Automatizace, robotizace

Zdeněk Hruška: Utilizing IoT or robots in your processes? Solve the basic elements of digitization first

A lack of system integrators, the potential of the 5G network for technology development, and the need for basic digitization – these are the topics discussed here by Zdeněk Hruška, a leading consultant in the field of manufacturing digitization.

These days, the severe shortage of IT experts is being felt by almost all companies across various sectors of the economy. This is doubly true of system integrators, and even more so for those who have deeper, long-term experience and can therefore demonstrate that their large integration projects are fully operational and performing well.

In the context of the ongoing digital transformation of large manufacturing companies, the demand for platforms that can process Big Data or handle general system integration has increased significantly in recent years.  

Our own current experience in the manufacturing sector is showing us that larger companies are no longer significantly differentiated from their competitors in terms of operating a high-quality, proven data platform and using it appropriately in subsequent data analysis and reporting.

This technological maturity is gradually becoming the norm, creating an even greater demand for strong system integrators. In fact, many larger manufacturing companies are slowly realizing that the train might already have left the station. Another factor that is increasing pressure on companies to ensure the quality of their data integration and related solutions is COVID, and the consequent shift of many processes to an online environment.

Our specialty: large data platforms across various sectors 

One of the main facilitators of digitization as such are the data themselves, which are, of course, an integral part of all integration projects. Adastra have been building big data-integration platforms across the market for many years. We have customers in all sectors of the economy, whether banks, telco, manufacturing, and primarily automotive (ŠKODA AUTO), or retail. We are thus preparing the soil for companies’ subsequent digitization projects. On top of this, we implement application projects in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, optimization, planning, etc.

The solutions in banks and telecommunications companies are usually the most developed, as digitization began in these sectors first. In manufacturing, meanwhile, the topic emerged later.

What is most important when it comes to building good infrastructure? First and foremost, it depends on the team and their qualities not only on a professional level but also on a human one, as well as the associated open culture. By “team”, we mean a composite of the supplier and the client. Key client representatives must be involved in the project from the very beginning, so that every detail of the new infrastructure can truly be made to measure . It goes without saying that strong support from top management is essential. The projects we’re talking about here are usually quite challenging, so there must be a clear vision and strategy behind them.

The 5G network will accelerate the IoT boom

I see the 5G network as a great opportunity for the further development of IoT projects. It creates huge potential for downstream applications that will make life easier not just for companies but actually for everyone. We can’t, however, ignore the accompanying risks that will have to be dealt with – such as information security.

In my opinion, all sectors of the economy will benefit from this technology. In the automotive industry, for example, 5G will help accelerate the development of autonomous driving systems, and individual cars on the road will be able to exchange more information, and do so much quicker.

In manufacturing in general, 5G will enable faster and greater data transfers from production lines and machines, which will help manage and plan production processes more quickly and accurately. 5G makes major developments possible wherever wireless data transfers are carried out. And, today, wireless data transfers are already part of many processes in all industries.

If I had to tell you which specific technologies I see as the most important at the moment, I’d be hard pressed to choose just one. We can talk about robotics, the increasing application of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data processing, Virtual Reality, the Cloud, and so on.

On the other hand, a large number of projects are still dedicated to the fundamental elements of digitization, whether we’re talking about tasks related to integration, platform preparation, application development, etc. This is catching up with, let’s say, the baggage of the past. A number of companies would like to utilize, for example, some form of Artificial Intelligence in their processes, but these advanced technologies have a number of prerequisites that first need to be addressed by “basic” digitization.