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    New realities beyond traditional IT that embrace Industry 4.0

    Industry 4.0, driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) has become central to digital transformation in the manufacturing industry. More than just a flashy catchphrase, Industry 4.0 brings with it trends and technologies that promise to reshape the way things are made.

    Speaking at the NEC XON's annual summit, George Senzere, Schneider Electric’s solutions engineering manager, shared Schneider Electric’s approach and unique positioning to help the industry deal with the inescapable forces pushing Industry 4.0 forward.

    “Rather than speak about Industry 4.0 as a future trend, we need to accept that it is already here. IoT has already begun to transform the products we use. There has been a giant leap for manufacturing innovation, with the introduction of smart devices controlling machines on the shop floor,” says Senzere.

    “Through this new kind of monitoring of productivity and efficiency of employees, machinery and business processes, management is now able to access important information in real time.”

    The digital twin

    “In this light, how we manage our data has become equally important. One good example would be the digital twin - a virtual doppelganger of a real-world system. Data is fed from the actual system to the digital version, which then mimics everything. Businesses can then make predictions around maintenance of their systems without physically taking it apart. This is just one indication of where digital technologies, combined with IOT, can take us,” he says.

    Business owners may also need to pay more attention to the physical infrastructure they invest in, making sure they choose equipment that can adapt quickly to support the future demands driven by IoT and growth - in the cloud and at the edge - without ever compromising availability or operational efficiency.

    “Transmitting data between sites and business systems created barriers that were not overcome until edge computing became practical. Edge computing remedies these obstacles by moving storage and processing capabilities from larger central data centres closer to where the initial data is being generated. It has also become more affordable to deploy regional data centres, server rooms and data centres, thanks to advances in IT infrastructure and connectivity solutions that is geared to scale together with IT demands.”

    Data centre monitoring has become critical in monitoring multi-vendor physical infrastructure across multiple sites, covering power, cooling and security. A unified, consistent reporting and action interface, Data Centre management software alerts the relevant people when there is a risk or threat to the availability of the IT equipment.

    “Even better, it has the capability to alert you before something goes wrong, allowing for proactive and pre-emptive fault-finding,” Senzere says.

    “Schneider Electric South Africa’s IT Division is the leading provider of physical infrastructure solutions for the entire data centre and its life cycle. From cloud or on-premise management and control of data centre to connected devices, our EcoStruxure solution is future ready for the changing landscape of data centres.”

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