Technological obsolescence is the most critical challenge faced by MSMEs
Published by : Industrial Automation
What is the kind of impact emerging technologies are having on industrial automation?
New technologies like IoT, Cloud Computing, Industry4.0 and Artificial Intelligence are actually changing the way industries operate, and bringing in a new business model to generate higher revenues. All of these trends involve a lot of devices networked together and a lot of data available to do things. They also include deciding whether data is stored and applications accessed from the computer next to you or from a server located somewhere else.
New technologies are creating tools for the automation industry to use to solve problems, improve operations, and increase productivity. The bottom line is the application of new technology over the years has reduced the total cost of automation system ownership, while increasing the value delivered and creating more possibilities for automation and optimisation.
How is Artificial Intelligence helping the cause of fully autonomous manufacturing?
Autonomous manufacturing is characterised by autonomous intelligent sensing, interconnection, collaboration, learning, analysis, cognition, decision-making, control, and execution of human, machine, material, environment, and information in the whole system and life cycle.
AI technology facilitates the development of new models, means, and forms, system architecture, and technology systems in the domain of intelligent manufacturing. The deep integration of the application of these models, means, and forms will ultimately form an ecosystem of intelligent manufacturing.
Obviously, the autonomous manufacturing system is a kind of intelligent manufacturing networked services system based on a ubiquitous network and its combination, which integrates human/machine/goods/environment/information and provides resources and capacities for intelligent manufacturing and on-demand services at any time and any place. It is a networked intelligent manufacturing system based on ‘Internet (cloud) plus resources and capacities for intelligent manufacturing’ that integrates human, machine, and goods.
Despite the many advantages, there are trust issues when it comes to Cloud Computing. Are the fears exaggerated?
Indeed! Yes it is due to various reasons. The majority of cloud computing providers do not consider security as one of their most important responsibilities. Organisations that outsource to a cloud vendor often times make their choices based on price instead of security. Often this transition involves multiplying the number of IT admins with access to the company's data several-fold and without proper admin controls. This is really scary.
If an organisation is going to move processing to the cloud, they prioritise and oversee security at cloud vendors, insist on reporting and improve protections of even less sensitive data. If cloud computing providers don't consider security one of their top responsibilities, then the fears around cloud security are bound to be real.
Can a technology like Blockchain reduce the inefficiencies in manufacturing operations, especially in supply chain?
Of course yes, as it is technology which provides transparency of information anytime, anywhere and to anyone on network. New blockchain-enabled platforms will allow easy coordination of documents on a shared distributed ledger, making physical paperwork largely unnecessary. By using smart contracts, approvals and customs clearance can be quicker and more efficient, reducing processing times for goods at customs checkpoints. Blockchain technology provides a scalable, immediate solution for order tracking and authentication.
Some companies are already implementing Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications, which essentially allow for multiple freight vehicles to form a platoon and communicate, improving fuel efficiency and safety. With the blockchain, shippers can post time stamped loads that are recorded and verified by the decentralised network. Because of this, a particular load cannot be duplicated and the data will maintain its integrity. This also eliminates the need for a middleman in the form of a broker, because the block chain can authenticate load data, prevent duplication, and make it visible to load boards.
Is the pace of technology too overwhelming for most enterprises, especially MSMEs? Yes, technological obsolescence, keeping pace with new technology has been the most critical challenge faced by the MSMEs. With so much technological transformation happening around, it is natural to feel overwhelmed – both as individuals and within organisations. Lack of preparedness, lack of awareness about upcoming technologies, prioritisation and kind of investment involved, it becomes challenging for enterprises to keep up with pace of changing technologies. Although few may try to adopt new technologies quickly but getting appropriate skilled resources to implement and maintain, innovate always remained time consuming and one of prominent hurdle in adopting new technologies.
What should be the roadmap companies should follow in adopting these technologies?
Technology road mapping is an important method that has become integral to creating and delivering strategy and innovation in many organisations. Below is a suggested roadmap for Adopting Industry 4.0 Technologies (see graphic).
Pravin Bambal is a Business Technology Leader with 18 years of successful career in Leadership, Strategies, and Consulting with tech giants like Siemens, IBM, etc., in industry verticals like FMCG, Chemicals, Pharma, Metal and Automotive. He has multi-faceted client relationship experience with customers across USA, EU, Middle East and the Asia Pacific geography. A versatile professional and business leader having significant contributions in heading practices like manufacturing excellence, industry 4.0, and centre of excellence for manufacturing industries, Praveen is recognised as Prominent Speaker and Panellist at IoT, Smart Industry Conferences, and I4.0 events; provided PoV (Point of View), Technical Reviews, BVA’s (Business Value Adds), and so on.
Armed with a string of degrees – MS – Consultancy Management (BITS Pilani), MBA – Marketing (JBIMS-Mumbai) and BE – Instrumentation (Mumbai), Pravin has performed