Manav Kapoor, Managing Director, SteelBird International

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 is playing an important role in the manufacturing industry, as advancement of technologies has allowed faster and more flexible communications on the factory floor, efficient production of goods, and real-time decision-making. Technologies can offer innovative ways of improving effectiveness by providing sophistication without relying on automated machinery.

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

Steelbird International uses various IT enterprise solutions, which are also used by other manufacturing bodies and entities as these meet industry standards and are user friendly. They make a process whether it is automation or selection of raw material quite easy. This helps in cutting short the entire manufacturing chain and identifying any miscalculation in the process.

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?

The scope of IoT, cloud computing and big data analytics is huge not only in the manufacturing industry but in other industries as well. These new technologies are making our work easy both in day-to-day and working operations. These are evolving technologies, which will run the industry for the next 100 years. As for SteelBird, we are trying to incorporate these technologies in our daily operations and are adapting to them.

“I consider Industry 4.0 as the fourth industrial revolution. While the previous three revolutions were labour and workforce intensive, Industry 4.0 is technology driven.” Manav Kapoor

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

The adoption of new technologies itself is a big challenge as the existing IT and telecom infrastructure has to be changed to accommodate new technologies. Further, training to use the new technologies needs to be imparted to employees at the middle and lower level of management, which is a big hurdle in the implementation process.

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

I consider Industry 4.0 as the fourth industrial revolution. Whille the previous three revolutions were labour and workforce intensive, Industry 4.0 is technology driven. It incorporates all the technical advancements and will help the automation as well as the manufacturing industry to develop sustainability. The key technologies that will shape the future of the manufacturing industry are cyber-physical systems, IoT, cloud computing and cognitive computing.