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Future Of IT Infrastructure Is Always On, Always Available, Everywhere

Future Of IT Infrastructure Is Always On, Always Available, Everywhere

As more organisations embrace digital business, infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders will need to evolve their strategies and skills to provide an agile infrastructure for their business. In fact, Gartner, Inc. said that 75 percent of I&O leaders are not prepared with the skills, behaviours or cultural presence needed over the next two to three years. These leaders will need to embrace emerging trends in edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and the ever-changing cloud marketplace, which will enable global reach, solve business issues and ensure the flexibility to enter new markets quickly, anywhere, anytime.

IT departments no longer just keep the lights on, but are also strategic deliverers of services, whether sourced internally or external to the organisation. They must position specific workloads based on business, regulatory and geopolitical impacts. As organisations’ customers and suppliers grow to span the globe, I&O leaders must deliver on the idea that “infrastructure is everywhere” and consider the following four factors:

Agility Thrives On Diversity

Bob Gill, Vice President at Gartner, said the days of IT controlling everything are over. As options in technologies, partners and solutions rise, I&O leaders lose visibility, surety and control over their operations. “The cyclical, dictated factory approach in traditional IT cannot provide the agility required by today’s business,” Mr. Gill said. “The need for agility evolved faster than our ability to deliver.”

Despite agility placing among their top three priorities for 2019, I&O leaders are faced with conundrum as a diverse range of products is available to them. “The ideal situation for I&O leaders would be to coordinate the unmanageable collection of options we face today — colocation, multicloud, platform as a service (PaaS) — and get ahead of the business needs tomorrow. We must reach into our digital toolbox of possibilities and apply it to customer intimacy, product leadership and operational excellence to establish guardrails around managing the diversity of options in the long term,” Mr. Gill said.

The need for agility will only increase, so the two key tasks of I&O leaders will be to manage the sprawl of diversity in the short term and become the product manager of services needed to build business driven, agile solutions in the long term. “I&O has the governance, security and experience to lead this new charge for the business,” Mr. Gill said.

Applications Enable Change

Infrastructure can save money and enable applications, but by itself, it does not drive direct business value — applications do. Dennis Smith, Vice President at Gartner, said that there is no better time to be an application developer. “Application development offers an opportunity to jump on the express train of change to satisfy customer needs and build solutions composed of a tapestry of software components enabled through APIs,” Mr. Smith said.

Gartner research found that by 2025, 70 percent of organizations not adopting a service/product orientation will be unable to support their business, so I&O engineers must engage with consumers and software developers; integrate people, processes and technology; and deliver services and products all to support a solid infrastructure on which applications reside.

Boundaries Are Shifting

Digital business blurs the lines between the physical and the digital, leveraging new interactions and more real-time business moments. As more things become connected, the data center will no longer be the center of data. “Digital business, IoT and immersive experiences will push more and more processing to the edge,” said Tom Bittman, distinguished Vice President at Gartner.

By 2022, more than half of enterprises-generated data will be created and processed outside of data centers, and outside of cloud. Immersive technologies will help to light a fire of cultural and generational shift. People will expect more of their interactions to be immersive and real time, with fewer artificial boundaries between people and the digital world.

The need for low latency, the cost of bandwidth, privacy and regulatory changes as data becomes more intimate, and the requirement for autonomy when the internet connection goes down, are factors that will expand the boundary of enterprise infrastructures all the way to the edge.

People Are the Cornerstone

I&O leaders are struggling to deliver value faster in a complex, evolving environment, hindering the ability of organisations to learn quickly and share knowledge.

“The new I&O worker profile will embrace versatile skills and experiences rather than reward a narrow focus on one technical specialty,” said Kris van Riper, managing vice president at Gartner. “Leading companies are changing the way that they reward and develop employees to move away from rigid siloed career ladders toward more dynamic career diamonds. These new career paths may involve experiences and rotations across multiple technology domains and business units over time. Acquiring a broader understanding of the IT portfolio and business context will bring collective intelligence and thought diversity to prepare teams for the demands of digital business.”

Ultimately, preparing for I&O in the digital age comes down to encouraging different behaviors. Building competencies such as adaptability, business acumen, fusion collaboration and stakeholder partnership will allow I&O teams to better prepare for upcoming change and disruption.

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Interview With Mr. Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Director Cloud And Managed Services, NTT Singapore Pte Ltd

Interview With Mr. Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Director Cloud And Managed Services, NTT Singapore Pte Ltd

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Mr. Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Director Cloud And Managed Services, NTT Singapore Pte Ltd on his views on the future of manufacturing technologies in Asia and its impact on supply chains.

1.Could you provide us with an overview of the latest technologies shaping manufacturing in Asia?

We see an increase in manufacturers collecting vast troves of data and analysing them to reveal important insights for better decision-making. Data is driving a massive transformation in the manufacturing industry, with many companies already incorporating technologies such as field sensors and edge computing. Field sensors, for example, collect and communicate information (temperature, pressure etc.) to manufacturers, while edge computing helps manufacturers convert data sets generated by machines into insightful and actionable items. Manufacturers have realized the importance of tapping on Business Intelligence (BI) technologies to transform raw data from multiple sources into valuable information.

 2. What do you think are the main challenges when it comes to the manufacturing processes in Asia?

While more and more manufacturers are collecting data from sensors and leveraging edge computing, many still lack the resources to use the data intelligently. The challenge is to invest in systems and resources that enable the most efficient collection and use of data. Moving data to the cloud is an effective way to improve the automation of decisions and optimise industrial output.

That said, many manufacturers still view information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) as separate departments when they are two sides of the same coin. Early IT systems were under the purview of the CIO and included desktops, laptops and connectivity for propriety data. On the other hand, OT consisted of turnkey systems such as machines on the factory floor and transportation vehicles, which had very little involvement from IT.

Today, OT refers to the control and automation supporting operations. A simple example is connected manufacturing equipment retrofitted with industrial IoT sensors. With the more pervasive use of IT technologies at an operational level, the boundaries between the successful use of IT and OT have begun to blur. For manufacturers to succeed in the digital era, they need to close the IT/OT gap or risk decline.

3. How do you think these challenges can be overcome?

If manufacturers possess the right technological infrastructure and guidance, they will be able to leapfrog ahead of their competition in terms of efficiency and productivity.

We recently launched the Smart Factory Package in Singapore, powered by AVEVA’s Wonderware and NTT Com cloud computing platform ‘Enterprise Cloud’, which offers a highly-effective and cost-efficient approach for manufacturers to kick-start their digital journey to streamline and simplify operations.

The Smart Factory Package takes advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and combines pervasive network sensors, a scalable cloud platform and advanced analytics capabilities to unlock the value of industrial data. Manufacturers can then leverage the industrial data for better decision-making, resulting in greater intelligence, efficiency and opportunity.

4. With the digitalisation of manufacturing, how will supply chains evolve to keep up?

The supply chain will no longer be linear in nature, from producers to consumers.

To keep pace, supply chains now need to integrate leading-edge technologies to combine cross-functional data from different sources, implement control and automation and forecast demand and performance with advanced data analytics. For example, a retailer might be better able to assess inventory performance by digitising their stock. This allows planning to be more precise and managers can also anticipate problems before they happen and act on them.

5. In your opinion, what are the trends that will shape the industry for the next 5 to 10 years?

Digital transformation will eventually affect every industry. For the manufacturing industry, we will see the convergence of IT and OT. Digitalisation will become ubiquitous and companies who fail to keep up will decline.

Disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and IoT will play a major role in shaping manufacturing trends. Put together, the “smart factory” will feature systems capable of autonomously exchanging information and trigger a set of actions independently. This promises increased productivity, lowered costs and better customer satisfaction.

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Interview With Mr. Gary Cantrell, SVP & CIO Of Jabil

Interview With Mr. Gary Cantrell, SVP & CIO Of Jabil

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Mr. Gary Cantrell, SVP & CIO of Jabil regarding his views on the associated technologies, challenges and future of manufacturing in Asia.

1.Could you provide us with an overview of the latest technologies shaping the manufacturing industry in Asia?

This is a really exciting time for the manufacturing industry as manufacturers discover how new technologies can play a critical role in transforming and improving functions along the value chain. In fact, IDC confirmed that investments in Internet of Things (IoT) are largely led by manufacturing and transportation industries.

Three particular technologies stand out and these are likely to dramatically alter the manufacturing landscape globally. They are:

  • Additive Manufacturing: this technology is maturing rapidly and enabling mass customization, smaller lot sizes and reduced capital outlays. It will enable us to customise product designs for our customers, vary locations and increase speed of production.
  • Connected Factories (aka Digital Factories): connecting equipment throughout the factory will enable new levels of efficiency and improve factory productivity.
  • Automation and equipment self-optimisation: although still early in the maturity cycle, these technologies will provide the information to plan and control manufacturing real time by predicting unplanned events and automatic adjustments to prevent outages. These technologies will significantly alter the current human-machine interface in the factory.

2. What do you think are the main challenges when it comes to the digitalisation of manufacturing processes in Asia?

The equipment variation – both in terms of age and technical currency – will be a great challenge.  In order to digitise the factory, we need to get data to and from the machines for analysis and control. Older equipment, which is not equipped with such features, will require investment in upgrades in the short-term.

This also brings in the issue of cost. New equipment and the peripheral technology required to support the connected factory and automation – such as edge computing, wide area networks and time-sensitive local area networks – require significant investments in time and money.

3. How do you think these challenges can be overcome?

These challenges can be overcome with machine connectivity. In particular, getting data to and from older machines is a challenge and a great deal of innovative work is ongoing to improve both the connectivity and cost challenges. The same is true for aspects of the peripheral costs with the maturing of technologies like software defined networks and edge computing.

More importantly, as we learn the true efficiencies achievable with these technologies, the business cases for investing will become compelling. As these technologies get deployed, we will also learn where we can free-up people to do more value added work and what skills will be required for these new roles.

4. With the digitalisation of manufacturing, how will supply chains evolve to keep up?

Our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools will become more integrated with real-time visibility:

  • Connectivity: connecting customers, manufacturer and supplier systems, enabling visibility across the ecosystem, will help ensure continuity in driving materials velocity and on-time delivery with less manual effort.
  • Smart Planning: enabling digital transmission and receipt of customer forecasts, auto validation and synchronization of forecast, and advanced statistical analysis will allow teams to plan and manage better. Combined with integrated production scheduling and performance tracking, in the future, we will be able to efficiently manage customer’s product cycles.
  • Smart Purchasing: intelligent Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) filtering, enhanced digital interchanges with electronic commits into manufacturing systems can help improve overall purchasing process such as order quantities, product cycles, etc.
  • Smart Warehouse: improved velocity and availability through end-to-end connection will enable us to manage inventory and logistics.

5. In your opinion, what are the trends that will shape the industry for the next 5 to 10 years?

I believe that the continued development of additive manufacturing will dramatically change the way we design, manufacture and develop products. Although this may vary by industry, the potential for additive manufacturing to improve speed, quality and cost will result in significant shifts in our manufacturing processes.

Even more impactful are the areas of factory automation, machine self-optimisation and the application of artificial intelligence. In a mature vision of these technologies, it’s easy to envision ultra-lean factories managed remotely which self-correct and optimise the manufacturing process.

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Siemens To Showcase Sector-Specific Solutions And Future Technologies For Industry 4.0

Siemens To Showcase Sector-Specific Solutions And Future Technologies For Industry 4.0

At the “SPS IPC Drives” 2018, Siemens will be presenting a range of sector-specific solutions and future technologies to enable the digital transformation of today’s discrete and process industries. The central focus of the over 4,000 square meter Siemens booth will be on new products, solutions and services from the company’s Digital Enterprise portfolio, designed to enable the merger between the physical and digital worlds. The solutions on show will allow not only machine and plant builders but also end customers of any size – working in areas as diverse as the chemical, aerospace, battery, food and beverage industries – to boost the flexibility, efficiency, quality, security and speed of their operations. To get to grips with the rising complexity of production processes and leverage the many associated benefits, Siemens is continuously expanding and strengthening its portfolio with the integration of groundbreaking future technologies, from artificial intelligence to edge computing.

As this year’s trade fair slogan “Digital Enterprise – Implement now!” intimates, the technical conditions are already in place for Industry 4.0 in the form of end-to-end solutions along the entire value chain. Driving these developments are an ever-increasing degree of customisation and the resulting rapid transformation of markets. A wide range of innovations and an array of concrete applications and customer examples from fields including additive manufacturing and robot integration will be on show to demonstrate how digital transformation can be successfully achieved in practice for companies of every size and from every sector of the industry. These will also include the opportunities and scope opened up by artificial intelligence. Siemens will also be showcasing Industrial Edge, a distributed data processing concept operating at the machine and production process level as the ideal supplement to cloud computing with MindSphere. Edge applications offer user benefits such as the analysis of machine data for the predictive prevention of machine downtimes, ultimately resulting in improved plant productivity.

Implementation of the Digital Enterprise in machine building
A machine used for the quality inspection of bottles will be illustrating ways in which the Digital Enterprise can be implemented in the machine building sector. The Digital Enterprise enables the seamless integration of industrial software and automation by using a shared data model. This holistic approach will be demonstrated along the entire value chain from the perspective of the machine builder: from the machine concept and simulation through engineering, commissioning and operation to services. Using digital twins of the product, the production process and performance, users benefit from shorter engineering and production times, from flexible, fully automated manufacturing concepts and efficient processes. At the same time, this technology provides the assurance of high quality and adherence to strict security standards. And in turn, connection to MindSphere enables the continuous acquisition and analysis of machine data. This not only ensures increased machine productivity in running operation, but also enables the gathered data to be fed back into the digital machine model,  enabling further optimisation. On the basis of the gathered data, machine builders are also able to develop new services and business models such as “pay per use” concepts.

Modular production creates more flexibility
For sectors such as the pharmaceutical or fine chemical industries to remain competitive, their ability to respond rapidly to changing market demands is growing ever more important. Modular production plants which are made up of flexibly combinable modules and equipped with MTPs (Module Type Packages) are one way of addressing this need. The use of standardised interfaces and protocols enables these “smart” machines and subsystems to be simply integrated into a complete plant. This allows production to be rapidly stepped up by the integration of additional modules. Just how this works in practice will be demonstrated at the booth using the example of a centrifugal separator from the company, GEA, which has been equipped with a dedicated controller and MTPs, enabling its simple integration into a higher-level control system.

New features for MindSphere
Siemens will also be showcasing a range of new features for its cloud-based IoT operating system MindSphere – from visualisation through data analysis to edge computing functions. This year’s MindSphere Lounge will also be showcasing the wide-ranging application possibilities offered by the IoT operating system to improve factors such as efficiency and productivity. For the first time, customers and partners will be jointly presenting new applications and successful use cases taken from practice across a wide-range of different industry sectors.

Services for the digital transformation
Digital Services (Digital Industry Services) play a key role when it comes to customised, individual implementation of the Digital Enterprise. Siemens provides broad-based support for users here with everything from consulting on to implementation and data analysis with all the associated customer benefits such as lowering downtimes by up to 45 percent and energy consumption by up to 60 percent.

Electrical power distribution in digital environments
The smooth interaction of hardware and software with systematic data management is vital to create the efficient electrical power distribution digital enterprises require. At the trade fair, Siemens will be showcasing the integration of medium and low voltage power distribution into cloud-based environments based on concrete applications such as substations, industrial plants, data centers, office buildings and distributed real estate assets. Providing the technical basis are communication-capable switchboards, protection, switching and measuring devices, which gather the relevant energy data, integrate it into holistic energy efficiency concepts and make it available in MindSphere or other cloud platforms. This not only results in a significant increase in energy efficiency and plant availability, but also helps optimise operational and maintenance workflows and simplifies the entire value creation process.

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