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If you are a manufacturer, falls under the category of considering industry 4.0 as top priority but still not piloted or deployed, here is the sneak peak into why is it important to consider industry 4.0 into  your differentiation strategy to stay competitive in the market.

What is industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is the digital transformation of industrial processes using intelligent technologies  by connecting machines, process and people.In digital transformation, digital simply means, ingesting the connection of devices and sensors collecting vast amount of data from connected industrial equipment. Transforming literally means, enrich the data collected in real-time from network of machines and bring it into the context of business processes .

Digital transformation , once called as "Good to have" has become essential for survival .The time has come for enterprise to act on digital transformation strategies, and the time is now, in fact the recent Covid situation has expedited it .

What are intelligent technologies : Cloud computing,IOT, Big data, convergence of IT and OT which helps transformation of industrial practises.

Why industry 4.0 has to be now: You canot learn swimming by watching the pool, you need to jump into it with right support .Unless enterprises starts capturing data from products to assets to enrich for business context for today or for future ,they would loosing the huge competitive advantage, as data would be your key differentiator in future . The more the data you have about THINGS you sell, the closer you can be to the customers .Even though industry 4.0 initiative that come to life from 2011, it is only in recent past due to open standards and standardised communication protocols in unifying production chains  to one .The hardware,software and interfaces works as one communication unit irrespective of its build.This is helping enterprises in building business networks that can connect all the stake holders into ecosystem (operators,service providers, partners, etc).

SAP has broad solution portfolio to unlock the value industry 4.0 combining the power intelligent manufacturing abilities in factories across the supply chains connecting all the dots in the ecosystem including machine, OEM's,application providers ,operators , service providers etc.SAP initiative of industry 4.0 is 4.NOW. It means , if enterprises recognise the priority for digital transformation , it needs to be starting NOW. SAP IOT is the key enabler in helping enterprises to reach there fast and effective .


Below is the  Architecture of Industry 4.0 integrated into Intelligent enterprise


Industry 4.0 and IOT Architecture

Above Architecture is described in Data processing at the edge vs data processing at cloud directly.

Data processing at the edge

At edge ,SAP edge services brings together local compute, persistency and  business transaction at the edge.Sap edge services enable powerful microservices to be deployed at the edge but orchestrated from the cloud to extend the processing power of the cloud to the edge , business application which were run on cloud can be very well executed on edge like manufacturing execution

Devices are connected at the edge ,data collected at the cloud would be enriched with master and transaction data and make them consumable by cloud application such as SAP digital supply chain ( Sap intelligent asset management, digital manufacturing execution etc,),S4/HANA cloud applications ( extended warehouse management, Transport management ,Plant management etc),Sap customer experience ( Service cloud,Field service mgt) and other custom applications.

Once the data is ingested and persisted, based on business requirements whether data refinement takes place by application itself or sap has a technology at your disposal from business technology platform to cater to the needs of data scientists or business analysts which can be integrated via data intelligence which further runs the data into multiple stages of refinement

SAP edge service : At edge, Business object synchronization service, some scenarios you needs to compute at edge .This certainly need business data  to available at edge.Business object sync object takes care of sync of data between business applications in cloud and data at edge.

Device connected directly to cloud:

In some scenarios , there is no need to connect to edge, but directly to cloud.Devices can be directly connected to cloud where telemetry data is forwarded to message broker , from there the actual persistence into a big data store managed by sap IOT.

Manufacturer has a choice of opting for Non-SAP cloud provider IOT: Felxiblity of deploying their own IOT like azure IOT hub, Azure event hub for steaming access, Azure data explorer for data persistence.SAP offers flexibility to integrate third-party data lake into  SAP digital supply chain for seamlessly consuming the data.

Manufacturer has also have the option via powerful API's to various application bundled in business technolgy platform,which means user can use sap data intelligence to inspect , read the data and funel it to ML algorithm to unlock different business insights.

Dont be a participant at the swimming pool, better be a advanced swimmer who can surf the un expected high tide. Time is now to jump into the pool with life guard ( SAP's, Industry-now)

Bibliography & inspired from:

IS116: Integrate industry 4.o into your enterprise by Robert Noce and Dominik Metzger from sap teched source 2020

INT116: Miro vins , Architecture blueprint fro SAP IOT and Edge, Sap teched source 2020

Supplychain, industry 4.0,SAP IOT/edge computing - Elvira Wallis and Tom Raftery ( Digital supply chain podcast)

SAP's industry 4.0 white paper


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