Dr. Richard Soley, Executive Director, Industrial Internet Consortium

Indian CIOs need to prepare for revolution in outsourcing: Dr. Richard Soley, IIC

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) was founded in March 2014 to bring together the organizations and technologies necessary to accelerate the growth of the industrial Internet by identifying, assembling, testing and promoting best practices.

The Industrial Internet Consortium recently announced the AI testbed negotiation automation platform. Here, AI technologies will help the manufacturing supply chains find win-win contracts.

Dr. Richard Soley, Executive Director, Industrial Internet Consortium, tells us more about the industrial Internet and Industry 4.0 in an exclusive chat. Excerpts:

DQ: How can Industry 4.0 transform the industry, and help rediscover growth?

Dr. Richard Soley: The ability, which we call Industrial Internet, to take real-time data and analyze in on the fly makes it possible to transform smart cities, smart buildings, energy management, manufacturing — every industry really.

I’m talking about industrial systems — knowing your CNC is offline is thousands of times more useful than knowing you need milk. We are talking about changing every industry with cheap sensors and real-time analysis, creating more opportunities for efficiency, but also create all sorts of new business models and opportunities.

DQ: There are said to be the nine technologies within Industry 4.0!

Dr. Richard Soley: BCG has said it as well as, but I’ll give you a great example. AI/machine learning (ML) doesn’t change the world by itself! But, we have a running smart building near Tokyo that’s collected 300 TB — that’s 300 million million — data points a day. There’s no way a human is going to make sense of that, let alone in real-time, but an ML system can find the patterns of use for the building hidden in that data!

DQ: What are the challenges companies face in the implementation of these technologies?

Dr. Richard Soley: The obvious and oft-stated challenge is security and privacy — but, I think, the biggest challenge is finding the expertise. That’s why our testbed program is so important.

We’re not only harvesting best practices and standards requirements in industrial IoT, but we’re also building the best expertise in the business in our members.

DQ: How can data and optimization happen across the value chain?

Dr. Richard Soley: It’s about knowing more about your business. That might mean knowing your CNC machine is down, knowing the daily patterns of use of your building, or dozens of other things — but it comes from safety, security and efficiency (optimization) based on business.data.

DQ: What are the benefits and IT, OT and cyber-physical systems in ‘smart anything’?

Dr. Richard Soley: IT traditionally is about fast turnover, fast delivery and so forth — as Joi Ito says, “If you’re proud of your product you shipped too late.” OT is about security, reliability and uptime.

Bringing those two together is a clash of cultures, but if you can make it happen — and our members have — you can think of products that know when they’re going to fail and “call home” since they’re always connected. Smart Anything comes from the cheap and ubiquitous Internet connectivity the world has achieved.

DQ: How will integrations occur in Industry 4.0? How will vertical and horizontal integration happen across systems?

Dr. Richard Soley: We’re still learning the answers to that question, primarily through actually building IIoT systems “in the wild.” That technology is ready to use, in factories, in cars, in buildings and other places and our members are delivering it.

DQ: How can RPA help Indian CIOs?

Dr. Richard Soley: The large number of outsourcing contracts currently held by Indian companies can often be delivered through RPAs and chatbots, freeing humans to more interesting (and difficult) tasks. I think, we are looking for a revolution in outsourcing that Indian CIOs need to prepare for.

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