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The journey towards Industry 4.0

When talking about Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT) is inevitably a key theme as well. They are related concepts with an essential relationship and form the basis for Industry 4.0. Recent estimates already put the number of devices that are connected through the IoT at about 5 billion, and this is likely to soar over the next few years. Combine that prediction with the amount of data that is being generated and processed by a more connected factory, and it is easy to see why companies' IT infrastructure needs to change.

We can appreciate, then, the attraction of cloud based data storage and processing services. They have the potential to deliver more secure, reliable, scalable and affordable data collection and distribution than on-site IT platforms. Businesses are increasingly using cloud services not simply to store large volumes of data, but also to perform analytics tasks. Processing the data means deriving trend information and presenting users with customised dashboards. The intelligence gained can be used to improve overall plant performance and asset management. Edge Computing is complementary to Cloud Computing, and businesses are increasingly finding that they need the capabilities of both. The cloud delivers the 'bigger picture' of the IoT, while Edge Computing brings the IoT to life by supporting applications that demand a real-time response.

Mitsubishi Electric has developed solutions that support both of these complementary IoT approaches. Our company offers simple and secure access to a range of different cloud services, like SAP Hana, Microsoft Azure and Amazon. But we also facilitate it for niche cloud applications and dedicated cloud-based analytics services using Edge Computing. The results can be widely distributed intelligence, with remote devices generating lots of information. Those are linked over standard open protocols that can be seen as the key to forming a digital nervous system within businesses. The networked digital data is then combined into bidirectional systems to integrate data, people, processes and systems for better decision making.

Within the context of the Internet of Things; we have also been able to realise a project together with Intel. The company is using an IoT gateway from Mitsubishi Electric to aggregate and securely input data into a big data analytics server. For Intel, this pilot is forecast to save millions of dollars annually and provide other significantly valuable business benefits.

Mitsubishi Electric, is supporting customers worldwide in their goal of developing their individual business models in terms of digitalization. Moreover we are contributing to the developments of innovative international organisations such as the German Government committee "Plattform Industrie 4.0", the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) in the USA and the Robot Revolution Initiative (RRI) in Japan. Our e-F@ctory strategy has also been recognised by leading initiatives and organisations, such as the Best Practices Award (category: Industrial Internet of Things in Factory Automation) from Frost & Sullivan and the 'Strategic Point of Light partners' award issued by the Taiwanese government. In combination with the trust invested in us by our customers, these milestones show that we are already a good way towards the future of a digitized world.

Source: Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V.