In the Midst of Change, Somethings Remain the Same
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In the Midst of Change, Somethings Remain the Same

Richard Hill
Published on May 10, 2022

Industry 4.0 is the fourth revolution in manufacturing. I won't bore you with the details of the prior iteration or versions and how we got where we are today, only that Industry 4.0 promises to take the interconnectedness of devices and machines to a new level. Smart or intelligent computing and autonomous systems using analytics and AI/ML techniques supported by big data are integral parts of the industry 4.0 paradigm. Industry 4.0, in short, is a significant change and will impact a manufacturing organization's digital transformation.

A Bow Wave of Devices and Machines
Since the start of Industry 4.0, there has been a bow wave in the number and types of device types to account for. Beyond the basic desktop, laptop, and tablets, other device types making their appearance are industrial mobile devices, mixed reality (VR) headsets/smart glasses (e.g., Oculus, HoloLens), industrial internet of things (IIoT), smart cameras, beacons, and the list goes on. And sure, there was some robotics back in the industry 3.0 timeframe, such as stationary Articulated Robotic Arms. Today, there is a broader range of robotic types in manufacturing like Autonomous Mobile Robots and Inventory Robots, Automated Guided Carts and Forklifts, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, etc.

IIoT, Data and AI
Since the inception of the Internet of Things (IoT), the use of IoT devices has steadily grown. IoT devices at their core collect data via sensors and perform actions using actuators. IoT sensors and actuators can be applied to many different business sectors, which account for the wide range of IoT use cases. A more recent trend is the convergence of OT and IT networks, systems, and sharing of data that Industrial IoT devices collect, allowing both businesses and operations to utilize and benefit from information sharing. With the wealth of data becoming available, AI/ML and predictive analytics can provide insights that can be of value. Also, because of the sheer amount of data generated, the trend is clearly moving towards edge computing in closer proximity to a manufacturing facility that utilizes AI/ML processing, as well as other services.

Communication is Key
With the number of machines and devices throughout today's industry 4.0 manufacturing environment, and the need for orchestration and automation, communication to and from machines and devices is key. The networks used in these environments include the ethernet, mesh networks, wireless, and, more recently, public and private 5G networks. The introduction of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G networks is driven by the need for faster / lower latency communications to/from machines and devices and data throughput. The communication protocols have also increased to include ZigBee, LoRa, NB-IoT, Z-Wave, Sigfox, LTE, and Bluetooth Smart, as some examples.

So, Where Does IAM Fit In?
I’ve talked a bit about what has changed, but what hasn’t changed or remains the same? Within the Industry 4.0 environment, each machine and device on the network still needs to be identified, and each connection across the systems-of-systems still needs to be authenticated. Access to digital resources continues to require authorization and controlled by digital policies. This is where Identity and Access

Management (IAM) fits in. An extension of IAM that can help with the management of devices is a Unified Endpoint Management solution which can track, perform device health assessments, and patch devices on an ongoing basis. An IoT Device Management platform can manage the lifecycle of IoT devices, as well as the monitoring, protecting, and visualization of IoT device status and health and the control of its data. Other cyber security solutions can also be added, but at the core, IAM will continue to be needed in the industry 4.0 digital transformation.

European Identity and Cloud (EIC) Conference
Because we understand the importance of protecting critical assets, and because we are committed to helping your organization succeed, KuppingerCole has a great deal of content available in a variety of formats, including live events such as the 2022 KuppingerCole European Identity and Cloud (EIC) conference taking place in Berlin and online in May.

The agenda includes keynote presentations and panel discussions on Assessing the Business Impact of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Reinventing Government with Technology, Future Government: Transforming Public Services to Be More Agile and Innovative, Zero Trust Best Practices, and The Changing Cyber Threat Landscape, as well as other cyber security-related presentations including:

To find out more about the offerings in these markets and how to select the products that are best suited to your organization, have a look at the following Leadership Compasses:


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