Cognizant: manufacturing with 2020 vision
Prasad Satyavolu, chief digital officer, manufacturing & logistics at Cognizant discusses Electric vehicles, 5G and water conservation at the epicentre of progress.
Some dreams take time to come true, especially if they amount to the most profound transformation we have seen since the industrial revolution. As manufacturers adapt and evolve to an ever connected and green(er) world, there are three main trends we can expect to see as the 2020s begin.
Don’t stop me now – the rise of electric vehicles
To herald the arrival of electric vehicles may seem surprising - after all, they have been produced and available for many years already. However, both the public and businesses have been rather slow to adopt and embrace the technology. The hope is that this could be about to change, and electric vehicles - and all related infrastructure - are set for a big year in 2020 and throughout the coming decade.
The reason for the slow uptake so far is that a wholesale shift in consumer attitudes is required to move people towards adopting electric vehicles, which in this case largely revolves around battery life. The perception remains that electric vehicles have limited - and consequently limiting - range to their batteries, and that charging them is a time-consuming burden for the pace of modern life and therefore inconvenient.
However, this issue is being increasingly addressed. BP recently installed the first ultra-fast charging point in London, one of 400 being fitted across the country over the next two years. These charging points offer 150kW pods – which can supposedly deliver around 100-miles of range in just 10 minutes. There is hope that where industry giants lead the way by focusing on improving charging availability and convenience, consumer attitudes to electric vehicles will change.
Developing batteries with a longer life is a challenge that is spurring innovation. This is a crucial but pricey component of any electric vehicle, and the key to unlocking the potential of this whole concept. If we are to see a breakthrough this year, governments around the world have a key role to play in continuing to encourage the development of the technology. In turn, we could see the combination of innovation, infrastructure and consumer attitudes all quickly align and a radical shift towards the widespread embrace of electric vehicles.
5G: Fast…and Furious?
Another major arrival at the start of the decade is the launch of 5G which will continue to be rolled out over the coming 12 months. Its potential sits hand in hand with the Internet of Things (IoT) and while much current discussion is hypothetical, this is a technology with serious potential to change how we live our lives.
The increased connectivity, and the speed and ease with which we can connect, will be transformative, and an integrated world will have huge benefits to our working and social lives.
Conversely, as this technology expands, the crucial thing will be keeping consumers engaged in its potential. There is always a risk of uncertainty and hesitancy about new technologies being overly invasive meaning transparency is key, and much of the early 2020s must be spent growing the trust of the public.
Many consumers will, mistakenly, see 5G as little more than a larger pipe for data. Given how big an investment mobile phone networks have made in its infrastructure and technology, they, in particular will need to make the case that 5G offers much more than just superior speeds.
Green is the new black
As the 2020s begin, environmental issues will continue to be at the top of everyone’s agenda when it comes to manufacturing. While the aforementioned electric vehicles will have a long-term impact once widely adopted, particularly in reducing the usage of fossil fuels, there are immediate steps that can and should be taken.
Primarily, water conservation will be seen as a crucial issue, in 2020 and beyond. Manufacturing is not unique as an industry in its high-water usage and this needs to be addressed, for business as well as environmental reasons.
It is not cheap to get through the industrial levels of water that manufacturing requires and finding internal methods to recycle will only grow as a priority.
Companies should now be targeting ‘circular innovation’, comprising desirability, viability, feasibility and, crucially, sustainability.
Climate changes have brought increases in extremes, with both water shortages and flooding growing in occurrence. This has left water utilities navigating an unsteady path to transformation; putting a strain on manufacturers, who rely on water for their production lines. The more volatile, and potentially expensive, this is, the more damage it can do to a business, before the ethical and environmental impact of water wastage is even considered.
Sustainability will become a key pillar of manufacturing throughout this decade, and this can start with water. While the water utilities work to improve their processes, companies individually can make great advances in their water conservation and recycling.
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Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.