‘Connectivity and collaboration are the game changers’
-G Ganapathiraman, Country Manager, ARC Advisory Group, India
ARC Advisory Group
Market research and consultancy
Is the industry ready for this revolution?
It’s too late to ask if industry is ready for the Industry 4.0 revolution – we are already in the midst of the tidal wave. The Industry 4.0 concept focuses more on enterprise-wide business process automation which can create a "smart factory.” Many industrial, energy, and public sector organisations are progressing along their own Industry 4.0 journeys and are at different levels in the maturity curve. This transformation will be widespread and far reaching. Information technology (IT), operational technology (OT), engineering technology (ET), supply chain, asset management, services, and customer-facing systems will all be impacted. Discrete manufacturing, process industries, utilities, energy, infrastructure, and more are already beginning the transformation.
Will a piecemeal approach work, or does it call for total revamping of the business model?
Both approaches would work – in my opinion, it depends on the industry and its applications. A piecemeal approach would work in certain process industries, which are more conservative and would like to cost-justify each procedure before the next technology or step is implemented. Whereas, a total revamp of the business model will be feasible in global software companies or automotive components – where all processes need to be synchronised and on par.
Based on the Industry 4.0 paradigm and leveraging new technologies across the complete value chain, it is possible to increase the flexibility of the production line, and shorten production lead times. This leads to more affordable and scalable customisation.
What about implementation in brownfield projects?
Yes, companies can facilitate this change in their brownfield projects with the necessary technologies. If they don’t do that they will lag behind the greenfield projects. Industry 4.0 disrupts the value chain and requires companies to rethink their business strategies. So what is needed is a radical mindset change and the willingness to accept that old technologies which have worked so far are now obsolete. Connectivity and collaboration are the game changers and drive businesses globally. Industry 4.0 facilitates end-to-end optimisation of the information and processes and eliminates inefficiencies and wastage.
Are the issues of security of the data adequately addressed?
In today’s increasingly connected world data is king and protecting it is paramount. Although many companies claim to have inbuilt cybersecurity there are many areas of vulnerability. Issues concerning data security constantly need upgradation. It works like this – as technologies advance so does the expertise of hackers. By 2022, CSO (an online magazine for Chief Security Officers) reports that more than 6 billion people will be connected online; this increase in internet traffic in terms of people and devices will provide cyber criminals more opportunities for infiltration and attacks.
Most industrial managers recognise that a cyber incident could jeopardise the safety, continuity, and profitability of their operations. Many have invested in basic defensive technologies, like anti-malware software and firewalls, and best practices recommended by automation suppliers and security consultants. This should protect operations from common hackers and may be adequate for low-risk operations that can tolerate disruptions. But it is not enough for critical infrastructure facilities facing the threat of advanced, targeted attacks. These organisations need to continuously monitor systems and investigate any suspicious behaviour.
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