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In the industrial and manufacturing world, there has been an extraordinary amount of digital innovation going on in recent years, so the need for specialized IT people is growing. Koen Rutten graduated as an electromechanical engineer and soon went to work as an IT professional. With Cronos4Industry, he focuses on IT solutions within the industry and manufacturing sector. Why is that so important? You can read it here.
In the industrial and manufacturing sector, there are many similarities to the IT business. Yet it strikes me that we often speak a different language. In order to remove this language barrier, Cronos launched Cronos4Industry. We have made our IT section, way of working and services also accessible for the manufacturing industry.
Industrial processes contain an enormous amount of data. From the sensors in a factory to the ERP packages and everything around it. At the moment hardly anything is being done with all this data and a lot of potential remains unused, especially in terms of performance. For example, in Flanders, it is difficult to make further savings on labour costs. But as a company you could invest in knowledge, quality and efficiency. By analysing your existing data, you often come to new insights.
In order to process this data, companies will have to use the public cloud. Something that many Belgian companies are still somewhat reluctant to do because they are concerned about their digital security. Microsoft Azure responds to this with its own offering for Industrial IOT. Data flows from a manufacturing environment to the cloud, but there are actually few connections in the opposite direction. This is particularly useful for processes that are sensitive to external attack.
Microsoft is also working on its own datacenter in Belgium, which means that in the future all data will remain in our own country. But the Belgian datacenters also have other advantages. For example, there will be much less latency. Especially for companies that use a lot of data or critical processes, this is an advantage. Think of companies that use tablets for real-time visualisations, for which you obviously need fast connections.
Within Industry 4.0, AI sensors, the Internet of Things (IoT) and a lot of data are often used. And all of these have their added value. I'll just break it down into 3 different things:
When you start looking at the next steps for the whole industry, the return on investment is very important to them. What your bottom line is depends on your produced asset. We always help our customers during the initial discussions to look pragmatically at their needs and vulnerabilities. With some organisations, it means we have to make a visualisation of their machinery. Once you have these visualisations, you can also use the knowledge of the people on site. For example, operators who are on a certain line every day usually have a better understanding of how things should be done and what can be adjusted. We record this during our scoping process. From your vulnerabilities we then look for suitable solutions and can turn the vulnerabilities into advantages or even profits. Especially for smaller companies, such as we have in Flanders, this can solve a lot.
If we then look at the multinationals, they are often already engaged in a digital transformation. We help them convert their strategic roadmap to a technology roadmap. It is equally important for them to have a good view on the operational layer as well. In the past, you could have your enterprise architecture carried by your IT department. Nowadays, we are increasingly seeing companies merge their IT and OT departments into one big digital team in order to achieve the best solutions and optimise their processes.
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