Employing Industrial Automation and Telstra’s digital maturity model could help you navigate a smooth pathway towards a more productive and efficient future.
As Australia grapples with inflation, a tight labour market and supply chain challenges, forward-looking operations are investing in enterprise-wide automation to become smarter, safer, greener, more productive and more secure.
Beyond the high-profile opportunities like vehicle automation and robotics, companies are also looking to automate day-to-day compliance management for site safety and environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements.
Companies’ top priorities
Across most industries, organisations today are seeking to improve operational effectiveness, while optimising data and costs.
To take the mining industry as an example, ADAPT’s 2022 research found that:
- 88% of mining organisations put operational effectiveness first, followed by creating a data-driven organisation (86%) and optimising costs (82%) as their top priorities.
- 77% were concerned about building a secure and trusted organisation, which is not surprising given the increasing cyber activity in recent years.
- While mining companies were keen to improve their operational effectiveness, they were often held back by a lack of IT staff.
A significant opportunity
Industrial automation represents a significant step in harnessing the opportunities and addressing the challenges faced by organisations today.
The uptake of automation is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, with McKinsey predicting that 25-46% of existing Australian workforce activities could be automated by 2030.
Connected workers, workplace safety, real-time decision making, predictive data, process automation, vehicle tracking, environmental monitoring and IT/OT cyber security are all possible.
But finding the right team to deploy them successfully can be a challenge.
To support Australian industries in rising to this challenge, the team at Telstra recently made a significant announcement. By combining Telstra’s recent acquisitions, Aqura Technologies and Alliance Automation, a joint venture with data science and AI leader Quantium, along with expertise from Telstra Purple and Telstra’s industrial networks, including 5G, Fibre and IOT, Telstra has created a comprehensive capability, helping to manage complex automation technologies and addressing IT skills shortages through professional and managed services.
“At Telstra, we’ve found the true value of Industrial Automation requires a combination of rich data from operational technology and industrial control systems, overlayed with data analytics, machine learning and predictive modelling. Powering this requires high-performance, high-availability networks with secure cloud and edge compute capabilities to connect data, machines, vehicles, people and processes – all while protecting the entire ecosystem with multi-layered security,” said Warren Jennings, Industry CTO at Telstra.
Telstra’s Industrial Automation ecosystem
Industrial automation digital maturity model
Since most mining companies have multiple sites with diverse technologies, systems and standards, it’s helpful to plan automation in four progressive maturity stages: connected, integrated, intelligent and automated. To support the industrial automation journey, Telstra has built a model looking at each of these stages. The digital maturity model provides a lens to help map your journey and evaluate the available solutions, whichever stage you’re at.
Stage 1: Getting connected
Successful automation starts with a plan. Most companies test the water by automating a single process or task as that will potentially yield the best outcomes. By implementing it as a proof of concept they can refine their approach and demonstrate business value to the enterprise.
Stage 2: Integrating IT and OT systems
The integration of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) allows companies to collect and analyse data to gain a more comprehensive view of their operations and use monitoring and control systems to automate more complex processes.
Stage 3: Introducing Intelligence
Once IT and OT systems are integrated, it’s possible to leverage analytics, AI and machine learning to introduce intelligent capabilities such as predictive maintenance, quality control and asset tracking, as well as inventory and supply chain management.
Stage 4: Automating your environment
Once the company has gained confidence in using industrial automation, it can start to reimagine business operating models and strategic plans with automation as a central focus.
The convergence of IT and OT platforms has expanded the attack surface through the connection of sensors, machines and devices and increased the risk of cyber exploitation of control systems.
Converged IT/OT systems and processes should be designed with security in mind from the ground up rather than adding security features as an afterthought. This involves integrating security measures into every stage of the development process, from design to deployment and maintenance.
Given the complexity of IT/OT security management, most companies require consultative technology partners with expertise across networks, connectivity, cloud and IoT to implement effective security strategy and controls.
Even when all the necessary security and detection techniques are in place, it’s essential to have proactive monitoring and an incident response capability you can call on.
Telstra Industrial Automation
Every industrial setting is unique, so it’s critically important to work with experts who understand automation and have the capabilities and expertise to deliver.
Through strategic acquisitions and partnerships, Telstra combines professional expertise, high-speed industrial network design, IT and OT integration, control systems and advanced analytics to design and deploy secure industrial solutions. With over 2000 expert consultants, Telstra is ready to help your business take the next step.