The Record - Issue 17: Summer 2020

110 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om V I EWPO I NT H ow the world does business was chang- ing before the outbreak of Covid-19, but what we have seen in recent weeks and months has accelerated this metamorphosis beyond all recognition. Business continuity is nothing new. It is, quite simply, prudent business planning. But the speed and scale of the current global crisis has forced organisations to implement more stringent and robust measures to not only cope with the present situation, but also to mitigate damage in years to come should a similar event occur in the future. One of the major impacts of the virus on man- ufacturing companies was that it prevented the movement of people, which damaged and dis- rupted industrial operations and the manufac- turing supply chain. However, there were already many technologies and innovations they could use to help mitigate this damage. It’s hard to imagine how the world would have responded to the pandemic without cloud technology. At no other point in time has there ever been such a need for the instant availabil- ity of IT resources enabled by the cloud. It has transformed connectivity between people and businesses on a global scale, enabling millions of people to rapidly switch to remote working. Without the cloud, organisations couldn’t do many of the things they do every day. For exam- ple, it would be more challenging for executives to access real-time business sales information and companies would find it harder to share and co-edit documents securely. Plus, the cloud has also enabled businesses to spend less money and time on installing new IT capabilities by allow- ing them to quickly scale capacity according to business needs. Modern industrial organisations are connected by the cloud, which means that teams can still collaborate and perform tasks, even when people are working remotely. The same applies to engi- neers and other employees who need to inter- act with equipment. This is because emerging technologies like big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and virtual reality have facilitated remote access and led to the advent of the digital twin – a virtual replica of machinery and factories. Using 3D modelling and advanced engineering and visualisation tools, engineers can now control, manage and maintain machin- ery digitally. Some organisations had already deployed this type of technology before the pandemic, but many more will do so in a post-Covid-19 world. Entire sectors are now being forced to embrace innova- tive digital platforms to facilitate a way of working that keeps people connected, agile and safe. These technologies are also having a major impact on industrial operating assets too, most notably helping to reduce downtime. Despite the “It’s hard to imagine how the world would have responded to the pandemic without cloud technology” How to ensure business continuity Manufacturing companies must invest in technologies like the cloud, asset performance management and AI if they want to remain fully operational in challenging times RAV I GOP I NATH : AV E VA