Fourth Industrial Revolution with Dr. Rajeeva Kumar – Part 2

Summary: In this episode I discuss the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), with my guest Dr. Rajeeva Kumar. In part 2 of this two-part series, we continue our discussion on 4IR with more on edge computing, recommendations on how to get started with 4IR, and several other factors to consider including cybersecurity. Don’t forget to check out Part 1 if you missed it!

Topics Covered:

  • Edge Computing 
  • How to get started with 4IR
  • Other important factors including cybersecurity

Guest Bio: 

Rajeeva is currently the Advanced Technology and Digital Leader for Nexus Controls. He has 29 years of experience in research and development for control systems. In the past he has worked for National Aerospace Laboratories (India), the German Aerospace Center (Germany), and the GE Global Research Center (United States) on projects such as flight control programs, actuator fault detection, isolation, and reconfiguration, physics based modeling, model based sensing and controls, parameter estimation, and signal processing. Rajeeva has a BT of Aeronautical Engineering, an MT of Aerospace Engineering, an MS of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering. 

Additional Resources:


Podcast Article:

Why 4IR is potentially more disruptive than its predecessors

Building on what was covered in Part 1, 4IR is different from earlier industrial revolutions in terms of adoption speed, scope, and impact. The unprecedented speed will have a broad impact and the potential to significantly disrupt business – in many positive ways. In essence, 4IR can make systems smarter and more autonomous to:

  • Create new growth opportunities
  • Improve customer experiences
  • Remain relevant and viable in the future

Advice for companies getting started or doing more with 4IR technologies

At the core of 4IR is autonomous operations through data/information sharing. A company looking to get started on this journey must start by carefully evaluating its business practices, operations, and products. They must figure out how better connectivity and timely access to information can help improve their products and help them align with customer expectations.

  • Analyze what information will make the business more productive or more relevant
  • Determine who needs that information and when
  • Identify the data required to generate that information

Achieving the competitive advantages of 4IR: Often the important information needed to make quick and reliable decisions may not reside with the person who needs it or be readily accessible where and when it is needed. When those insights are made available, the benefits have tremendous potential. For instance, imagine the business advantage of having connectivity and near real-time communication of information such as machine health to supply chain and the ERP system.

Consider the benefits of 4IR connectivity when confronted with an industrial control system (ICS) alert

Upon an ICS alert, a connected 4IR-driven operation would have immediate access to:

  • Relevant information about the problem including when it happened and what the machine was doing at that time
  • Diagnostic data
  • Any relevant time series data before the problem happened
  • Any history of such a problem and how was it handled previously
  • All relevant manuals
  • Experts in other parts of the company in real-time
  • The ability to share videos or pictures in real time

The role of 4IR in attrition and autonomous operations

Attrition: The workforce transition underway presents unique challenges to industrial manufacturers as skilled workers retire en masse. Once the experience is gone, it’s gone. 4IR helps to address this issue by allowing the retiring workforce to share information broadly, especially expertise that may reside in one part of the company.

Autonomous Operations: The role of operators, engineering, and maintenance personnel while crucial, is going to shift. They will need to be more business savvy, able to understand data and make business decisions based on that data.

Edge computing, the cloud, and concerns about cyber-security

  • Edge computing – moving data capture close to the place where it is generated -- can improve uptime, overall system integrity, and performance without compromising safety. It also helps users avoid uncertainty related to data latency with the public cloud.
  • When people talk about edge computing and 4IR, often they think about cloud computing. More importantly, it’s about connectivity, about how sharing information can help your business—and that information sharing does not need to be done via the cloud.
  • Connected systems do increase cyber vulnerabilities, but the risk may be overemphasized, especially in light of the extraordinary benefits possible with 4IR. Manual processes and other cybersecurity protocols, such as those listed below, can help keep a system safe.
  • Proper product design
  • Employee training
  • Appropriate cybersecurity measures
  • Multiple layers of protection by design

Additional resources to support 4IR

  • Use Lifecycle Management Services: Many leading organizations rely on Industrial Control Services from Nexus Controls, the leader in industrial cybersecurity, for 24/7 technical support, live remote diagnostics, at-site field engineering, and parts management.
  • Implement a cybersecurity solution: As a flexible and configurable cybersecurity solution, Nexus OTArmor is specifically designed to protect industrial controls environments. It offers proactive protection policies and centralized reporting capabilities needed to reduce the threat surface, manage cyber risk and comply with global security standards.
  • Keep assets protected: Nexus Controls offers a Cyber Asset Protection security program that delivers validated patches for operating systems and applications. It provides anti-virus/intrusion detection signatures to ensure HMIs, servers, switches, and network intrusion detection devices are protected from cyber vulnerabilities.

IF YOU MISSED IT, check out Part 1 of the Fourth Industrial Revolution Podcast: Part 1 of this podcast describes 4IR, compares it to the previous industrial revolutions, and examines why it matters so much to users of Industrial Control Systems (ICS). The episode covers different elements of 4IR such as low-cost sensors, computing power, cloud computing, connectivity and network protocols, data analytics, edge computing, and more.