We’re go­ing to use IIoT to drive top quar­tile per­for­mance for our cus­tomers, says Amit Paithankar, MD and V-P, Emer­son Au­toma­tion So­lu­tions In­dia.

Says Amit Paithankar, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor and Vice Pres­i­dent, Emer­son Au­toma­tion So­lu­tions In­dia, in con­ver­sa­tion with R Srini­vasan.

Power Watch India - - CONTENTS -

Com­ment on the need for In­dus­trial In­ter­net of Things (IIoT) and on how you in­tend to lever­age the early mover ad­van­tage to your ben­e­fit.

The In­dus­trial In­ter­net of Things (IIoT) is an evo­lu­tion­ary con­cept, as op­posed to some­thing new. There is a lot of talk about it but in some sense it has been in ex­is­tence for quite some time. Some im­por­tant changes have hap­pened now, which en­able us to go and serve cus­tomers in in­ter­est­ing and dif­fer­ent ways.

The fun­da­men­tal no­tion is that “things” are con­nected and mea­sure data. This mea­sured data is then fed to an al­go­rithm which in­ter­prets and makes sense of the data. On the ba­sis of these in­ter­pre­ta­tions, the sys­tem will ini­ti­ate ac­tions. This in a very broad sense is the con­struct of IIoT.

Our mis­sion is give our cus­tomers ac­cess to the fourth quar­tile of per­for­mance. Top quar­tile en­sures that I have a busi­ness which is sus­tain­able in the long term, prof­itable and will keep giv­ing re­turns to its share­hold­ers on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Nat­u­rally that is where all our cus­tomers would like to be. The pa­ram­e­ters that de­ter­mine top quar­tile per­for­mance are safety, re­li­a­bil­ity, pro­duc­tiv­ity and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and emis­sions. If I can im­prove these pa­ram­e­ters for my cus­tomers I will pro­gres­sively keep get­ting bet­ter and my cus­tomers will have a busi­ness model which is more sus­tain­able. So that’s how we are go­ing to use this whole con­cept of IIoT – to drive top quar­tile per­for­mance for our cus­tomers.

Emer­son Elec­tric (EMR) signed an agree­ment to pur­chase the valves and con­trols busi­ness of Pen­tair (PNR) for $3.15 bil­lion and Emer­son an­nounced an agree­ment to sell Net­work Power to Plat­inum Eq­uity. What ef­fect will these de­vel­op­ments have on your au­toma­tion busi­ness?

With time, Emer­son is evolv­ing and we are con­cen­trat­ing on the core parts of busi­ness and au­toma­tion so­lu­tions is a very im­por­tant piece of the busi­ness. The Pen­tair ac­qui­si­tion is in the au­toma­tion space. The ac­qui­si­tion of Pen­tair valves and con­trols will be part of our fi­nal

con­trol busi­ness, which essen­tially deals with valves and ac­tu­a­tion de­vices and we will then have the most com­pre­hen­sive suite of valves and that would put us in a unique po­si­tion across the in­dus­try. We will prac­ti­cally have a valve for ev­ery pos­si­ble ap­pli­ca­tion you can con­ceive of and al­most ev­ery size that you can think of – right from con­trol valves, valves used for iso­la­tion pur­poses, valves used for main­tain­ing pres­sure. So there­fore it has a di­rect and pos­i­tive im­pact on the way in which we can com­pre­hen­sively serve our cus­tomers.

Should we be wor­ried that the Kessler ef­fect threat­ens the fu­ture of the in­ter­net it­self? What are the se­ri­ous tech­ni­cal chal­lenges and bar­ri­ers such as se­cu­rity frame­work that threat­ens the in­ter­net etc and how does the com­pany in­tend to ad­dress these chal­lenges?

Talk­ing about the data that we are try­ing to pro­tect, at the bot­tom level of IIoT we have a whole suite of in­stru­men­ta­tion, which we col­lec­tively call as ‘per­va­sive sens­ing’ so we can mea­sure many phys­i­cal pa­ram­e­ters like pres­sure, tem­per­a­ture, PH, con­duc­tiv­ity, flow rates, den­si­ties, vis­cosi­ties, all kinds of phys­i­cal mea­sure­ments which are re­quired to un­der­stand whether a given plant or fac­tory is work­ing fine. Most of these de­vices are also wire­less. In a tra­di­tional in­ter­net at home we are con­cerned about last-mile con­nec­tiv­ity.

But in an in­dus­trial frame­work where we are ac­tu­ally putting data in to where it can be an­a­lysed, what is im­por­tant is the first mile. And that first mile has to be se­cure and so we have a de­sign or ar­chi­tec­ture which we call ‘se­cure first mile’. So we have data diodes, dif­fer­ent types of gate­ways, dif­fer­ent kinds of se­cu­rity en­abled equip­ment and fire­walls which en­sure that the data that comes out is trans­mit­ted in the most se­cure man­ner. Diodes are elec­tronic com­po­nents which al­low cur­rent to flow only in one di­rec­tion so we call it a ‘data diode’ which can only go in one di­rec­tion. If we try to at­tack it the net­work is not go­ing to al­low you to send data back in to the field. That is how the ar­chi­tec­ture is de­signed.

Some com­pa­nies while gear­ing up for the in­ter­net of things choose dif­fer­ent paths to­wards digi­ti­sa­tion. Some rein­vent them­selves while others stay close to their roots. What ap­proach are you em­ploy­ing?

We con­sider IIoT as an evo­lu­tion as op­posed to a revo­lu­tion. There is a lot of buzz and hype but it is a tech­nol­ogy which has been there for some time and it is mor­ph­ing over a pe­riod of time and is giv­ing us in­ter­est­ing ways in which we can con­duct busi­ness to help our cus­tomers. So from our stand­point it is a very im­por­tant tech­nol­ogy which has come of age at this point of time and which en­ables us. For in­stance if a cus­tomer has ex­per­tise only in a given par­tic­u­lar city and has plants all over the coun­try or world, and as time pro­gresses you find ex­perts to be few and far in be­tween. So how do I tap in to those ex­perts who may be within their or­gan­i­sa­tion or out­side their or­gan­i­sa­tion and quickly take op­er­a­tional de­ci­sions which help in do­ing the ex­act things I spoke about - safety, re­li­a­bil­ity, pro­duc­tiv­ity and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and emis­sions. That is what IIoT en­ables.

So I can se­curely get the data out and send it to apps, or I can send it to a mo­bile platform af­ter in­ter­pret­ing that data or send it to a cloud where a third-party could look at it in a neu­tral man­ner. For e.g.: In a process plant there are many pipes and we need to use steam which runs all over the plant. If there is a leak­age in the pipe­line any­where, there are de­vices called steam traps. Ev­ery time the steam leaks, en­ergy is lost. If I can use a de­vice (an acous­tic trans­mit­ter) which is tuned to un­der­stand that fre­quency of sound, I will know that there is a steam leak­age and from its sig­na­ture I will fig­ure out the prob­lem and in what man­ner it could be rec­ti­fied or we could send that data to a cloud and have our ex­perts look at that on a real-time on­line ba­sis and tell the client that this steam trap is not work­ing prop­erly. That way on a real-time ba­sis we are mon­i­tor­ing the cus­tomer’s as­set and that is where we un­leash the power of IIoT.

As per think-tank McKin­sey Global In­sti­tute es­ti­mates, link­ing the phys­i­cal and the dig­i­tal worlds via the ‘in­ter­net of things’ (IoT) could cre­ate up to $11 tril­lion in eco­nomic value an­nu­ally by 2025 and a third of that could be in man­u­fac­tur­ing. Com­ment on this phe­nom­e­non (in terms of value ad­di­tion and in fig­ures) in your sphere of ac­tiv­ity.

In­dian cus­tomers have been the early adapters of tech­nol­ogy and that is why it is the first coun­try we have launched this in across the world. We had a global launch in Austin, Texas un­der the Emer­son Ex­change pro­gramme and this is the first coun­try af­ter that, which speaks vol­umes about the type of cus­tomers we have here (very pro­gres­sive) and the sheer mar­ket size.

Com­ment on how the sec­tor in your sphere fared in 2016.

2016 has been a good year for us in terms of over­all growth in a global mar­ket that is strug­gling to grow. That in it­self paints In­dia as a bright spot across the world.

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