Automation Trends – What to Expect in 2018
Trend 1: The Industrial IoT becoming popular
Large and medium sized industries have used automation systems many decades now, but they were islanded from each other as well as from Enterprise systems. Industrial IoT architectures can solve this problem and in a secure manner. Secondly, IIoT enables even smaller industries to get the benefits of automation and business intelligence that was until now only available for large companies. Earlier, it was unviable for an automation system to be implemented for only a few sensors and actuators as the platform costs (PLC/SCADA/DCS) were high. Now we can use cloud based IoT systems from Amazon, IBM Bluemix or Microsoft Azure to build low cost systems that charge only for the amount of data handled. There are also now several open source IoT platforms, which are even cheaper.
Trend 2: Functional Safety & SIL growing in importance
Until a few years back, Functional Safety and SIL concepts were used only in a few industry sectors such as Oil & Gas or large chemical plants. Today it is being adopted everywhere on a much larger scale, including in the Food & Beverage industries, Automobiles, Trains, buildings, shipping and more.
Trend 3: Industrial Cybersecurity is now mainstream
Until now, many people in the Industrial Automation field did not really give much importance to Industrial Control System security (ICS Cybersecurity). However, of late there have been an increasing number of incidents related to cyberattacks on Automation & Safety systems (the latest one was about two weeks ago when a famous brand name SIS was attacked by targeted malware). So now companies will have to accept this new reality and take steps to proactively deal with it.
New products/services in 2018
Risknowlogy SIL Master Tool: Risknowlogy will be launching its new SIL Master Tool for Indian customers in 2018, for doing SIL related calculations for safety systems. This device agnostic (you can use a PC or Mac or even tablet), cloud based tool has an intuitive drag and drop interface which means that it will enable engineers to do calculations quickly and easily. The built in Reports module will easily generate reports that can be delivered to the end user/client.
Abhisam Training Courses: Abhisam will be launching its new training courses, both in e-learning as well as in traditional classroom and blended learning formats in Industrial IoT Systems, Wireless Instrumentation and Industrial Cybersecurity.