Avinash Velhal CIO - ATOS India Pvt. Ltd.


Digital Industry 4.0 – Connected Manufacturing
Today, Internet is moving from virtual space to physical space, so the new revolution which has come up is Industry 4.0. The industrial revolution started up earlier with the steam engine revolution that next went on to electricity and then to computers. Now it is in the 4th version where this industrial manufacturing is going to extend to the manufacturing laboratories and manufacturing factories.

Primarily what is happening is, that, there is going to be machine to machine interactions with Robotics coming along with Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics. The production is going to interact with the raw materials and also with the manufacturing setups. Siemens and other manufacturing factories have smart factories where the raw materials talk about what process has to be done on it with the next information batch passing onto the next work assembly robotics unit that sense what has to be done further rather than waiting for the instruction. This is leading to a tremendous productivity improvement in the process and it is no more isolated but it is starting right from the raw material stage to the product and further to the end consumer, and in each stage, even after consumer receives it, it’s getting connected to services. So right from the beginning i.e. the raw material stage to the end product and servicing, it’s a connected consumer who is interacting with this and it is opening up a big landscape called Industry 4.0.

This is happening because the European industries are falling behind with Asian manufacturing status because the value added index has gone down to 26% from 36% for all European industries and they are trying to get back that lead. Germany itself is putting 30 Billion Euros every year to catchup and they are focusing on Industry 4.0 adding to raw materials and adding to Manufacturing, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics, trying to get back this value add.

In terms of the Indian context, looking at Make in India, this is a huge opportunity for us to leapfrog through this activity because we are not in sync with old manufacturing investments which European countries still have. What happens in IT, we can do that for manufacturing with Modi’s - Make in India, as it’s a huge potential for us to jumpstart with all the skill set we have and the manufacturing lead, so it’s a big opportunity for India.

Intelligent solutions for Connected Manufacturing
IOT already is a part of landscape now. It’s nothing new, as it was already existing but now with more connectivity options and more development, it is now going to make a big impact. Everyone is trying to connect his house from his fridge to even a manufacturing setup.

There are lot of success stories in the Industry where the service component has really improved on embedding the IOT into the service mechanics. In Healthcare, IOT is making a big impact on wearables and other data, so there are pockets of industries which are leapfrogging the process but it will take time to settle, especially due to the security concerns. So that’s one of the challenges of IOT because the amount of information is huge and it depends on how we use it.

Impact of Convergence: Trends in Contemporary Digital Technologies
Today, convergence is causing the digital transformation of Industries. When you look at digital transformation, various industries at various stages of time depend on their IT investments, their domain which they are working and operating on, but primarily in next 2-3 years it’s going to be base line of all the industries. The 3rd platform SMAC is further added with the innovators which are coming up with Artificial intelligence, Data Analytics, M2M languages and Robotics, that are adding additional investors or innovators on this existing SMAC platform and it is leading to huge innovations across all industries based on where they are applying.

Futurist Predictions in the World of Technology
Predicting technology is very difficult but now if you look at what is happening as of now and what we can predict for next one year is that “there are future networks, where networking is going to be primarily important considering IOTs, Connected Consumers, Connected Services and there is going to be a power requirement where networks will go through a huge change, by getting optimized”.

Looking at Protocols and Software Defined Networks, it is going to be more Augmented Service Network which is going to be critical. So the next thing which is coming is Future Networks. Around the same line, if you look at Cloud, everybody is at Cloud Services or Commodity Services. There are challenges in terms of Data, Data Security, Data Hosting and related aspects but people are moving on to the Private Clouds and then Hybrid Clouds but it is essential that we need to have a kind of a Cloud Commodity that we can utilize any time across any vendor and across any locations. So what’s really coming is - Cloud Integration Services wherein you can have very transparent migration across Cloud across the vendors and you can really leverage your business processes. So that’s how it is coming. Already a few brokers are available and there will be much more importance based on protocols coming up to get this integrated further so that Hybrid Cloud becomes a reality down the line.

Disruptive Technologies: Advances that will transform Business
The new technology that comes to my mind is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Virtual Reality is more in gaming but Augmented Reality is really taking off.

Microsoft launched Hollow Lens on 30th March that revamped the total business processes where you can look at ‘Value Added Training Interaction with your Design Functions’. It is really very optimistic and futuristic kind of environment we are looking up to.

Second topic is Artificial Intelligence and there is a lot of hype going around for it. Companies like Google and IBM already invested into it. IBM Watson is there and using AI, so there is a lot of hype and challenges for AI.

Technology and People: The great job-creating machine?
There was a time when computers came in and people started agitating and going on strikes, saying “we are going to lose our jobs”. But nothing like that happened, people re-skilled themselves and re-worked themselves, so obviously there is going to be a tectonic shift in kind of skillsets required. There are jobs which are there that might get wiped out, and there are jobs which are coming which I cannot even anticipate. But the whole thing is going to shift across on the basis of skill acquisition and technology. So primarily we are getting more productive and more innovative. The dynamics will change and people will have jobs. Earlier we did not have ticketing system and today you can see ticketing has gone to a different volume. So many vendors have lost their agencies with ticketing aggregation but then they have shifted to something else and they will get new jobs. So technology will keep on shifting and you keep on adapting and change is constant, so you have to change according to the environment and adapt.

How evolving technology will change the Business World
Technology is changing where we should be ready to foresee what is coming next in the market and how is it affecting business, where we have to leverage and change our business models accordingly. So if you are static you will get wiped off because convergence is happening so fast. Technology cycle times have come down from years to months to weeks. So today we need to be on our toes to really look at what is coming up in terms of business, what are the changes which are happening, what business models are coming up, who are the rich players, who are the disrupters you need to align and react to that. That’s in terms of technology in enterprises. In terms of personal usage, I think, we need to be more careful about our privacy of data and security of data which is being challenged. With homes getting connected, with your data getting exposed you need to be critical and more serious about security of information. You are seeing nowadays, the last incident I heard was from a bank, where 82 million just vanished from a Bangladesh bank account. It’s not only individual, but also national. If you are holding on to some sensitive aspect, you have to be pretty careful about what you are doing. It starts right from your home and your attitude. As a person you need to be more aware of the security concerns

Change is constant and you keep on adapting, that’s the only thing I can say because you should never look back and see what you have done you can look forward and see what you can do and that approach will take you places.

Changing Role of the CIOs
Now the CIO’s role has taken a paradigm shift. Earlier the CIO role was cost cutting and having a fortified firewall environment which has completely turned 180 degrees.

Now the CIO has to tackle open systems where they have to give access to everyone, there is BYOD, where, there is consumerization of IT.

On the top of it, CIOs are working and looking at new avenues changing the business models. Instead of looking at backend systems, they are looking at front end systems, customer engaged processes, customer front ending applications which typically impact sales and the revenue channels getting new channels in place. They have a huge contribution if they lead with the right process and knowledge as new digital offices are really going to help them leverage and it’s not only about aligning with the business but now you have to leapfrog and innovate for business, which is the revised role of CIOs, right now.