The key to IIoT transformation – visibility

Mohammed Alyousef, regional sales manager for Netscout Arbor looks on how IIoT is a game changer for manufacturing

Alyousef: The widespread adoption of IIoT offers manufacturers the opportunity to improve their operational efficiencies and speed up time-to-market.
Alyousef: The widespread adoption of IIoT offers manufacturers the opportunity to improve their operational efficiencies and speed up time-to-market.

Industrial internet of things (IIoT) is dramatically changing production capabilities and efficiencies. This has led many manufacturers to view the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as a game-changer because of its promise to enhance operational efficiency and help to scale up automation processes.

With growing adoption of sensors across the factory floor and an increasing reliance on applications, such as manufacturing execution systems (MES), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and CAD/CAM tools, along with inventory management and CRM solutions, manufacturers are increasingly reliant on IT service delivery. Of course, with widespread use of these technologies, the risks of slowdowns and outages have grown tremendously, putting even greater pressure on IT to assure service.

The importance of visibility in IIoT

As more and more manufacturers rely on networks and applications delivered through private data centres, in public cloud or SaaS, or based in distributed plants, where communications are contained within the factory, performance and availability will be absolutely vital.

To minimise the risk of disruptions and outages, best-in-class manufacturing IT organisations are creating strategies to gain visibility into hybrid cloud environments. It’s important to consider the importance of network environments – whether it be private cloud data centres, backup data centres, public cloud, factories or distribution centres, or contact centres. End-to-end visibility is key to network performance management and availability.

The same can be said for protecting application performance, availability and security. As applications, such as customer- and revenue-impacting applications, manufacturing-related applications, software-as-a-service applications, and voice and video services take on an increasingly important role for manufacturers, visibility will be key to assuring performance.

IT professionals can employ a combination of network visibility strategies to assure the performance and security of the network and the applications running on it. Deciding which approach makes the most sense will depend on the specific needs of each manufacturing organisation.

Vendor-independent visibility solutions

One of the more successful performance and security monitoring strategies employed by manufacturers is to leverage vendor-independent solutions. Because they are not tied to a single infrastructure vendor or cloud provider, these solutions deliver end-to-end visibility analysis that helps pinpoint the source of a vulnerability or disruption, rather than simply ruling out one part of the environment as the source. In short, this enables IT reduce Mean-Time-To-Resolve (MTTR) problems, as well as become more proactive, getting out ahead of problems before they impact the end-user.

The widespread adoption of IIoT offers manufacturers the opportunity to improve their operational efficiencies and speed up time-to-market. Achieving service assurance visibility and extending it beyond data centres to plants and every aspect of a manufacturer’s IT infrastructure will enable these companies to unlock the full potential of IIoT. With greater control, more efficient operations, and fewer outages, manufacturers can fundamentally transform their business to meet the needs of today’s market and that of the future.

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