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Advantech expert on enabling Digital Transformation through IIoT

Advantech expert on enabling Digital Transformation through IIoT

ManufacturingThought LeadershipTop Stories

As the manufacturing and energy sectors look to digital solutions to enable transformation, CIOs are facing the challenge of identifying the best technology solutions for their IIoT requirements. Fanny Hsia, South Africa Channel Sales Manager, Advantech, introduces us to Advantech and its main focus areas, and outlines some key advice for CIOs looking for solutions to enable Digital Transformation.

Introducing Advantech and its customers

Advantech’s corporate vision is to enable an intelligent planet. The company is a global leader in the fields of IoT intelligent systems and embedded platforms.

To embrace the trends of IoT, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, Advantech promotes IoT hardware and software solutions with the Edge Intelligence WISE-PaaS core to assist business partners and clients in connecting their industrial chains.

Advantech is also working with business partners to co-create business ecosystems that accelerate the goal of industrial intelligence.

Our target customers are those focused on Industrial 4.0, factory automation, Smart Cities and power and energy fields.

Regional challenges and technology use cases

Southern Africa is the new development region for Advantech. When we are talking about the ‘new development regions’, we are referring to the lack of resources and local power.

Advantech has spent around half a decade building up the local distributor power and increasing the Advantech brand awareness. Our goal is building up the subsidiary company in Southern Africa.

Due to COVID-19, Digital Transformation and AI solutions are a trend in the region. For example, our South Africa distributor received many enquiries regarding our  Advantech Factory automation solution and Fever Infection Prevention Solutions.

The HMI solution is very popular in Southern Africa, while customers are also keen to find out more about our AI solution and 5G technology – these are the trending topics that people are talking about.

Working with partners

We work with our partner through a focused online campaign which we call Focus Advantech Online cooperation.

Our partner provides us with the popular topics and market trend information each quarter and then Advantech will use this information to design our next quarter’s EDM content to advise marketing activities and online campaign.

Advice for CIOs accelerating Digital Transformation strategies

When talking about Digital Transformation, the range is so wide. For example, at Advantech we are not just talking about one single product – we are now a leading company able to provide solutions from Edge devices to software, and even to cloud services.

Advantech also provides various solution packages to different applications, such as factory automation, CNC, OEE, etc.

At our recent IIoT Virtual Summit, entitled ‘Connecting Industrial IoT innovation’, our IIoT President, Linda Tsai, told delegates that agile innovation in the area of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will be the key in driving forward Digital Transformation in industrial applications into 2021 and beyond.

She identified six key technology trends for 2021: Digital Transformation, 5G, decoupling, device-to-cloud digitalisation, empowered Edge and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Responding to a question from Intelligent CIO during a press conference, she highlighted how 5G, AI and Edge technology would be central to discussions around post-COVID recovery.

She said while uptake in AI and 5G technology in manufacturing settings had been ‘very slow’ before COVID, due to there being no urgency, the challenges over recent months had shone a light on the importance of these technologies.

“We also feel that AI and 5G are speeding up Digital Transformation in manufacturing,” she added. “We need more intelligent technology, as there are now fewer human workers on the line. Data communication between equipment will become very important.

“We see a lot of manufacturing organisations considering using 5G as their internal network because of low latency and compatibility with IoT devices.”

She also highlighted existing use cases for AI technology, including for surveillance and security, while stating that there had been an increase in enquiries from companies wishing to speed up deployment.

“This technology is helping governments and the private sector during the pandemic, enabling temperature detection and social distancing, for example,” she added.

She told attendees that, according to the GSMA Mobile Economy 2019 Report, 5G will contribute more than US$2 trillion to the global economy up to 2035, of which 35% will go to the manufacturing and utilities sectors. Meanwhile, research from MarketsandMarkets estimates the value of AI in the manufacturing at US$17.2 billion by 2025.

“Advantech has developed an extensive portfolio of AI platforms including Edge AI systems, sensors and inference servers, as well as Deep Learning training servers, to assist customers in exploiting the potential of AI. Meanwhile, in the area of device-to-cloud, we are again at the forefront of innovation, with solutions including private cloud solutions, industrial APP, Edge intelligence software and cross-platform middleware – all specifically developed to combining optimised computing with robust and reliable performance in even the most demanding environments.

“There is no getting away from the fact that Digital Transformation will impact every manufacturer in the world in the years to come and harnessing the power of data will be critical to competitiveness as we move from Industry 4.0 and towards Industry 5.0.”

Meanwhile, our CTO, Allan Yang, discussed the important role of technology in ensuring organisations can stay competitive.

He said: “40 years ago, a company that didn’t invest in IT is probably no longer running. 20 years ago, a company that didn’t start evolving towards Internet technology might not exist today. 10 or 20 years from now, probably no company would survive without adapting to use AI or a data platform.

“Technology actually helps a company to stay competitive or even get ahead. As new technology emerges, it helps a company to cope with the changes more effectively.”

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