Orange Business: ‘5G, the IT and OT convergence are critical Industry 4.0 drivers’
At the end of last year, Orange Business announced a major strategic overhaul, placing analytics and automation at the heart of its operations, and stating that 2-to-3% per year of its future growth through 2023 will come from supplying connectivity and intelligence to enterprises, rather than consumers. Further, the company believes that the emergence of 5G will prop up the digital transformation in the industrial sector, as it drives the Industry 4.0 revolution.
However, for Orange, it’s not just about 5G. In a recent blog post, the company’s Head of the IoT Industrial Vertical Werner Ruess wrote that the convergence of IT and OT will also be a critical Industry 4.0 driver. Historically, he said, IT has focused on data, information management and communications, while OT concerned itself with the operational side, controlling physical devices and processes.
However, there is a lot to indicate that the convergence of these two areas will optimize business processes, reduce costs, improve project timelines, as well as provide manufacturers with a transparent view of their manufacturing assets.
To gain deeper insight into Ruess’ article and the company’s new strategy, RCR Wireless News spoke with Orange’s Vice President Industry 4.0 Emmanuel Routier.
“We’re putting together all of the capability that we have, especially in the new strategy that we have, in which B2B is a key axis of the plan,” Routier said. “Our approach is to develop the end-to-end value proposal, so we aggregated the components that we have within different domains.”
In addition, the company is providing cloud services, as well as services in areas like cybersecurity — which is particularly important in Industry 4.0 — and data analytics.
Routier also discussed Orange’s approach to some Industry 4.0 use cases further, commenting, “The first dimension of Industry 4.0 use cases is what we call the people-related dimension,” Routier explained. “In other words, the workers on the shop floor and the operators that are actually performing the work.”
The list of ways in which Industry 4.0 technology can aid industrial workers is almost endless, but Orange tends to focus on two key areas: the connected workers and worker safety.
“In the first case, we can allow better access to the right information to improve their work. For instance, there are use cases that make it so workers can see where specific maintenance tools are located with great accuracy,” said Routier.
“And for worker safety,” he continued, “If a person is entering a dangerous location within a facility, the system will indicate that protective gear is needed, as well as what type of gear and how to use the gear, and it can even detect if that protective gear is on the person or nearby.”
On the more OT side of things, Routier explained that asset management is also a critical use case for Industry 4.0 services and technology.
“Improving the usage of assets, delivering the right tools to the operators and using the machines the correct way are all examples of ways to enhance operational efficiency for manufactures,” he said.