Cisco: industry 4.0, remote workforces & business continuity

By Georgia Wilson
Business Chief North America gains insight from Cisco on how COVID-19 is maximising the need for knowledge transfer, flexibility, and collaboration...

 “Industry 4.0 is the next industrial revolution—one where the best of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices mix with smart technology—and today we are living out that revolution in the midst of COVID-19,” commented Cisco.

In a recent insights report the company details how “global remote working and an aging workforce highlight the current need for a transformation in manufacturing, one where the right infrastructure connects IT and operations and maximizes employee productivity.”

Carlos Rojas, Global Industry Lead for Manufacturing at Cisco, discusses smart manufacturing and how the company improves problem-solving and minimises outages with Cisco’s approach to manufacturing.

“Our Workforce Enablement solutions center around the human aspect of industrial transformation,” commented Rojas. “One of the things we did is we interviewed our customers working from home during the crisis, and we realized their teams were working in new ways. With the dispersion of their support staff, factory workers were left alone to operate on their own, and therefore relying on people outside of their factory environments. Remote experts are needed and remote operations are absolutely critical these days.”

Workforce enablement with remote experts and collaboration

With 40% of the industrial workforce being eligible for retirement within the next 10 years, and 75% of millennials being in the workforce by 2030, Rojas highlights the importance of transferring the many years of knowledge to a new generation. 

“Crucial knowledge transfer between these two workforces and the ongoing trend of remote working makes remote expertise the key to bridging that skills gap. Cisco combines their collaboration technology with a unified wireless network architecture so that experts can be connected to people on the manufacturing floor—in real-time, securely, and over hi-definition video,” commented Rojas.

A robust network is necessary

In a recent partnership between Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), Cisco and Rockwell Automation, the three companies worked together to optimise manufacturing and engineering in a secure and simple way.  

“With Cisco’s wireless connectivity and a shared network outfitted within the shop floor, DTNA is now able to check statuses in real-time, truck build packages can be developed and updated electronically, and employees can securely connect from wherever they are. By combining IT and network environments, Cisco was able to provide visibility into the manufacturing so DTNA managers can understand what’s going on and make the appropriate decisions. Improved network security also provides the proper firewalls and intrusion prevention software that stops all viruses and malicious software that may try to make its way in,” added Rojas.

A foundation of security

“Secure networking is an essential part of Industry 4.0,” commented Rojas. “Now more than ever, dispersed teams need to maintain that critical visibility into operations in a secure way. In “The cost of cybercrime”, Accenture reports that the average annual cost of cybercrime per company in the automotive industry is US$16mn, which is up 48% since 2017.”

Rojas identifies that one of the main reasons manufacturers are facing cybercrimes is due to the enhanced automation on plant floors, “where IoT devices are spread throughout the production chain, leaving a larger surface for criminals to find their way in. Cisco’s Cyber Vision is a solution that lets manufacturers continue to use their IoT technologies in a safe way, while capturing the benefits of their digitisation efforts. It lets the right people in and keeps the wrong people out.”

To find out more about what Cisco’s doing with smart manufacturing, click here!

For more information on business topics in the United States and Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief North America.

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