Open is Key to Unlocking Value of Edge and Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing

February 24, 2021

By Manish Chawla, Industry GM, Global Chemicals, Petroleum & Industrial Products

In response to the transformative effects of the pandemic, businesses around the world reported accelerating the digitization of their operations, fundamentally reshaping how work gets done in the new global economy. 

This journey was not without challenges. The IT puzzle necessarily grew as organizations invested in tools to generate data and provide more remote access. With that in mind, IBM, Red Hat and Siemens today announced a collaboration to provide Siemens’ leading industrial IoT platform combined with IBM’s open technologies to reduce the complexity and help connect the shop floor to the top floor.

In addition, this emphasis on open strategies unlocks a lot more value from edge computing – a critical technology that enables production line managers to assess and act on real-time data to enhance efficiency, maximize uptime for machinery and safety for the workers. Edge computing brings the processing power to where the data is generated, rather than the other way around.

If unfamiliar with edge computing, consider the popularization of self-driving car technology. As these vehicles navigate roads and highways, they rely on hybrid cloud computing for processing the very data that enables communication with devices and detection of nearby motorists. 

For any driver, being able to think and react quickly is crucial for safety. When you’re on the road, milliseconds matter. The same rules apply to autonomous vehicles that send information back and forth with the Cloud for processing. Edge computing allows that data to get processed faster. In the vehicle, faster data can help the self-driving car make split-second calculations that can avert run-ins with other vehicles. 

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On the factory floor, speed matters, too.  

The milliseconds of latency involved with sending data back-and-forth from the Cloud can add up for manufacturers, who often oversee high-speed, sometimes hazardous shop floors where milliseconds can make the difference between a machine failure or prevent safety risks for workers. 

What’s distinct about our approach is that, through Red Hat OpenShift, we provide a common open foundation for all the parts of every workflow—from the edge to the enterprise cloud – that works seamlessly on the same technology foundation. It enables collaboration among various partners that need to work together to deliver outcomes for an industrial enterprise. This means significant simplification in designing the network of sensors, devices and data. 

The past year has underscored the importance of digital transformation for agility and resiliency in the face of the pandemic. We’re pleased to continue to collaborate with other industry leaders to reduce the barriers to help manufacturers meet the challenges of the marketplace.

Manish Chawla
Industry GM, Global Chemicals, Petroleum & Industrial Products


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