Organizations with asset-intensive businesses have traditionally invested more in their operational technology than in IT. Many of these organizations still carry decades-old legacy systems and processes. Back then data was either never tapped or tapped manually. For this reason, determining causes and taking corrective measures is usually costly and time-consuming; especially in the absence of intelligent systems.
Today, the manufacturing sector is faced with high expense and less efficient production mechanism. These legacy systems, therefore, are deterrents to enablement of IoT and digital transformation in these traditional manufacturing setups.
It is becoming imperative to embrace digital to meet changing customer expectations, reduce costs, and respond to competitive threats. According to a report by Roland Berger, one of the greatest obstacles in Germany is cost-cutting. Most of the managers surveyed (43%) admitted that the primary goal of a digital transformation to them would be reducing cost. Increasing revenue from existing or new products was lower on the list at 10% and 32% respectively.
Most industries are adopting ways of reducing OPEX and increasing productivity while decreasing the intervention of manual labor. It might seem too soon to declare that the next industrial revolution is upon us but the adoption of digital technologies has grown to the point where we’re ready for yet another massive change: Industry 4.0.
Interconnectivity of machines and sensors by communications technologies has resulted in systems that can monitor, collect, exchange, analyze, and deliver valuable insights like never before. These insights can then help drive smarter, faster business decisions thereby evolving into smart factories or more intelligent machines. Seamless transfer of large data is possible only when sensors work independent of human intervention. Therefore, one way to look at it is that connectivity and sensor enablement of lifeless machines is nothing but the Internet of things or IoT.
With machines being connected and intelligent systems in place, the possibility of achieving 100% automated factories does not seem to be in the distant future. The WEF (World Economic Forum) reports that by 2022, 1 trillion sensors will be connected to the internet, unleashing a torrent of data.
“IoT has catalyzed the tapping of existing data faster and in significant volumes”
As recently as 2010, augmented reality (AR) was just a hot computer trend. Today the AR/VR market in applications like diagnostics, predictions, remote asset monitoring, is penetrating deep in the manufacturing industries. The Internet of Things will also give greater visibility and accuracy across the whole supply chain. This will enable businesses to identify and pinpoint potential issues throughout their processes, and deal with them accordingly. Using AR/VR technology, Field Service Operators (FSOs) will have the ability to fix a field situation ‘first time right’. Smart helmets and integration of wearable devices find application in such situations for safety, productivity improvement, remote asset monitoring to name a few.
IoT has catalysed the tapping of existing data faster and in significant volumes. IoT is one of the key factors that have pushed adoption of digital transformation. When IoT technologies are applied to the manufacturing industry, we call it the Industrial Internet of Things. Industrial IoT continues to disrupt the way machines & human collaborate.
How IoTized devices help in the digital transformation?
IoT is driving the digital transformation making use of devices that have proved to be the most efficient, secure, and seamless way of tapping data by being present in the environment minus the manual intervention. Industrial wearable devices like flexible exoskeleton suit, personal light tracker, smart glasses, body worn camera, Wi-Fi tags, headsets, finger-worn barcode scanner, wrist worn computer, AR smart glass, and smart helmets among others help in achieving one standard goal – ensuring safety and enhancing productivity.
Additionally, allowing devices to communicate has many benefits for the manufacturing industry, including improved decision-making, increased productivity, more efficient energy management, better inventory management, and lower cost product individualization.
The IIoT eco-system is expanding rapidly with the advent of new technologies and addition of new players in this market. The need for ecosystem partners is driven by problem statements such as cyber-security connected to data management. The manufacturing organizations can neither de-focus from their core work of manufacturing to address these issues nor build these competencies ground-up easily. Therefore, it becomes prudent to build a partner ecosystem of technology drivers and enablers.
Key players driving industrial transformation can leverage tech-companies like Sasken for several innovative and enabling technologies that have emerged within IoT, including:
- Connectivity and sensor enablement
- Cloud computing and virtualization
Technology enablers like Sasken Technologies, drive this transformation right from engineering IoTized products to providing actionable insights. Manufacturing majors today work with Sasken for unified solutions for asset management via predictive maintenance, statistical evaluation, and measurements to help increase reliability or in use cases such as field service optimization where down time reduction and solving field issues ‘first-time-right’ are of paramount importance.
Sasken’s product engineering and digital transformation services are enabling industrial companies by designing and building connected and data platforms, embedding intelligence into manufacturing operations to make a smart factory and engaging with customers and employees utilizing mobile and social to obtain insights on their needs and increase productivity.
No industry can remain immune to a digital transformation, and Sasken is delighted to be at the forefront of this rapidly emerging technological trend, working with customers across a diverse range of sectors (Factory Floor to Satellite) to deliver highly innovative IoT applications and solutions.
This article has been authored by:
Senior VP and Global Head,
Automotive and Industrial Business Units,
Sasken Technologies Limited.