Ford tests software to watch factories from afar

December 22, 2013
MANUFACTURING
Ford pilots software to navigate factories

Ford is piloting cloud-based software that allows engineers to virtually navigate 3-D mock-ups of its far-flung assembly plants.

Powered by Siemens, the software, called IntoSite, uses location technology from Google Earth. Users can walk through plants to see various steps in the manufacturing process. It is operational at Ford’s assembly plant in Wayne, Mich.

IntoSite could help engineers understand manufacturing processes and identify problems or inefficiencies, Ford engineer Marty Smets said in a YouTube video demonstrating the technology.

“Under the Ford production system, we are constantly looking for ways to improve standard­ization around the globe,” John Fleming, Ford executive vice president of global manufacturing, said in a statement.

— Mohana Ravindranath

CLOUD COMPUTING
Amazon brings Web services to China

Amazon.com announced last week that it plans to offer Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing platform, in China.

The service is set to launch in 2014. AWS’s China Region Cloud would allow customers to run applications and store data on computers based in China, which could be useful to businesses required to store information in the country, according to Amazon. Currently, companies must use AWS services based in the United States or other regions.

AWS China has partnered with Chinese businesses including ChinaNetCenter and SINNET to provide bandwidth, infrastructure and network capabilities.

(Amazon.com chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

— Mohana Ravindranath

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