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CommunicAsia :The future of automation and its impact on the workforce

ConnecTechAsia sits down with Joanna Reijgersberg-Siew, Senior Director, Intelligent Industry Solutions Lead – IoT, Data & AI, Avenade to discuss the future of automation and its impact on the workforce.

Q: Where is the industry at right now?
The industry is at what I call a pivotal point right now. We see a lot of interest and a lot of pilots, as well as a lot of people being trained or interested in the technologies relating to the industry. There are certain inflection points which need to happen before we see full scale adoption.

Q: What are some trends or new developments in the AI and IoT space that will impact the future of factories?
For factories, in this region there are increased developments in the space primarily in Japan and China. Together with my colleague in Japan, Takayuki Sato who leads our Japanese operations, there is one key example which is in the OSI PI Software solution – a single, enterprise-wide data infrastructure that integrates, contextualizes and visualizes complex information in real time, which is used in 80% of factories today. Together with 5G, Azure Cloud adoption amongst others, many of these typically on-premise architectures will be able to be migrated to cloud, at the same time for example, Avanade and Microsoft are enabling many of our customers to migrate these factory telemetry via the IoT Azure hub to the cloud.

Q: How will the impending 5G rollout play a part in the growth of this sector?
The key advantages of 5G is greater speed in transmission of data and a much lower latency, and this is a big thing in edge computing and essentially a lot of these capital-intensive industries like factories and automotive, etc. The reason for this is if you look at the hardware and physical architectures of today, many of these systems are still on-premise, like the PI Software for example. Also, if you take a look at the building space, whether it is lighting, air-conditioning, security and so on and so forth, quite a number of these system architectures are mostly on-premise, or they are linked locally and are then connected to the cloud via an IoT gateway – which could provide to also be a single point of failure. Furthermore, a lot of these architecture are not time critical.

In a factory for example, one of the key aspects is to improve operational efficiencies, and as such the solutions of today whilst interesting and valid, due to latency and that single digit efficiency increase due to throughput and capacity, will then heavily depend on 5G which would significantly reduce latency and real time analysis to then quickly accelerate the growth of this sector.

Q: In your opinion, as we move toward a connected-everything future, what are some risks/threats we need to watch out for?
In many areas of my life I use the latest technology. My home is a fully connected smart home, complete with connected everything. Yet, I don’t trust a lot of companies with my data, because having worked in this space for more than a decade I know that there is this much security we can implement. I call it the x5 factor or 99.9999%, because even if we automate everything there is an aspect of human error in managing and maintaining the space. Recently, I was a victim of debit card fraud, and I did not even use it as a debit card but used it at an ATM to withdraw money. Hackers and software engineers have gotten to a point where have successfully identified many touch points where you are vulnerable. I think effectively we do need to also keep an eye out in this next-generation world. ConnecTechAsia

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