What is the best strategy for creating a digital workforce?
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues to empower manufacturers to transform operations, it is now more vital than ever before to leverage new technology, particuarly in a post-COVID-19 world.
Jean-Pierre Petit, Director of Digital Manufacturing, Capgemini, believes that the initial implementation of new technology is often the toughest hurdle to overcome, particularly in regards to the development and launch of hybrid skills among employees. “Business leaders are acutely aware of these challenges and we’re already seeing many working hard to address them. Hiring processes and training practices should also evolve with the dynamic and changing landscape. The most successful businesses have a robust strategy in place to support and develop both their human and digital workforce – one that’s aligned with their overarching business strategy, so that one complements the other.
However, Petit acknowledges that there is no one single approach to creating a digital workforce. “Each company will have to design and deploy its own journey, mixing cross-functional career paths, upskilling, recruitments and ecosystems in a way that’s relevant to their sector and market conditions. The best practice is to implement new technologies across the board to ensure proper integration. Finally, retaining and understanding the importance of the human element is crucial; the technology itself is a tool which needs to be monitored and corrected by humans.”
, recognises that digital workers require tools to help them engage and leverage powerful analytics and intelligence to aid critical decision-making. “They need the ability to respond to real-time data made available through mobile computing, cross-platform connectivity, and knowledge sharing software for faster, more focused reactions. The digitisation of work processes to encapsulate specific knowledge is key to driving effectiveness of the digital workforce. This software can help manufacturing workers collectively share vital information and better operate, analyze and optimise processes.”
While , affirms that the success of digital transformation isn’t just about investing in the right technology. “As with any large-scale project—from a change in working location to a company merger—the impact on the people involved needs to be a key consideration when putting a strategy and implementation plan in place. To make digital transformation initiatives a success, no matter how big or small the change, manufacturers need to put key measures in place to manage the transition.
“Whilst the choice of new technologies can be overwhelming and daunting for even a seasoned professional, businesses shouldn’t lose sight of why they are investing in technology and should always keep business objectives in mind—what your competitor is doing might not be the right approach for you. Jumping on the bandwagon or adopting new technology too quickly could be detrimental in the long-term, if the process is not well thought-through or fit for purpose.”
Interested in reading more? Check out the July edition of Manufactur ing Global!
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.