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'Internet Of Things' Drives Technology Convergence Into Connected Enterprise

By Jerry Fox, VP, CIO, Rockwell Automation Inc.

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Jerry Fox, VP, CIO, Rockwell Automation Inc.

Convergence of integrated control and information technologies
We believe we’re at an infl ection point, driven by the convergence of integrated control and information technologies, and accelerated by the arrival of the “Internet of Things.” We call this vision ‘The Connected Enterprise’. It involves industrial operations that are more productive, more agile and more sustainable. While manufacturing is sometimes seen as technology laggard, today we see an inrush of technology that’s changing the game, from labor intensity to highly productive production processes; from older industrial-age plants to clean, safe, effi cient production facilities; from isolated operations to an integrated, responsive supply chain.

The value at stake is enormous:
• Faster time to market through design productivity, and the agility to respond to customer trends more quickly.

• Improved asset utilization and optimization by manufacturing intelligence tools, driving improved reliability, and predictive maintenance.

• Lower total cost of ownership by easier technology migration.

• Enterprise risk management: protecting company intellectual property and brand image with a safe, secure operating environment.

“Manufacturing must accelerate the adoption of key Internet of Things technologies–the cloud, mobility and Big Data”

Adoption of Internet of Things
Similarly, we see our biggest challenge as an opportunity presented by the Internet of Things. Cisco estimates that the Internet of Things as having a potential value of $14 trillion, and that 27 percent, or nearly $4 trillion, will be found in manufacturing. This is by far the biggest opportunity across the entire Internet of Things landscape. To capture this value, manufacturing must accelerate the adoption of key Internet of Things technologies – the cloud, mobility, and Big Data.

Reduction in time and cost will help overcome challenges How will we and our customers take advantage of one of the greatest opportunities in our lifetime? From a manufacturing perspective, the next wave of investment will be at the plant infrastructure layer, using technologies like integrated control and information and the Internet of Things to deliver business value from The Connected Enterprise.

My role as a CIO
CIOs today must understand the business and know how to leverage technology to add value to the business. It’s not as much about rolling out systems and supporting infrastructure as it is about identifying value and driving opportunities that make an impact on the company and its stakeholders. Today, IT acts as an integrator between business process, information and technology. I emphasize three things our team should do well to add value across the enterprise:

1. Understand our businesses and the day-to-day processes executed to deliver value to customers and shareholders.

2. Understand the information produced inside our business and consumed by our business, and how that information is consumed for intelligent decision making.

3. Understand technology and how technology can be leveraged to optimize this information into intelligence

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