Dr Vishad Rahangdale, Chief Information Officer, Electrotherm (India) Limited

The manufacturing industry is witnessing technological disruption that is changing the entire factory set-up. A robust information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure is central to this transformation, with organisations deploying various new-age mobility solutions to enhance business performance and efficiency. Manufacturing companies are also warming up to the use-cases of technologies such as cloud, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and internet of things (IoT). However, the deployment of these technologies comes with its own set of challenges. Industry 4.0 is the new buzz word, which is all about intelligent, interconnected and smart machines. It incorporates various technical advancements to automate the various production processes. Experts from the manufacturing industry talk about the emerging ICT trends, the evolving technology landscape, challenges and the future outlook…

What role is ICT playing in the manufacturing industry?

ICT has become an integral part of business strategy, particularly in the manufacturing industry. This is a phenomenal transformation if the latest trends of adoption of emerging technologies are to be believed.

What are the telecom, enterprise and mobility solutions used by your organisation? How have they helped in enhancing business performance and efficiency?

At Electrotherm, which has multi-locational manufacturing facilities, telecom plays a key role in providing IT services centrally. The IT landscape with a robust telecom layer not only helps in reducing the operational cost, but also ensures high availability of services irrespective of the geographical location.

What is the scope of new and emerging technologies such as cloud, big data analytics and IoT in the manufacturing industry? Are you leveraging any of these technologies?

We have already embarked on the Indus­try 4.0 journey with a roadmap for the next four years. This initiative is part of our business strategy. A high-level convergence of emerging technologies like CA/ MES/CAM/3D, cloud, IoT, AI, AR/VR and big data analytics is going to happen. We are foreseeing large-scale alterations in business processes and deployment of technology services.

What are the challenges faced in managing the existing IT and telecom infrastructure, and deploying new technologies?

With the complex mix of service models and transactions criss-crossing the systems, it is essential to establish an underlined infoway, which is primarily dependent on telco services. Another critical area is the protection of the complex infrastructure from cyberthreats. The issue of cybersecurity and data security is a major part of the Industry 4.0 roadmap.

“Industry 4.0 is the future of manufacturing. There is no alternative to that. The upcoming 5G network will further reenforce the fourth industrial revolution.” Dr Vishad Rahangdale

What are your views on Industry 4.0? Which technology trends will shape the future of the manufacturing industry?

Industry 4.0 is the future of manufacturing. There is no alternative to that. The Indian manufacturing industry is taking the lead in the industrial transformation. The upcoming 5G network will further re-enforce the fourth industrial revolution.