Jose M. Rivera, CEO of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) sees change coming to the world of system integration for industrial automation and control. In a recent article, “At a time of transformation, CSIA helps members thrive, Rivera highlights the changes currently impacting the automation sector, and mentions some of the challenges and opportunities, such as:
A need for interconnectivity. With consumers demanding greater environmental responsibility, companies are beginning to track carbon footprints, resource consumption, and other environmental factors. To collect this information on a large scale requires companies to “bridge ‘silo’ systems and organizations, such as operations and infrastructure, that previously had no need to interact with each other.”
Leveraging the value of Big Data and analytics. As experienced workers in North America and Europe retire, relatively few can be found to fill their shoes. In Asian countries such as China, there has been little opportunity to raise up a generation of trained, experienced system integrators for industrial systems in the first place. Whatever the reason for this lack of qualified personnel, Rivera suggests a solution: training tools that can leverage Big Data and analytics.
Increased IT involvement: After decades of separation between OT (operations technology) and IT, Rivera sees an increase in the use of IT personnel and data in industrial systems, and expects it to continue. System integrators will need to expand their range of expertise, and learn to work with and integrate OT and IT systems.
In brief, Rivera predicts that, “opportunities for which SIs are well-qualified will be created in areas outside of the traditional, purely industrial, space.” Among these, he mentions that, “value delivery via a subscription-service model will become a high-growth segment.”
These are the kinds of applications that Skkynet envisioned when introducing the SkkyHub service. Whether used for plant networking, collecting data from remote locations for Big Data systems and other purposes, or creating secure shop-floor to top-floor connections, SkkyHub—combined with the DataHub and ETK—has been designed from the ground up to meet the current and future needs of system integrators for industrial automation systems of all kinds.