Rajesh Rathi....‘Solutions do exist but they need skilled manpower’
Rajesh Rathi, Managing Director, Control Infotech Pvt Ltd, on what are the issues facing industry in embracing IIoT.
Control Infotech Pvt Ltd
issues facing industry in embracing IIoT.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
IIoT is said to have the potential to transform every aspect of manufacturing. What is the vendors’ perspective here?
The value proposition of IIoT is the availability of large amount of frequently sampled data from multiple data points communicated at high speed and stored in literally unlimited storage capacity destinations as one single stream.
This enables not only simultaneous analysis of the data from multiple sensors but also over extended periods of time using modern Big Data Analytics tools. The conclusions are more often now data driven than mathematical models.
Vendors have recognised the potential of this 4th industrial revolution and are racing to bring their offerings to the market at a rapid rate.
However, the vendors suffer from the availability of manpower skilled in implementing interoperable middleware tools especially with legacy systems. There is also shortage of business and operational consultants who can articulate the value propositions of IIoT to the users.
Digital transformation is the key to success in IIoT. Are the user industries ready for this?
The availability of real data and analytics driven is making Operational and Business decision making in near real time possible.
Businesses that do not transform themselves to take advantage of these resources are likely to fall behind in competition. This has been widely recognised.
However, the user industry suffers from ageing manpower that will need a mindset change to realise the worth of the data driven work culture. The value proposition of the IIoT enabled Operational and Business decisions need to be clearly identified and the RoI clearly articulated by the proponents of IIoT on the user side for it to be recognised as the way to go into future.
While the advantages of IIoT can be overwhelming, it is often the case that manufacturers are in a dilemma where to begin. Is this the reality?
Yes this is a reality because of the ‘all pervasive’ nature of the IIoT applications.
The best place to start for manufacturers will be to identify the current PAIN points first before they go after the GAIN points to apply IIoT solutions to.
Do vendors have enough use cases to convince a fence sitting manufacturing enterprise?
Yes they do. To mention a few:
- Sales trends driven manufacturing capacity allocations
- Just-in-time inventory management
- Remote plant or factory operational visualisation
- Remote alert/alarm management
- Energy and Operational efficiency calculations
- Predictive maintenance, and
- Root Cause Analysis and data driven remedial suggestions.
- Real time vendor alerts and automated order placement for just-in-time delivery.
Ideally, for a typical user, legacy equipment is a big consideration as to how to start the digital transformation. Are there solutions for this?
Yes solutions do exist but they need especially skilled engineers for their smooth implementation. Currently there is a dearth of such manpower.
Is it possible to start small, and then scale up the implementation?
Yes and that is exactly how it should be done.
After defining a use case at first the connectivity for all the existing equipment related with the project must be verified with the freely available licenses of the connectivity software and inexpensive networking hardware. Only when this phase is through must investment be made in the more expensive application and cyber security software, cloud subscriptions and infrastructure, networking and security components and analytical tools.
In addition, the recognition of value of data and connectivity technologies have been around for quite some time. The key game changer enabling IIoT has been the wide availability of high speed internet, large data storage and wide choice of analytical tools, all available at value for money investments. That said, cybersecurity still remains the biggest hesitation for the complete adoption of this new resource.
Rajesh Rathi, Technocrat Entrepreneur, after working in the USA and Japan for multinational companies in the early years, turned to self-employment in 1990, and has been working in the domains of Industrial and Power Automation. Rajesh leads the CI Group of Companies that have operations in above domains in India and the USA.
Graphic caption: Graphic for illustration only. Source: CB Insights
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