DIGITIZING INDIA : The Smart Assembly Line

Aug 04, 2015 12:53 PM IST

The future of manufacturing will soon be defined by the Internet of Everything (IoE) which is the intelligent connection of people, process, data and things.

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The future of manufacturing will soon be defined by the Internet of Everything (IoE) which is the intelligent connection of people, process, data and things. According to an IDC report, the Internet of Things (IoT), which is part of IoE, is emerging as one of the key tools for enabling innovation among manufacturing companies in India. The IDC forecast suggests revenue from IoT technology and services for discrete and process manufacturing in India will grow from $1.3 billion in 2014 to $3.9 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.1%.

Cisco estimates the overall value at stake in India’s private sector to be US$394.8 billion. This means ample opportunities exist for improving asset utilization, employee productivity, supply chain, and customer experience, as well as reducing time to capabilities through innovation.

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Consumers are driving the “speed of business” in manufacturing today. In this new environment, manufacturers face the challenge of living up to this change. Additionally, shorter product life cycles are impacting the whole manufacturing value chain demanding changes in the way products are manufactured.

Given the above, manufacturers look up to solutions that bring greater network convergence and connectivity and help address challenges. Without doubt, issues like recurring supply chain disruptions, skilled worker shortages, cyber threats, and asset utilization can be overcome in real time using technology so that manufacturers can respond to customer demands and manage profitability better.


Today, sensors and microchips are getting embedded to almost every product (tools, machines, and even raw material), to make them “smart.” Factories are beginning to witness a dramatic increase in access to data from different devices that are being used to analyze and control processes. Production will be highly efficient and organized in connected factories.

IoT will benefit manufacturing companies by collecting data from sensors and communicating that data to factory floor workers, plant managers, software systems and many aspects of the supply chain. The benefits of such a factory environment are:

Shop Floor Control: By integrating information flow using advanced manufacturing IT tools during all steps of operations, the visibility required to properly manage the end-to-end processes can be achieved. From asset tracking to visibility of automation controls and Human Machine Interfaces (HMI), a wireless network environment in the shop floor can increase productivity and production speed.

Supply Chain Visibility: An integrated tool can help bridge connectivity gaps by keeping track of inbound and outbound shipments for location-related information, timely order fulfillment, and critical in-transit parameters such as temperature.

Cloud Based ERP: Connecting with their trading partners in the cloud allows companies to share the big data generated on the factory floor during the manufacturing process with the entire value chain in real time.

Social Media & Data Analytics: Social Media greatly influences the consumer purchase decisions and hence analysis of this data is necessary to make the required changes to the product in order to align with changing consumer expectations. Also, analytics will help in providing better services to the consumers.


In India, IoE/IoT will become the corner stone of smart cities, smart infrastructure as well as smart manufacturing, resulting in a smart economy. The adoption of IT driven manufacturing will call for additional investments in technology tools and training. The government’s investments in high speed connectivity will make it is easier to adopt technology and automation even in remote places and manufacture products which are globally competitive.

One of the pillars of the Digital India Programme is electronics manufacturing. The focus is on promoting electronics manufacturing in the country and making India self-sufficient in this sector by 2020. The ‘Make in India’ programme targets Net Zero Imports by 2020, through increased local manufacturing.

Coordinated efforts are on for providing clarity on taxation, incentives, economies of scale, incubators, clusters and skill development.For ‘Make in India,’ Cisco plans to use its global supply chain expertise in areas like computer and networking gear. The focus would be on manufacturing products that go into India’s broadband build-out and defense. The results are for us to see.

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Source: Cisco

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