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By Gregory Hale
Make no mistake about it, we are living and working in a digital world and while it may not be said enough, cybersecurity is the protective force allowing for all the great benefits the new technologies will bring.

“We are in a time of change in the digital world,” said Raj Batra, president of Siemens Digital Industries during his Tuesday keynote address at the Siemens Automation Summit 2019 in Aurora, CO. “We are learning an entirely new vocabulary. The role of AI (artificial intelligence) is playing inside the digital framework.”

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Digitalization trends like AI, cloud, edge, advanced robotics are merging to transform the industry. As a point of reference, Batra said by embracing all these new technologies, there would be 1000 percent growth of voice assistants over the next five years. In addition, there will be $13 trillion in global value add by 2030. There will also be a 5 times increase in the amount of data generated annually. There will also be a 16 percent reduction in maintenance costs.

“AI will be interwoven in the fabric of our product,” Batra said. “Data is the core of what AI does and how it processes and builds insights. The simplest device in a control panel is putting out a lot of data. Terminal blocks are putting out a lot of data.”

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The next step is to take that data and be able to make “meaningful insights,” he said.

But one of the engines that allows these evolving technologies to run is cybersecurity.

“Security is integral to the (digital) framework,” Batra said after his keynote. “What is underlying that are the best security practices and capabilities. You have to decentralize areas so you don’t take your system down. Anytime you talk about the connected system, cybersecurity is there.”

With these new technologies, there is “tremendous speed to detect errors and learn predictive analytics,” he said. “Just using AI in an early basic way, we are learning quite a bit. We really believe we have a 10 year head start on our competitors.”

He added for a company to grow in the digital environment, they just can’t purchase a company and its technology, they have to go far beyond that.

“It is one thing to think global, it is another to be global,” he said.

“Our past decade has been about building a world class software portfolio to let us use a digital twin,” Batra said. “It lets us (simulate) it virtually before we use it in the real world. You can look at the product, the performance, and eventually the production process. If we can do this in the virtual world, there are great advantages.”

But to use virtualization and simulation, that means we have to use digitalization, which means more companies have to jump on board or they can potentially be left behind.

Digital disruption is allowing companies to stay in business while they are reinventing the business.

By not jumping on board with a digital environment with all its capabilities, it is costing companies 40 percent of income, Batra said.

“It is wiping out companies and no industry is immune to this,” he said.

“Digital disruption is here,” Batra said. “It is going to give people the art of what is possible.”

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