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Manufacturers Go Digital to Stay Safe

There’s a war on―a new kind of war.  The enemy is sneaky but deadly, taking thousands of casualties.  A new breed of soldier fights for us, on the hospital ward front lines, equipped with specialized weapons and armor.  Every country is on high alert, fighting this war together.  And, as in many other wars, manufacturers are deeply involved.

A recent survey conducted by ARC Advisory Group and Automation.com asked over 100 manufacturers large and small around the world what’s happening with them right now, and what they are doing or should have done to prepare for this pandemic.  The results show a wide range of responses, with a common theme―do what it takes to stay safe.

Some firms have had to decrease production and lay off workers.  Others, with the ability to do so, are moving production to locations less impacted by the virus.  Quite a few companies have gone on the offense, switching production to high-demand items.  Car makers are turning out ventilation equipment.  Distilleries are providing alcohol for hand sanitizers.  Some fashion and textile companies are focusing on personal protective gear. The pharmaceutical industry has ramped up production of test kits and other medical supplies. And of course, producers of disinfectants and paper products are working overtime.

Employees Need to Stay Safe

Almost all companies are also on the defense, trying to stay safe, protecting employees who must remain on-site with distancing and physical barriers, installing robots where possible, and by speeding up digital transformation programs, allowing people to work remotely.

“We learned that some manufacturers wish they had put more thought and effort into digital transformation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report said. “But many of these companies have since adapted and are now adding new digital technologies and digitally enabled solutions as opportunities arise.”

What kinds of technologies?  They are using artificial intelligence (AI) software to gather real-time production data to calculate risk for what-if scenarios and market fluctuations.  They employ optimization software linked to online processes for in-plant predictive maintenance and off-site supply chain management.  They are connecting OT staff to production data for remote monitoring, and IT staff to analytical tools. All of these technologies rely on secure, real-time connectivity to process data, which Skkynet provides.

The current situation for most companies is in flux.  In-house changes happen daily, while product demand and supply chains are also variable.  At the time of the survey many companies were still preparing for the pandemic, or were operating with reduced staff, shortages, and lack of market data. Among employees, for over 80% of respondents, the three main changes were new sanitation policies, social distancing, and working remotely.

Based on this survey, the ARC Advisory Group recommends increasing adoption of digital technology.  This will allow companies to provide their staff with the abilities to stay safe by working and collaborating remotely, monitoring production systems through digital dashboards.  Along with this recommendation comes moving data and applications to the cloud, as well as improved IT capabilities and cybersecurity. Most companies surveyed were either grateful to be on the path to digital transformation, or making it a top priority to be there.

Embarking on the Journey of Digital Transformation

A Skkynet team attended the 23rd Annual ARC Industry Forum last week in Orlando, Florida, themed “Driving Digital Transformation in Industry and Cities”. They came back with a vision of how the digital transformation journey is shaping up—for those who are in the driver’s seat.

The main takeaway was that among this group of C-Level executives, VPs, directors and managers of some of the top manufacturing and process industries worldwide, everyone is on the journey. Some are starting out, others well underway, while still others have already completed some significant milestones. “People are realizing that this is something they have to do,” said Michael Quartarone, Skkynet’s Director of Channel Sales. “Everyone was interested in two things: What does the future state look like? and What can we learn from others that will help us on the journey?”

Expert guidance

Guiding them on this journey were digital transformation experts from major corporations like AVEVA, Ford, Schneider Electric, BP, Dow, and GE. In a series of keynotes on the first day, these seasoned veterans of IoT implementation shared their experiences of how they turned a lofty vision into concrete action. They told their stories of how they got started, where they got stuck, who helped them, what resources they tapped into, and what are the business cases that validate their efforts.

David Kramer of Ford gave a particularly compelling description of how they are taking a long view of digital transformation, the steps they are taking and how they look for quick wins as they execute on their vision. Steve Beamer at BP shared their challenges of ensuring that their digital transformation efforts deliver key process improvements where they can impact things like worker safety.

Forum Focus

The bulk of the conference consisted of forums that covered topics like IoT data communications, security, edge processing, OT-IT convergence, and more. The Skkynet team remarked on how receptive the industry leaders they met were to our technology, and how well they grasped the value of what we are doing. “There is a noticeable change in perception of IoT and its value,” said Xavier Mesrobian, Skkynet’s VP of Sales and Marketing. “People now understand more clearly the challenges of providing secure, remote access to OT systems in real time, and they appreciate what we offer.”

“Some big vendors are taking this journey,” said Quartarone. “Microsoft, Intel, SAP, GE, and other players are actively engaged in in the IoT space delivering innovation and solutions. They all had booths at the conference, demonstrating their level of commitment. We had some very fruitful and enlightening conversations.”

The forum was hosted by ARC Advisory Group, who offer advisory services, marketing analytics, and technology selection services at the corporate level for the manufacturing and process industries. Skkynet has been working closely with ARC for years now, and will continue to build our relationship, sharing our perspective and expertise in in this journey of IoT and digital transformation.

Skkynet Presents DataHub at AVEVA World Summit 2018

Corporate leaders will see and learn the advantages of high-quality data communications for digital transformation.

Mississauga, Ontario, October 2, 2018 – Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (“Skkynet” or “the Company”) (OTCQB: SKKY), a global leader in real-time data communication for industrial systems, will be presenting DataHub software at the AVEVA World Summit 2018 in Palm Springs, California, on October 9 to 11.  Available on the AVEVA Digital Exchange, and offering unparalleled real-time data connectivity options for AVEVA customers, DataHub software provides a proven, secure way to integrate in-plant and remote systems into a wide range of digital transformation scenarios.

“AVEVA’s strategic roadmap for digital transformation naturally benefits from secure, robust data communications,” said Paul Thomas, President of Skkynet. “Forward-thinking executives who rely on AVEVA software and services will appreciate the value that the DataHub offers for integrating real-time data in the plant, connecting OT (operations technology) to IT, accessing remote locations, or leveraging cloud services.”

The AVEVA World Summit 2018 provides CEOs, CIOs, Innovation Officers, EVPs, SVPs and other leaders an opportunity to hear about innovative practices and to see for themselves how digital technology is transforming assets and operations. The Summit will include cutting edge discussions, networking opportunities and the chance to get hands on with the latest technology.

At the Skkynet booth, live demonstrations of DataHub technology will give these corporate leaders a practical vision of how to securely and seamlessly integrate data from their production systems with the rest of their corporate systems, to increase efficiencies and build competitiveness.

Skkynet’s products and services—DataHub for in-plant, SkkyHub for cloud, and ETK for embedded devices—provide secure access to industrial data through open, standard industrial protocols, allowing users to fully integrate OT with IT systems and other applications anywhere in the world. Secure by design, they require no VPN, no open firewall ports, no special programming, and no additional hardware. Secure integration of embedded devices, on-premise systems, and remote locations through seamless, end-to-end connectivity in real time lets users derive maximum value from Industrial IoT and Industrie 4.0.

About Skkynet

Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: SKKY) is a global leader in real-time cloud information systems. The Skkynet Connected Systems platform includes the award-winning SkkyHub™ service, DataHub® middleware, and Embedded Toolkit (ETK) software. The platform enables real-time data connectivity for industrial, embedded, and financial systems, with no programming required. Skkynet’s platform is uniquely positioned for the “Internet of Things” and “Industry 4.0” because unlike the traditional approach for networked systems, SkkyHub is secure-by-design.  For more information, see https://skkynet.com.

Safe Harbor

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements, including beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future, and results of new business opportunities. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors, such as the inherent uncertainties associated with new business opportunities and development stage companies. Skkynet assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements. Although Skkynet believes that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be accurate. Investors should refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in Skkynet’s annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.