The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century marked the beginning of the manufacturing industry, in which raw materials were transformed into finished goods. During this period, the technology of human labor gave way to manufacturing techniques with machines and chemicals, turning craftsmen into wage laborers. Until recently, the market was dominated by handmade products. Recently, however, things have changed. Newer technologies dominate today’s manufacturing industry. Increasing digitization has put more pressure on manufacturers to streamline operations and optimize processes to meet increasingly demanding market requirements.
CAD software, collaboration tools, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence have all made their mark on the manufacturing industry in recent years. With cloud computing, manufacturers can harness these technologies easily and enjoy other benefits like optimized data storage and retrieval, remote access, and server-based software applications. Let’s look deeper into understanding the impact of cloud computing in the manufacturing industry:
Data Storage and Retrieval
Cloud computing enables manufacturers to easily access data stored in the cloud, making it easier to store and retrieve CAD data, design files, customer information, and inventory data. Smart machines and IoT devices can also be connected to cloud-based data storage solutions, providing manufacturers with real-time feedback through built-in sensors. These sensors can monitor and report data on everything from machine operation to environmental conditions, giving managers critical insight into and control over overall operational efficiency. The data also offers new ways to connect and share sensitive data more efficiently with customers and partners. Additionally, the cloud provides manufacturers with a more secure environment for data storage and facilitates compliance with data protection laws.
Remote access offers several advantages, including more efficient data storage, reduced internal IT costs, and the ability to access data from any device with a connection to the internet. It can also enable collaboration among employees, partners, and customers, which can help manufacturers improve efficiency and enhance operations by eliminating paper and digitizing operations. The cloud also enables businesses to build robust data protection processes in compliance with cybersecurity regulations by protecting sensitive data and only allowing access to data when required.
Server-Based Software and Apps
Manufacturers are increasingly turning to server-based software and applications to streamline operations and eliminate the need for desktop computers. Server-based software, also known as SaaS (software as a service), allows manufacturers to use applications hosted by third-party vendors over the Internet. It can help companies eliminate the need for internal IT departments, reduce IT costs and increase efficiency by making it easier for employees to access and share critical data. Server-based applications are also flexible and scalable, which can help manufacturers adapt to changing market conditions. Remote access to server-based software and applications can help manufacturers foster collaboration, increase efficiency and improve operations by eliminating paper and other inefficient processes.
Security and Risk Management
Sensitive data is processed daily by multinational manufacturers. This is test and quality data, warranty details, equipment histories, and, most importantly, highly confidential technical specifications for a product. The separation from user workstations is a key security advantage of the cloud over on-site servers and infrastructure. Phishing and email threats are the most common methods attackers use to gain network access. Attacks usually always penetrate through users’ workstations. They rarely come directly from the server environment. When enterprise infrastructure is hosted in the cloud, all workstations are fully segmented. Users in the cloud are not connected to the corporate network where the data resides. In addition, encryption helps prevent data from being vulnerable to attack, as the major cloud providers use military-grade AES 256 encryption, which prevents attackers from reading data they might steal.
With IoT-aware behavioral analytics and threat intelligence, Azure Defender of IoT enables continuous asset identification and detects threats and vulnerabilities. It connects to Azure Sentinel (a cloud-based security information and event management/security orchestration, automation, and response tool) and Azure Security Center (to manage the same security level across the cloud workload).
According to recent IDC Research data, an estimated 66 percent of worldwide manufacturers are adopting public cloud storage for two or more enterprise apps.
Microsoft Azure, an industry-leading cloud platform, is at the center of this transformation, helping manufacturers build scalable digital infrastructures, deploy effective product solutions and prepare for new technological upheavals. Azure provides manufacturing companies with unique offerings that can revolutionize and differentiate them from the competition, in addition to the benefits mentioned above.
Azure had been working with Boeing to address issues such as crew scheduling, maintenance optimization, and crew training, which were already underway. Fuel optimization was also in the works. An airline can create predictive models that forecast fuel burn over time by evaluating the total fuel burn of all daily flights.
Let’s check out distinctive manufacturing solutions offered by Microsoft Azure that holds the promise of the fourth industrial revolution:
- Utilize industrial IoT to create more innovative, more agile factories.
Utilizing open, scalable, and reliable industrial IoT, IT OT offered by Azure can help create the smart factory of the future today in the manufacturing industry.
- Build supply networks that are more reliable and profitable.
With clever supply chain planning and execution, Azure helps companies increase service reliability and profitability.
- Transform the productivity of your workforce.
Azure assists in fusing intelligent manufacturing cloud services, productivity tools, and security to alter manufacturing workforces’ operations. It gives employees more control over their safety and health while boosting productivity, which benefits everyone.
- Unlock new business models and innovation.
Utilize digital twins and connected products to develop new company values and sustainable practices.
- Engage clients in fresh ways.
Delivering superior experiences across marketing, sales, and service channels will help manufacturing enterprises strengthen their relationships with their client base.
In addition, according to a recent Accenture survey, cloud computing can significantly reduce businesses’ carbon emissions, ranging from 30% to 90% for each user. Moving to the public cloud can significantly reduce carbon emissions, saving 5.9% of all IT emissions, or roughly 60 million tonnes of CO2 globally annually, the equivalent of removing 22 million automobiles from the road. Schneider Electric, for example, has purportedly decreased its carbon footprint by up to 78% by leveraging Industry 4.0 technologies and Microsoft Azure.
Click here to learn more about Microsoft’s capabilities to help manufacturing companies develop sustainable business practices that enable them to keep pace with customer needs and market trends and drive business transformation by modernizing to a smart factory with Azure.
Microsoft’s Azure File Migration Program has made data migration easier to Azure by sponsoring the usage of Data Dynamics’ StorageX. The Azure File Migration Program allows companies to migrate applications and workloads with large numbers of files, unstructured data, and object storage data into Azure for FREE.
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