Smart, connected factories to make India

Smart, connected factories to make India

Smart, connected factories to make India

From steam-powered factories to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), manufacturing has witnessed a sea of change in bringing efficiency, cost of production, time consumption and workers’ contribution, among others. While the Industrial Revolution during the 18th century brought in new dynamism via machines in textile, steam engines and steel making, IIoT is making an overwhelming impact on production processes by integrating industrial machinery with software, and internet, supported by network sensors, actuators and other industrial components.

IIoT, also called Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0, is expected to foster growth and competitiveness in manufacturing, and is a huge business opportunity for companies to come up with solutions that will pave the way for that. The concept has brought pace in the transformational journey of industries such as manufacturing, retail, and transportation, among others.

According to Deloitte India Senior Director P N Sudarshan, IIoT will have a demand and supply side impact across the globe. “Besides the B2B sector, where machine-to-machine analytics will play a major role, IIoT will also impact the consumer-facing industries. eCommerce (for real-time analytics of consumer behaviour), healthcare (with wearables for analysis), and even education,” he said.

On the supply side, Sudarshan said that the solutions will hail from startup companies, while platforms will be from enterprise solution providers like IBM, Intel, Cisco, Broadcom, etc. “IIoT is really at an early stage of growth, and it will make an impact over a wide variety of sectors. The early adopters, and its technology impact will be weighed later.

Since sensors and cloud are becoming ubiquitous, more sectors will get affected by this. India is also in the early stage of adoption,” he said.

Advances and maturity of technology over the years in the areas like sensors, devices, embedded software, communication, connectivity, big data and analytics, etc, have resulted in mass production, affordability and mass deployment of IoT adoption across industry verticals over the last few years. While IIoT adoption is contained and gradually due to brown field environment, IoT in the consumer space is beyond imagination. Clearly the adoption of IoT has seen an exponential increase in the industry delivering business value.

The world is moving towards a situation where everything that can be imagined is literally getting ‘connected’. IoT is already becoming the next evolution of the Internet, with its dynamic ability to gather, analyse and distribute data into information and knowledge. IoT is the most talked-about technology currently, and is poised for exponential growth in the coming years, mostly because of its ability to provide convenience, asset usability, operational excellence and better customer experience to end-users through automation, exchange data over Internet, and enabling useful business insights.

Sujoy Brahmachari,  Senior General Manager at Hero MotoCorp Information System, said that Industrie 4.0 can play a major role in manufacturing, where volume plays a more important role. “We have been availing various components of Industrie 4.0 in our production units. Hero MotorCorp brings out a motorcycle every 18 seconds, and these technologies help us sustain as a volume player. We are also upgrading our manufacturing units to cope with the growing volume game,” he said.

Brahmachari said that deployment of IT cannot be the right solution for all the ills affecting manufacturing. “We should look into the right technologies that will enhance productivity and increase the competence of the product brought out by the company. Using the data generated at every point, we can locate the problems and enhance productivity,” he said.

Besides massive global impact on productivity, jobs and quality of human life, IIoT is definitely on its way to be adopted by many global firms in their quest to connect the digital and physical worlds. IoT would not only help the services industry in reducing costs, but also aid in preventing downtime of machines, improve the efficiency of the entire value chain, decrease energy consumption, and improve customer service.

Automation opportunities
It would also create the automation opportunities where human intervention is difficult, due to hazardous environmental conditions, for instance, in mine fields, reactors, and so on. In healthcare, it would create the opportunity of remote patient monitoring that would change the dynamics of treatment. Usage-based insurance using wearables or dongles can change how insurance companies are designing their policies — both in life and non-life insurance domains.

Bosch Automotive Aftermarket Regional President Guenter Weber said that the company wants to contribute towards making automotive technology experience safer, cleaner, and economical. “Indian consumers are evolving and looking for affordable driving, fuel economy, social maintenance, informed drivability, and more individuality. Smart mobility and aggregators have made a deeper impact on the consumer. So there should be need for disruptions and new platforms where consumers can be taken on board,” he said.

Weber said that IoT has changed the technology landscape dramatically. “Connecting devices and things through the Internet opens up new insights and services that will impact the world in a significant manner. Bosch’s connected vehicle ecosystem delivers real-time data and analysis of the vehicle to the customer, directly and instantly to manage their vehicles and processes efficiently,” he said.

IBM Chief Architect (Internet of Things, Cloud, Analytics) Shalini Kapoor said that IIoT will gain mostly through operational efficiency gains from initiatives like smart factories and connected supply chains. “Industry can gain from the benefits of new solutions as there will be increase in output with effective maintenance provided by IoT solutions and predictive maintenance provided through real-time analytics over sensor events,” said Kapoor.

She said that IBM has several clients in IIoT space. “Michelin has increased productivity by improving the reliability of equipment worldwide. Boeing makes intelligent decisions about service delivery by using IBM IoT Analytics solutions. Even the National Grid has been working with IBM on a more intelligent approach to strategic asset management,” said Kapoor.

IBM said that organisations worldwide, across industries, use its IoT solutions, like seven out of 10 of the largest automotive companies, the top eight of the largest oil and gas companies, 11 of the 20 largest diversified utility companies, six out of the 10 largest energy companies. Eleven out of twelve major aerospace and defence companies use its solutions.

 When asked about the impact of IIoT on Make in India, she said it will definitely change the manufacturing landscape in the country. “We have several automotive companies, and factories where several point solutions can be deployed to boost efficiency, optimise cost and improve productivity. We are at the maturity curve where Indian companies are talking about the factory of the future, connected operations and connected cars,” she said.

Infosys Senior VP and Global Head of Engineering Services Sudip Singh opined that IoT is already becoming the next evolution of the Internet with its dynamic ability to gather, analyse and distribute data into information and knowledge. “IoT is going to be the next face of industrialisation. It spans across consumer and industrial ecosystems and with tremendous market for IoT across almost all the industry segments including automotive, aerospace, healthcare, consumer products, manufacturing, energy and utilities, and telecommunications.

Commenting on Infosys’ contribution to IIoT, he said that the company is an ecosystem integrator. “Apart from its strong engineering, industry vertical expertise and IT skills, the company has a well-established ecosystem of partners in the areas of sensors, devices, machine-to-machine platform, and device management platforms,” he said.  Infosys has invested and developed an open source-based big data and analytics platform named Infosys Information Platform (IIP) that provides insights to enterprises for informed decision-making, supported by industry-specific analytical models.

Impact on workforce
According to a new market research report — the ‘IIoT Market by Technology (Wired, Wireless), Components (Sensors, Memory & Processors, Networking Components, RFID & others), Industry Verticals (Manufacturing, Transportation, Retail, Healthcare & others), & Geography - Global Forecast to 2020’, the Industrial IoT market size was worth $181.29 billion in 2013, and is expected to reach $319.62 billion at a CAGR of 8.15 per cent, from 2014 to 2020. According to IDC, the worldwide market for IoT solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013, to $7.1 trillion by 2020.

 But there are doomsayers who find that IIoT is not suited for India, as the country has enough workforce to run factories. In response, Deloitte’s Sudarshan said, “Rather than reducing the human intervention, IIoT will help enhance industrial production as technology is designed and applied to empower people rather than replace them. Also, those which cannot be performed by humans can be carried out by IIoT. We need humans wherever it is required. We can’t do away with it, and there is no need for panicking,” he said.

As the government is going for an all-out effort to make the country a manufacturing hub, India has a bigger mandate to come up with solutions and services in IIoT sphere which should set the standard for next level of the Industrial Revolution where the Indian services and product companies should lead from the front.