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Digital-enabled hyperconnected ecosystems will transform manufacturing

February 27, 2023

Hari Nair   

Hari Nair - Vice President Solution Head India, Tata Communications

With digital transformation metamorphosing the manufacturing sector, there are various technologies and practices that are yet to come to light for many leaders in the industry. In this blog, Vice President Head of Solution Engineering India & Global Solution Center at Tata Communications, Hari Nair, explores how digital enabled hyperconnected ecosystems will shape the manufacturing industry.

From recommending the right network, and automating redundant processes to enabling smart manufacturing; everything is a puzzle waiting to be solved. As an industry expert experienced in dealing with multiple large-scale manufacturing industries, Hari was a guiding light for the members of the CXO Tech Council by CORE Media.

The Council, powered by Tata Communications, promoted peer-to-peer sharing of challenges, ideas, and solutions for different industries in the manufacturing sector. Below is a summarised version of Hari’s key points to aid digital transformation in the sector.

Adopting an end-to-end network is crucial for uninterrupted connectivity

Fluctuating bandwidth and latency remains a serious issue, concerning a majority of manufacturing units. It makes deployments a painstaking task and messes with the overall timeline of a project.  Nair emphasised the importance of adopting end-to-end network connectivity on production floors.

“It helps significantly when the network provider can get complete visibility of the problem areas in the network and take timely actions accordingly towards mitigating them.”

Moreover, end-to-end solutions eliminate the need to deal with multiple network providers, drastically improve the QoS and enable faster resolution of issues.

Newly generated 5G use cases will be an ideal solution for manufacturers

With multiple machines and equipment running simultaneously on a production floor, a traditional network solution is insufficient for consistent and uninterrupted connectivity. More importantly, a common network solution is not compatible with different types of production.

For instance, the network provider must design a customised use case for a company that operates in remote locations, such as mines located in the middle of jungles, to provide optimum service.  Nair explained that clear use cases help build robust and consistent connectivity.

“A typical production floor with a customised use case will use three different network solutions – a campus LAN, an end-to-end network or Wi-Fi, or newly developed 5G use cases – to make smart manufacturing a reality.”

He reiterated that optimising the 5G network is better with an end-to-end solution.

Data security should be a priority for the network provider

While discussing the significance of data security in a production unit, Nair remarked that data is critical. As a result, it should stay within the boundaries of the factory to keep it safe from external threats. Moreover, he pointed out that certain restrictions still exist on the type of data that OT systems can handle.

This data cannot be released into the public environment, as there is always the risk of cyber-attacks damaging the integrity of the information. Therefore, the network provider should introduce built-in security while providing connectivity to clients.

“Integrating OT systems with security built-in is the need of the hour. We need to make the decision-making process fast and secure to maintain consistently high production quality.”

This functionality should empower the manufacturers to make decisions in a secure and rapid manner to avoid production delays and quality issues.

The blog has been written by Hari Nair following the CXO Manufacturing Tech Council. Click here to see the event summary white paper and learn more about the insights, challenges and new technologies shaping the future of manufacturing.