The fourth industrial revolution, a.k.a. Industry 4.0, has been generating a lot of buzz in the market lately, especially because of its ability to leverage modern technologies to drive increasingly smarter and efficient manufacturing. In this context, cloud computing has emerged as a key technology despite the uncertainty surrounding it. This is why it is important to take a closer look at its contributions to Industry 4.0 before you decide to take the plunge.
Industry 4.0 offers amazing benefits and it has come a long way over the past few years, but there are still some challenges to overcome. It refers to the fourth industrial revolution in the manufacturing environment characterized by the widespread application of cyber-physical systems (CPS). Interestingly, cloud manufacturing is a new service-oriented business paradigm. And since the inception of this concept, there has been a great deal of attention from both academia and industry. However, to date, they are addressed in isolation.
Let us start with a quick look at some of the key advantages of cloud computing:
Advantages of Cloud computing in Smart manufacturing
Agility and scalability
One of the key benefits of cloud-based services is that they can be instantiated, set up, or removed as and when required by the company, and that too at the mere click of a button.
A critical benefit associated with cloud services is that they are usually offered with highly flexible usage-based payment plans. This means you will be required to pay only for services and resources that you use instead of regular lump-sum payments for resources you may not necessarily use.
Cloud service providers typically offer high-quality support; if your CSP specializes in IoT and such, you can expect to receive even better support driven by the service provider’s extensive knowledge in the subject. This means top-notch service documentation and support teams among other things.
Now, let us also take a look at some of its disadvantages:
Disadvantages of Cloud computing in Smart manufacturing
Lack of control
Once you sign up with a CSP, you may find that your ability to choose resources, i.e. technologies and solutions, is now limited because your service provider may not be compatible or offer support for the resources you are considering.
Decidedly one of the biggest issues associated with the use of public cloud services is privacy: you see, using these services means one has to take a leap of faith and believe their cloud service provider will indeed responsibly manage customers’ data, isolate different customers as required when shared resources are involved, and manage their infrastructure as securely and reliably as claimed.
Substandard Internet connection
Cloud computing is highly dependent on users’ internet connections to transmit the required data amongst systems. Unfortunately, the latest internet communication protocols are not deterministic, i.e. does not allow us to determine how long data transfer could take. This makes it quite challenging to meet real-time requirements and loss of internet connection, eventually causing services to be unavailable.
The term Industry 4.0 may have originated in Germany but it has become a globally-accepted concept that continues to become more and more important by the day. This is, of course, because it seeks to fortify manufacturing processes with a plethora of smart technologies and tools such as IIoT, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing.
Cloud computing has proven to be a fundamental aspect of Industry 4.0 since it is conducive to the use of other advanced technologies in Industry 4.0. This stands true despite the drawbacks of cloud computing in this context; so, you can rest assured that your cloud software development project will bear expected results and more provided the project is executed and implemented strategically.