The concept of digitalization within the manufacturing industry can feel a bit like trying to build a bridge between two islands – IT and OT. Each side has been aware of the other and each understands the other’s importance. But the idea of connecting to one other can be met with resistance.
In the webinar, IT-OT Refresher Specifying Industrial Computers for Projects, we confirm that this divide is more common than not. John Fryer, Senior Director of Industry Solutions at Stratus states, “There’s that hard separation, often, between the IT world, where all our email and ERP type of applications run, and the OT world, where all the automation applications are run.”
As we march closer to the next iteration of manufacturing, Industry 4.0, an increasingly competitive manufacturing world will be driving this bridge building. Companies that have been working with a traditional system for decades are going to evolve, eventually looking a bit more like the IT side of things. Fryer shares that this means there will be an increasing requirement to deploy new applications and conduct deeper analytics.
Despite the fact that IT and OT often seem as though they are speaking different languages, when it actually comes down to the execution of an integrated, digitized system – the things they care about are remarkably similar.
Both sides are concerned with cybersecurity. As the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) grows, more and more devices are becoming interconnected. This has the potential to create a multitude of entry points for hackers. Both the IT and manufacturing divisions also want to be able to implement systems based on industry-wide standards, versus custom, proprietary technology. Each side needs this so they can efficiently scale and grow with demand. Non-scheduled downtime is also an overlapping concern, as it can grind profits and production to a halt.