The fourth wave of industrialization is astoundingly digital. With smart robots, machines, devices, and equipment, the future is paving the way for smart business processes, manufacturing and factories. In fact, digitalization has made sure that human intelligence gets profoundly challenged by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and learned Machines.
However, almost all industries, sectors, and organisations globally find it immensely challenging to digitalize their enterprises comprehensively. The primary problem lies in the traditional close-looped approach of knowledge sharing, innovation development, and practical applications or Apps, which makes it harder for entrepreneurial firms without much dough to go for IT: the digitalization drive. This is where democratizing the Industry 4.0 ecosystem by open standards is imperative.
Thanks to IndustryApps Pte Ltd, businesses do not have to worry anymore. Because IndustryApps helps you digitalize your business, enterprise, and factories, in your own way, at your own pace, and to your own requirements.
At IndustryApps online store, you can choose from the best globally proven apps, curated and tested by industry experts or talk to one of their industry experts about how you can work together to give you what you need. Built on industry standards, you can set up your digital twin, secure and risk-free. This way, you have more choice, no silos, greater security, and more flexibility with IndustryApps guaranteed Autonomy, Security, Flexibility, and Interoperability.
Moreover, under the visionary leadership of Sandeep Sreekumar, the Co-founder, IndustryApps has the best range of Industry 4.0 apps offering secure, cost-effective, innovative solutions in a simple, subscription-based, plug-and-play model.
Sandeep shares, “We are a global organization of passionate industry veterans, headquartered in Singapore. Our mission is to democratize and accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 standards, tools and processes.”
According to Sandeep, Industrial Digitalization is a unique skill. It requires a broad array of knowledge across Operational technology and Information technology. Most importantly, it requires hands-on experience in running projects in Factories. Successfully transforming a factory is not about fancy AI, IoT, or AR/VR programs. They require much grit and resilience as it is ultimately not about technology but people.
During his time in this business, Sandeep digitalized 110 factories worldwide across 23 countries in Latin and North America, Europe, Asia, Turkey, India, and China, to name a few. Sandeep informs, “I have not only helped companies in established markets but companies from emerging and developing markets as well. At IndustryApps, we are proud to have been named one of the Light House sites under the World Economic Forum and were awarded the leading Industry 4.0 site in China, Malaysia, and Indonesia by the respective countries’ Industrial Ministries.”
Further, Sandeep believes in democratizing Digitalization. Larger companies enjoy the luxury of large IT/OT budgets, Expert groups and expensive consultants who guide and drive the strategy. There are more than 20 million Small and Mid-scale companies worldwide who equally need to be part of this journey. The value of digitalization does not come from lighthouses. They come when the manufacturing industry operates as part of an integrated digital ecosystem. “This dream is what I carry on with IndustryApps,” says Sandeep.
Sandeep spoke in an interview with CIOLook India, elaborating more on how through IndustryApps, they are democratizing Digitalization and increasing its scope and reach across the globe. The highlights of that mind-boggling interview are given herein.
Sir, please brief our audience about IndustryApps, its USPs, and how you are currently positioned as one of the best Product/Service/Solution Providers.
IndustryApps is the world’s first ecosystem and platform with an open marketplace for industrial solutions. With our plug-and-play ecosystem, industrial companies can digitalize their operations in a cost-effective, standardized, secure, and risk-free way.
Tell us more about IndustryApps’ offerings and what aspects make it stand out in the cutthroat competition.
The biggest challenges of adopting technology in the industry are costs and complexity. Industrial solutions are monolithic in nature, with limited flexibility for the customer. Most products resulted in lock-in conditions with high overhead costs for upgrades, maintenance, and support.
IndustryApps breaks up this entire model by creating a smart factory environment for companies to plug-and-play modular capabilities in their factories. By using open standards, the accumulated data is centralized and structured, enabling companies to subscribe and unsubscribe to solutions without losing control over their data. With subscription-based solutions, challenges regarding licensing, upgrades, and support can be avoided.
Through our platform, vendors can, almost overnight, move from a regional supplier to a global one. Vendors can do so with minimal risk as the costs for sales, marketing, and local language support are significantly reduced. Also gone are the headaches of high-availability hosting, including some compliance headaches which can come with that (e.g., data protection regulations in unfamiliar markets). On top of that, a vendor’s solution instantly becomes more valuable the moment it goes on our platform as it comes with hundreds (over 300 at the time of this interview, and the number is constantly growing) of connectors to existing customer systems (ERPs, PLCs, etc.).
Needless to point out, this is also a huge benefit for manufacturers. They can connect all their existing systems to our platform through those connectors and get access to a thoroughly curated list of enterprise-grade solutions to help them overcome the challenges they face.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how adopting modern technologies like AI and ML impacts the Product/Service/Solution space and how your company is adapting to the change.
While some industrial solution providers seem to struggle with adapting to this change, we fully embrace the potential of AI and ML. One of the very first partnerships we entered a few years ago was one with Flutura. AI/ML is a core component of our vision for the future.
However, we always maintain sound judgement in the sense that not every problem statement is a good fit for this toolset. Again, we are fully convinced of the enormous potential offered by this new technology, but for us, it is part of our toolbox and not the solution itself.
I feel that some view AI and ML as the answer to every single challenge. For us, it is a means to an end. Our goal is to add value for the customer. If the customer is best served with an AI/ML approach, we will go down that road; if not, we will deliver a different solution to our customer. That is our strategy in a nutshell.
Considering the current scenario, what initial challenges did you face and what are the challenges now, and how are you overcoming them?
There are many challenges when it comes to digitalization. If I had to pick one that affects both our work as well as the customer’s, I would say it is viewing the subject as chiefly an IT issue. This has been a challenge in the beginning and is a challenge today. For us, less so than it is for the customer. Of course, you cannot achieve end-to-end digitalization without the help of a dedicated IT team.
First and foremost, though, it is a business challenge, and the projects’ goals should be based on input from the people who will actually work with the solution you wish to roll out on the shop floor. We overcome this challenge by, from the first day of a project, working with our customers to make sure that operations and shop floor people are heard and that their input drives the project so that the customer receives an outcome that adds value to his business instead of adding just one more IT system to his landscape.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into your industry?
Whether you do it with IndustryApps, someone else, or on your own: Industrial digitalization has become a must. Companies that do not see this will not survive the next decade. But digitalization just for the sake of, say, going paperless is not enough.
The approach, the “how” of digitalization, and how operations and factories are digitalised is equally important. The classic approach is based on lock-in agreements and proprietary technologies.
I strongly believe that this is not a workable approach going forward. Digitalization must be based on open standards. Only with open standards will businesses keep their flexibility. Only non-proprietary standards will ensure businesses maintain ownership over their data.
How do you envision scaling IndustryApps’ operations and offerings in the future?
We aim to become the standard platform for digitalising factories, the prime selection for customers, and a quick-and-easy entry point to technology adaption. We want to be the frontrunners that pave the way for industry 4.0.
Our goal is to onboard leading technology solutions from all around the world and to establish a presence in every industrial nation.