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ROCKWELL: CONSTANTLY TREADING LEADER’s PATH

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What was the perspective of 2015 edition of Rockwell Automation?
Very large number of products, approximately 55 new products and over 1500 SKU’s (Stock Keeping Units) were showcased. Now we are focusing on architecture rather than on individual products e.g. ethernet architecture, gigabit ethernet support on I/O (input/output module), in-to-in internet security, integrated software tools that are focused on delivering high performance architecture which are designed for connective enterprise. For us, every customer is on a journey to connective enterprise.

What are your concerns about safety and security?
Safety and security are related but safety is more mature than security. In safety, there are levels and most customers understand to implement safety. Customers have ways to qualify safety in their system but they don’t have ways to qualify security in their systems now-a-days.
So security standards are emerging and they are not out there. Although they are similar but understanding of implementing security is really different from understanding how to implement safety. For security, we believe you need an architecture where it can be implanted in layered fashion and within the architecture.
Architecture to us means multi-vendor products operating together, as no individual company can solve problems alone. In most customers’ sites, you will have multi vendor system like Microsoft, CISCO, and Rockwell. So multi vendors are already operating there. We need to push on how to bring and stitch all these operating vendors together. So they are in reference architecture that you can secure and make it future proof by continually updating it.

Do you think this multi vendor system will redeem that status of the typical security system completely?
There will be always loopholes. There is never going to be a security system that’s air-tight. The problem with security is that the attack factors are continually changing and evolving, so security can never be in an end state. It is a game with constant updates. Security is a landscape that’s continuously changing.

In the context of cyber security, what is the term ‘future proof’?
If we don’t have future proof system, then we will have an obsolete system in which size of the hole continues to get bigger. So in future proof system, every time you see a hole, you patch it. In this procedure, your system is integrated and someone is monitoring it as a whole. You can have 1 percent responsiblity for security as 15 people are looking after security through 15 different systems.
Future proofing also means architecting and making sure that it inter-operates
holistically as a system. For example, I have firewall A, switch B, and DMZ as C and they are multi vendor products and they don’t talk to each other and handle their security independently but that’s not a good system.
If you cannot set policies and manage your security system as a whole, as an end to end system, your security will have a lot of loopholes.

What is the role of Rockwell automation in future proof cyber security?

Rockwell Automation is first to provide reference architecture. With CISCO, we have reference architecture for security that is a kind of blue print.
Second, our aim is to develop the strategic partnerships with leading IT vendors to provide them solutions that comes for
security.

Tell us something about smart manufacturing and digital manufacturing?
Our latest trend of Industry 4.0 includes government initiatives and research initiatives. They are visions on which professors are working, which is fantastic and we love it. The connected enterprise is a future proof architecture, a vision that can be realised today. So let’s say smart manufacturing develops models for the same type of process that we can incorporate in the connected enterprise. Many of these research initiatives that are government sponsored, need more research in manufacturing and technology. When these researches bear fruits, we incorporate them in connected enterprise.

What are the other challenges you perceive apart from security?
One major challenge is information management. We heard that there is a lot of data and it is not possible to take all that data to the IT level as it will choke. So how to manage this information? There is undoubtedly a lot of data that needs to be processed when it is generated.
If you process the data as it is generated then you can decide what is to be taken up and what is to be left behind. Putting in the right architecture that can work and derive value from the data incrementally in a scale is another area that companies will get into.

What are the strategies for bringing the innovations in technology?
Innovation is a part of cultural clock otherwise we would not completed 112 years and would have perished a long back. Rockwell is constantly trying to stay on leading edge. We are a technology company and Keith Nosbusch made us so some 15 years ago. Since then we have evolved with time.
If you look at our resources today 80 percent of engineers are software engineers where as, 15 years ago 80 percent were hardware engineers, so, we are moving with time. We are increasing our innovations, capabilities with a lot of software technology. Innovation to us means taking the most modern technology and applying them to industrial organisation in new manner. Innovation doesn’t mean inventing something new without knowing what values it will produce. Keith showed us a plan which encompasses secured networking, cloud and other multi disciplinary innovations.
The key is to combine those smart technologies together and innovate them with the help of architecture. So in nutshell, our innovation is focused on architecture to bring in the latest technology.

What was the main objective of Rockwell Automation fair 2015?
Rockwell Automation was not just focused on Rockwell and partners to show you their technology but also to get the feedback of more than 10,000 customers. There were longer sessions with customers to get feedback and to make sure that our strategy, our directions and our products are right for our customers.
It’s not a show of selling things but a show to exchange information and knowledge and to learn from all the customers who come here. For us, a successful show is the one which gets the lot of participation and we track the participants and the
industry forums which they lead. Rockwell
is extracting a lot of knowledge
from discussions that we conduct at
automation fair.

How does the process of IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) help in acquisition of third parties for your clients?
Rockwell partners very well, that’s Rockwell’s generic composition and half of the show floors are taken by our partners.
So if a customer needs something that Rockwell doesn’t have, we will recommend them a third party company that can provide a solution because we have so many partners and we need them to fill gaps that we don’t do but would recommend our customer.

Does Rockwell solution fail to deliver anytime?
We are always coming up with new technology and making technology smoother. We have engineers that are expert in their domain across the globe. For example, if we have to work for oil and gas, our oil and gas team will go there and will stay there unless everything works smoothly.
It may be that at the first instance things may not go well but they are to be looked again and again unless we get the thing done properly and completely. That’s Rockwell’s application.
Our customers are loyal to us. We don’t only go and deliver the stuff to our customers but we go there to make sure that the thing works properly. And there are times when things do not work as per required and we send our team to fix it and get it done.

What is the scope of Rockwell in Middle East?
Middle East itself is an important market for Rockwell because Middle East is very rich in oil gas resources and has a wide scope of oil and gas technology.
Rockwell’s business in oil and gas 10 years ago was 2-3 percent and today it is 10-15 percent. So it is a significant chunk of our business. We do a lot of business upstream in oil and gas. Middle East is a great market for that.

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