Top 5 trends and challenges facing manufacturing CIOs in 2015
The Gartner 2014 CIO Agenda Report polled 2,339 CIOs across 77 countries, asking them about their outlook on the industry and the challenges they expect to face during the year ahead. Manufacturing Global shares many of the key insights below and gives a snapshot of the trends impacting CIOs in 2015.
1. The need for operational efficiency and profitability is ever present
CIOs compensation is often nowadays directly tied to operational efficiency and profitability, but as the report cites, IT budgets are up only slightly. As such, they are keenly aware of how operational details impact the cost and efficiency of IT systems and are constantly seeking ways to maximize investment in legacy systems while figuring out how to innovate and evolve their infrastructure for the future of the company. Being able to manage IT and operational metrics at the strategic level, implementing solutions that integrate across systems and facilities, and managing risk are all factors that need to be taken into account.
2. The quick deployment of technology is both a blessing and a curse
The low maintenance cost and quick deployment of Cloud solutions has gone a long way toward alleviating budgetary pain, as evidenced by the growing number of manufacturing CIOs who allocate their IT spend in this arena. Maximizing IT dollars, reducing cost of ownership and quickly deploying solutions are all great, but what about the imperative to help the manufacturing team see and seize opportunities?
3. IT departments are expected to innovate and implement at the same time
The Gartner authors cite a “two-speed” IT department that can quickly enable and support innovations and opportunities. This is painful when even minor customization can take weeks of coding and implementation. The speed of technology and the rapid evolution of the competitive landscape is enough to keep any small manufacturing CIO up at night. And one of the most potent tools in the arsenal is the ability to quickly develop applications that answer to opportunities and threats.
These opportunities will engender unique requirements according to the processes and work flow of your team. No two manufacturing teams will do anything the exact same way. You may need to support a vendor or partner who needs a unique view of material availability. An operations leader might request a tweak in shop floor management functionality that will enable you to deliver a highly profitable job sooner. Your colleagues in the C suite will also desire ways for you to deliver on functionality that makes your agreed-upon strategy a reality.
4. The Cloud is still a hot topic
Which brings us to another force driving SMB manufacturing to the Cloud: having the flexibility to bridge the gap between where you are and where you need to go — next week and next year. When fashioning your Cloud IT manufacturing strategy, these are some of the most important things to consider:
- Can you quickly build and deploy applications with a minimum of reliance on coding, either by you or your vendor?
- Can you quickly model and define tools against your processes and find opportunities for workflow automation?
- How well can you track the development of the process?
- Can your new apps be quickly and easily integrated with existing databases, spreadsheets and systems?
5. Fast release cycles will bring both short and long term success
Fast release cycles that let your users across the enterprise instantly reap the benefits of new features means that your IT department is a profit enabler, both tactically and strategically, building a foundation for personal and company success into 2015 and beyond.
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.