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Way back in 2011, IT leaders were advised by Gartner to transit into the converging, aligning, and integrating IT and OT environments. Modern organizations are struggling between two worlds. One is a traditional material world consisting of machines, electromechanical devices, manufacturing systems, and other industrial equipment. The latter is a digital world that includes servers, storage, networking, and other devices to run applications and process data. Thankfully, the IoT is taking place at a faster and broader scale. It is enabling the digital information space to look, understand, and influence the physical world.

How does IT differ from OT?

IT is a term used for Information Technology used for data-centric computing. OT means Operational Technology that monitors events, processes, and devices to make adjustments in enterprise and industrial operations. Organizations can merge business processes and insights to bring them into a single uniform environment by converging and properly implementing IT/OT backgrounds.

Internet of Things (IoT) is innovatively integrating IT and OT

IT differs from OT in many aspects. The grey area that integrates IT and OT is the development and deployment of IoT devices as they automate the processes by connecting devices to gather information and embed intelligence.

While IT can communicate through its information scope, OT hasn’t been a networked technology. It means many devices for monitoring and adjustment are still not computerized. The main reason why most systems rely on air gapping for security. As IT connects to more OT systems, air gapping can’t ensure the security of network communication and OT data.

To drive IT/OT convergence, organizations need to educate and train the employees to understand and implement adequate security for IT and OT in terms of data security, privacy, and transparency. The application of IoT plays a significant part here.

IoT devices include a range of sensors to gather real-world situations such as temperature, pressure, and chemical compositions, etc. These devices also compromise a range of actuators that have the ability to translate digital commands and instructions into physical actions, like controlling valves and moving mechanisms. Every IoT device communicates through standard networks that enable them to exchange OT data with IT resources.

What is IT/OT Convergence?

With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturers are idealizing the concept of connected factories. Technological convergence is not new. Organizations can smartly improve efficiency, reduce errors, cut costs, make the workflows productive, and gain a competitive advantage in the industry by integrating diverse technologies into a single cohesive system.

IT/OT Convergence integrates the manufacturing systems handling physical events and processes with back-end hardware and software for transferring and processing information. In short, the idea is to bring the IT and OT world together. It is possible as the advances such as machine-to-machine communication and the introduction of sophisticated IoT devices can be applied to physical equipment. These devices authorize wireless communication over standardized networking protocols for interpreting the data from each physical system back to a central server for monitoring and analysis. It leads to more autonomous operation, enhances the accuracy of the information, benefits maintenance, and improves uptime.

Why does it matter?

For a lot of industries, convergence has been a fact of life. It is something that many organizations have experienced firsthand over the years, without even realizing it. Over time, the IT/OT Convergence has completely changed the way of working. In the manufacturing sector, increasingly, engineers are required to perform work done basically by software developers, systems integrators, and network specialists. On the other hand, the IT specialist did a great job of working with equipment and systems on the shop floor.

With the integration of IT and OT, the manufacturing experts have found themselves working closely with their IT counterparts. The convergence has only improved their abilities as it has gradually changed the nature of work. It matters because it is improving the processes phenomenally.

How is IT/OT Convergence enabling digital manufacturing transformation?

The convergence of IT and OT in IoT has been in existence for a while. There is not a strict division between them anymore as it has blurred the line. If there is one industry that is leveraging the benefits of this convergence, it would be manufacturing. Now, this industry can ensure cost or resource efficiency by collecting and analyzing the sales and inventory data. It is smartly driving their operations. Want to know how? Let’s Understand:

  • Making real-time decision making possible

Manufacturers are able to connect more data than ever before. All thanks to IoT. Earlier, they had to rely on systems that don’t allow for the same enterprise-wide data sharing. The convergence provides them with real-time access to mission-critical data at the plant level and enhances overall system security.

  • Eliminates unplanned downtime

IT/OT convergence has given rise to predictive maintenance that lowers the likelihood of equipment breakdowns. The IT/OT teams can maintain a database of assets, track their condition, and determine when and how to maintain them. They are ready to welcome more scalable systems by creating space for a flood of new digitized devices and complexity on the factory floor.

  • Deployment of wireless technology on the factory floor

Smart factories are not possible without wireless technology. Thankfully, the convergence has made it possible. IT and OT work together to deploy wireless technology on the factory floor. There are flexibility in operations with remote monitoring, assembly line changeovers, and supply chain initiatives.

  • Ensures Cybersecurity for connected machines

Protecting customer information and intellectual property is a must for a company’s long-term viability and reputation. Implementing cybersecurity in manufacturing requires collaboration between IT and OT. Both of these have a unique set of features. When they integrate, they work collectively to make cybersecurity work for manufacturing.

Connect with Zenatix, known for providing the best IoT-based automation and monitoring solutions. Reach out to us and let us know your expectations. It will help us to serve you the optimized IT/OT solutions as per your needs.

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