Convergence of IT and OT : Industries are IoT- Zing their future by converging their IT and OT
There is a lot of interest from the industry on how IIoT (Industrial Internet of things) will be used to leverage the value of converging Operation Technology (OT) & Information technology (IT) space. ManufacTURING world is keen on building connected products that are smarter.
So as we look at what it means when the world of Operational Technology and the Information Technology converge we need to assess it from two angles. One where IT systems and professionals, who have always had the responsibility for setting up information technology infrastructures supporting manufacturing businesses, and the other from business heads imagining new products for the industrial internet that are IOT-enabled at birth.
So we have the IT world looking at enabling interactions with the physical world of products, be it on the shop floor or on the field, and the challenges associated with managing this new world. And we also have the business side designing a new era of products that assume interactions with corporate IT systems whether they are within the managed corporate IT networks or not.
At Altizon we are dabbling with both these worlds and see many business drivers for this convergence. Increased operational efficiency utilizing machine data is the typical starting point for most of these Industrial Internet initiatives. Also we see a huge impetus for advancing Consumer Insight with predictive algorithms for better customer service offerings and forecasting demand for items like renewables.
Thus with the increasing number of connected devices & data, IT/OT convergence is of paramount importance for developing a platform which will help drive insights & efficiency into hyper connected enterprise.
Hurdles for IT/OT convergence:
As you can imagine these are interesting times at Altizon. As we work with both these worlds there are certain challenges we call out for IT/OT solutions. First and foremost, these solutions dabble in a very diverse set of equipment that have a myriad set of protocols. Over time they generate humungous amounts of data that need to be stored in some cases forever. Building solutions which cater to these diverse interfacing requirements and unstructured data storage and processing needs is non-trivial. All of this unstructured data needs to be made available for processing in real time as well as scheduled processing.
Typical corporate IT teams need support with skills and infrastructure for building these data infrastructures. Particular attention needs to be paid to the security and compliance risks for this new infrastructure. Unlike the past you now need to know whether the industrial equipment out there on the field has been authenticated, is securely transmitting data and whether there is threat vulnerability from the asset. Again all these need to be assessed in real time and a continual basis. As you look at the physical world there are situations where your solutions need to cater for the diversity of networks that maybe involved.
Sensors, Machines and gateways need to combine to provide the information you need when you need them. Your solutions need to also function in an environment where some of this data is available partially.
Software Defined Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 |Use cases of Convergence of IT and OT
Benefits of IT/ OT Convergence: Across industries
We see these IT/OT convergence driven solutions being of use in many industries. Some of these are already in play. Imagine a world where public utilities are able to feed disaster or emergency data into corporate IT systems and vice versa. Smart cities will require such interoperability and convergence. We have already seen multiple connected vehicle systems including Tesla that provide immense value to both customers and vehicle manufacturers. One of the unique applications we are working on involves helping an energy advocacy group with independent data on power availability and quality. These inputs are vital to build the smart grids of tomorrow in a safer and more economic manner. And finally the whole area of Software defined Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 are great examples of this convergence of IT/OT systems.