Brocade and DMI survey lifts the lid on companies’ industry 4.0 concerns

Via Brocade Newsroom

Jul 27, 2016

Robust, secure networks are key to accelerating adoption of Industry 4.0 initiatives in manufacturing

Munich, July 26 2016: Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) and Deutsche Messe Interactive (DMI), a subsidiary of the organizer of Hannover Messe, the world’s premier industrial trade show, today published the results of a joint survey of over 100 German-based executives who visited the show in April 2016. The decision-makers were asked how their companies view Industry 4.0* and to what extent they have already planned or implemented relevant initiatives.

While 79 percent of the respondents see Industry 4.0 as important to their business and 56 percent are planning short-term investments in it, many companies see security as a challenge. One of the more surprising findings was that only 12 percent of respondents see Industry 4.0 as a management responsibility, with production and/or IT departments being tasked with any relevant initiatives.

Defining Industry 4.0: It’s All about the Network

Of the 21 percent of executives stating that Industry 4.0 was not currently relevant to them, over a quarter (27 percent) attributed this to the lack of a clear definition of the initiative’s scope. This can lead to confusion about how companies should implement it. However, the exponential rise in data volumes is a common element in all interpretations of the concept. Using smart manufacturing components, and interconnecting them with overarching production and business IT systems, leads to a dramatic growth in data and IP addresses on a company’s network—and all of these elements must be managed and interlinked. For instance, a single metal press can have as many as 1000 IP addresses, with potentially tens of thousands in a large production plant.

Brocade was a pioneer as far back as 2011, as the first vendor to introduce Ethernet fabric-based networking topologies. Brocade® VCS® Fabric technology, delivered in Brocade VDX® switches, enables companies to achieve seamless scaling and virtualization for up to 10,000 servers. Along with delivering exceptionally fast switching speed, this technology helps companies automate and optimize network configuration and management while increasing efficiency. It can help industrial firms on their journey toward Industry 4.0, because it delivers the foundation of scalable, efficient, and cost-effective networks that can manage ongoing data growth.

Industry 4.0: Competitiveness and Survival Is a Management Issue

The DMI and Brocade survey showed that a small minority (12 percent) of respondents saw Industry 4.0 as a management responsibility. Yet the agility and flexibility it can deliver—even in the early stages of implementation—can give a significant boost to companies’ competitiveness. It can even help them ensure their longer-term survival in a world where cloud-based vendors have entered the marketplace with compelling arguments around cloud-based efficiency. In many companies, for instance, it can take several weeks to configure a server for a new business service or product development. This is why executives should be focusing on Industry 4.0 as well, because managing customer expectations, competitiveness, and efficiency is their responsibility.

“The survey we carried out with Deutsche Messe Interactive mirrors what we see in our everyday work,” says Rein de Jong, regional sales director, central region at Brocade EMEA. “We believe Brocade checks all the boxes for these organizations due to our commitment to OpenStack and our wide range of solutions for software-driven networks. Along with our many years of experience in the manufacturing sector, our recent acquisition of Ruckus Wireless means we can also provide high-performance wireless connections at the network edge and advance IoT projects. All this makes Brocade a viable and trustworthy business partner for companies looking to start or accelerate their Industry 4.0 initiatives.”

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