By Gregory Hale
From oilfields and factories to farms and car washes, today’s work environment continues to embrace digitization. And when anyone talks about a digital workplace, that means security has to come to the forefront.
“Devices at home and in factories keep growing. Everything is creating data and it is all about how you can handle it,” said Raj Batra, president of the Siemens Digital Factory division during his keynote address Tuesday at the Siemens Automation Summit in Las Vegas, NV. “Dramatic changes will sweep through the industry and that is focusing us to rethink how we do things. The backbone to the whole change is data.”
To back up his point on the increase in data and its impact on the industry, Batra pointed out a few statistics. By 2020, there will be 40 zetabytes of digital data generated annually. In contrast, there will be 8.6 produced in 2015.
“Data is the backbone of everything and industrial companies are starting to understand it,” Batra said.
He said 87 percent of survey respondents said Big Data was one of their top three priorities while 42 percent said their number one priority is Big Data. Along those lines only 5 percent implemented a Big Data plan.
In essence, Batra said the digital environment is in full swing and more manufacturers focusing on process, discrete or even hybrid manufacturing are connecting to generate as much knowledge about the entire enterprise as possible.
The funny part about it, Batra said, is most companies are there now and they may just need a little change here and there to become a stronger digital player.
“This is not a rip and replace thing or you don’t need a paradigm change to get there,” he said. “There is no one single way to get to digitalization.”
He pointed out a few applications where two 100-year-old companies were focusing on a digital change over to help increase production and knowledge in their respective environments.
One was a specialty company, Wacker, and the other was the legendary automaker, Maserati.
In the Maserati example, the company went digital to see how they can increase production by 300 percent by 2018.
In another example of practicing what they preach, Siemens is going digital purely in their own production of PLCs and he said after implementing the digital platform, the defect rate reduced dramatically.