‘Adoption of Connected Factory Technology Still Low in Nigeria’

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Emma Okonji

One of the evolving technologies that will drive manufacturing organisations into profitability at reduced operational cost, is the Connected Factory, which is the factory for the future, but the adoption rate in Nigeria is still low. This was the view of technology experts from Cisco and BCX during a one-day workshop organised by BCX for the manufacturing industry in Lagos recently.

BCX, a technology solution company, said the new trend in manufacturing industry was about connected factory, where information technology (IT) team and operational technology (OT) team in a manufacturing industry do no longer work in silos, but are connected to a single digital space, from where manufacturing processes are controlled and managed from a single platform.

BCX, which expressed worries over the weak adoption rate of connected factory, especially in Nigeria, stressed the need for manufacturing industry in the country to move into that digital space because of the value it brings by helping companies see new opportunities that make them more competitive and effective.

Head, Networks and Infrastructure, BCX, Abiola Adefila, said: “In the past, IT and OT, operate in silos. While IT is the data centric computing, OT is the combination of software and hardware that controls physical processes in the factory.

“But today, the world of manufacturing is changing and the new development is about the alliance between the IT and OT to form a connected factory, which is all about new approach to driving manufacturing organisations into profitability at reduced operational cost.”

According to Adefila, BCX, in collaboration with Cisco, one of its partners, had adopted the Cisco Meraki product to deploy the Cisco Connected Factory in the manufacturing industry in Nigeria and beyond.

She said BCX would use some of the solutions of connected factory such as connected network, connected wireless, connected security, and kinetics, to drive proficiency and profitability in the manufacturing industry, while adopting the Cisco Meraki products for the deployment.

Adefila described Cisco Meraki as a product suite that contains routers, switches, wireless, and IP camera, with which the manufacturing industry can manage all its network infrastructure on a single platform from the cloud.
“It gives more visibility into the entire infrastructure and reduces time management and trouble shooting, and this is the flexibility it brings to manufacturing businesses,” Adefila said.

Speaking on the value of Cisco Meraki on connected factory, Systems Engineer at Cisco, Funmi Koka, said the Cusco Meraki brings simplicity, intelligence and management together in a unified way to drive the processes of connected factory. According to her, Cisco Meraki would enable the easy of management of factory operations from a single platform, as against the management of factories from different managerial points, thereby reducing operational cost, improving efficiency, and meeting the business goals.

Managing Director, BCX Nigeria, Mr. Ayo Adegboye, said BCX would continue to partner with Cisco to bring advanced cost-effective technologies that drive business growth. “New technologies like Connected Factory, Internet of Things (IoTs), Cloud-based technology, are all driving new business growth and we will continue to offer such opportunities to our clients,” Adegboye said. He further said small and medium enterprise (SME) business could also take advantage of the Cisco Meraki product to scale up their businesses and achieve profitability.