By Gregory Hale
Like any of the major automation suppliers, Yokogawa is moving toward a stronger digital footprint.
That became abundantly clear at last week’s 2018 Yokogawa Users Conference in Orlando, FL. But one of the things they didn’t really focus on, but is truly the backbone for that more digital environment is security.
“IT-OT convergence needs business and domain knowledge,” said Shigeyoshi Uehara, vice president, IA Process Control Instruments Business, Yokogawa Electric Corp. during his keynote presentation. “There also needs to be a resilient operation. Cybersecurity is a common challenge. We are using a defense in depth security approach for facilities. We are making a large investment in cybersecurity.”
Key industry challenges Uehara said digital transformation brings is:
• Changing business environment
• Changing workforce
• Supply chain visibility
• Profitable operation
Along those lines, “Digital transformation is bringing on a profound transformation of the organization, Yokogawa is transforming from a traditional automation supplier to a trusted partner.”
In the digital environment, security will play a major role today, but also in the future.
“Security is a critical issue for digital,” said Ram Ramasamy, industry director at Frost & Sullivan during his keynote at the conference. “Security will be a high-value solution in the next 3 to 5 years.”
Digital, he said, brings advantages, opportunities and efficiencies. The main reason why people are investing in digital is for operational efficiency.
To back that up, Ramasamy talked about a Frost & Sullivan survey saying operational efficiency was the greatest motivation for adopting digital technologies, just as volatility and cost pressures are also key elements for adopting digital initiatives.
He also said technology transformation is bringing:
1. Intelligent sensors
2. Smart gateways
3. TSN/IP low latency, deterministic networks
4. Advanced analytics
5. Digital platform
But Ramasamy said, digital is not a one size fits all approach. On top of that, in the digital environment, it is not about the hardware, but rather the software that will be the key differentiator.
“People will compete on software,” Ramasamy said. “You can duplicate hardware, but you cannot duplicate insight from a user and that insight comes from software.”