The world keeps turning

Manufacturing, in spite of world events, will continue on with new developments all over the world

By Kevin Parker October 11, 2020

Taiwan is home to one of the world’s largest electronics industries. Taiwan-based Advantech is one of the world’s largest suppliers of industrial computers, including IoT intelligent systems and embedded platforms equipped with Advantech’s edge intelligence WISE-Paas core.

At a recent virtual press event, company executives shared with interested parties around the globe their impression of today’s dynamic industrial environments, simultaneously impacted by emergent IT and OT technologies, the Coronavirus and geopolitics.

Founded in 1981, Advantech, according to Forbes, has revenues of about $1.6 billion.

“We see a fly-wheel effect resulting from the pandemic, and real innovation coming from it,” said Jash Bansidhar, regional European head. “We see 5G being installed to better understand the possibilities of true real-time communications. Remote commissioning is a good example. Analytics using field data. These things would have happened anyway, but developments are quickening.”

Differentiating regions

In North America, there is a shift away from globalization, said Jerry O’Gorman, Advantech regional N.A. head. “Yet jobs returning to the U.S. is dependent on automation and while the number of jobs in some categories may drop, other categories, driven by IIoT and AI, will grow.”

Asked where IIoT technologies would grow fastest, Linda Tsai, Advantech IIoT Group president, answered, “We don’t know. All regions are doing it, but the focus could be different. It’s more advanced in semi-conductor industry, for example. China will have its own ecosystem. Europe is not one country so there will be diversified development.”

In reaction to COVID-19, said Bansidhar, the EU is investing $750 billion. “A lot of startups are moving ahead with services. In France, $9 billion is being invested in vehicle production. In Italy, the food & beverage industry is highly automated and things like tracking and tracing continue to grow in importance.”

Bansidhar warned that no one should underestimate the emerging economies of Eastern Europe. “These countries aren’t investing in traditional automation and are instead going straight to IIoT. These countries have the education system to support these efforts. This will keep Europe innovative and take advantage of the multicultural basis of European society.”

It was the largest companies first in the U.S. and then in China that brought computing technologies to market because large unified markets were needed to underwrite those development efforts. “But industries today are segmented and differentiated by use. Each may be strong in certain industries,” said Alan Yang, Advantech CFO.

Developments ahead

Earlier this year, Advantech told its investors the firm was prepared to initiate another development in its globalization strategy and its intention to offer highly tailored services with domestic locally tailored features, including R&D, application development, and mergers & acquisitions, to enhance its competitiveness.

“We want to enhance our development in smart manufacturing, energy and environment, and smart transportation industries, provide device-to-cloud solutions and accelerate the deployment of IIoT applications, including high-end edge computing systems, targeting intelligent video and edge AI industrial applications,” said Tsai at the time.

Miller Chang, president of embedded IoT at Advantech, said, “At the core of Advantech’s boards and modules, the focus will be on extension services such as R&D resource integration and high value-added design-in services to optimize our overall product portfolio. Upstream, Advantech will continuously collaborate with major fabless houses to offer innovative embedded platforms and design-in services to enhance our influence in industrial applications.”

Author Bio: Senior contributing editor, CFE Media