its annual ITxpo in October, Gartner predicted that manufacturing will spend more than $3.7 trillion on technologyimprovements in 2013. By 2015, that figure is expected to grow to $4 trillion.

Rapid growth in technology is dramatically changing the way manufacturers do business. Innovative technologies, like the iPad and other mobile devices, are providing greater mobility on the factory floor―helping IT and operations departments get their jobs done.

Asset optimization and increased collaboration between IT and operations (with the help of these innovative tools) are also driving organizational efficiency, bringing down costs and improving workflow dramatically.

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Security Simply Seuss
Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Brian Oulton on March 11, 2013

The boss showed up and said, “Learn what you can,
‘cause you are in charge of our security plan.
I know nothing about it and neither do you,
There’s no budget, no team… it’s just me and you!

Please do your best with it, we have to win,
‘cause our company’s toast if the bad guys get in.”
I looked for a guru, but couldn’t find him,
So I settled for drinks with my co-worker Jim.

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It’s Time to Put Industrial Wireless on the Front Burner
Blog Category: Industrial Ethernet

Posted by: Brian Oulton on September 19, 2013

Whether on the front burner or back burner, implementing wireless for your industrial application is probably somewhere on your stove top. Before you simmer, boil or decide to toss the whole concoction out, I urge you to take another look.

Today's standard 802.11N wireless LAN technology is the technology tipping point that makes it stable, reliable, fast, and a lot easier to deploy in industrial applications.

To help you evaluate today’s industrial wireless, consider the following eight key points.

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