Summit: Safety, Security Growth Driver

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 @ 02:06 PM gHale

By Gregory Hale
Safety and security is one of four areas Siemens sees as being an important pillar to the future, said Eckard Eberle, chief executive, Siemens Industrial Automation Systems.

The other three areas were the need for speed, flexibility and execution and sustainability and resource consumption, said Eberle during his keynote address today at the 2012 Siemens Automation Summit in Washington, DC.

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“We have a lot of areas where we should protect our systems,” Eberle said. “In the past safety has always been a separate part of the system; in the future safety will be individual but will be integrated in to the automation system.”

In terms of security, “we all have alerts. We all have challenges with open systems,” Eberle said. “We see more and more people trying to get access to plants. If they get access, they can control the plants.”

There are benefits to open systems, but Eberle knows everyone has to stay on top of their game and maintain a vigilant effort toward security.

“We need access control so not everyone can go everywhere,” he said. “It is always a challenge. We have to make a reasonable solution because we cannot close our systems to the outside world.”

Eberle already knows what others are just learning and that is security will be a strong industry issue for as long as systems remain connected to the Internet.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

One of the other areas he talked about as a trend is the need for speed.

“Speed, speed, speed,” he said. “We will need to be faster from product to production.” He talked about the auto industry where the actual building of a car needs to occur on a much quicker time frame.

“In the future, 50 percent faster time to market is possible,” he said.

One of the other drivers for the future is the need for more flexibility.

In the 70s, Eberle said, Audi had three automobile models. Now, they have 23. “That means you need efficient production planning and execution.”

The fourth driver for growth in the future is sustainability and resource consumption.

With energy costs going up and there is a need to be more intelligent with how you consume all types of power. Does an empty building need to use as much energy as they do? What is the right temperature for the work environment? Are all systems running at peak efficiency?

Those are just some of the questions everyone will be asking moving forward.

“We have to look at having smart solutions to reach less energy consumption,” Eberle said.

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