Companies in the Asia Pacific are increasingly seeing the importance of enabling consistent network operations and remote monitoring, with 66% of respondents in a recent poll underlining its crucial role in optimising smart high-tech manufacturing operations.
According to Mark Verbloot, senior director of product, solutions and systems engineering for Asia Pacific Region at Aruba Networks, the turbulence in manufacturing and the supply chain seen in the last two years have underscored the need for manufacturers to accelerate their transition from “mass production and economies of scale to prioritizing market and customer responsiveness".
"In response to the issues they face, high-tech manufacturers are increasingly aligning their technology investments to secure and optimise operations while addressing data privacy and security concerns even as they build greater resilience in the long-term,” said Verbloot.
The study, entitled “High-Tech Manufacturing Begins with High-Performance Networking and Security Solution”, was conducting by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Aruba – a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, surveying more than 270 business and IT decision-makers from high-tech manufacturers in Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand in the first quarter of 2022.
The study found three in four manufacturers in the region are prioritising innovation and automation for greater operational efficiency and resilience over the past 12 months.
It also found that edge solutions, IoT applications, and networks were essential to driving innovation for 63% of respondents, with 61% indicating they had optimised manufacturing processes with automation and robots. Meanwhile, 69% of respondents said they were either piloting or already using cloud-managed networking and security solutions to benefit from improved flexibility, scalability, and defense capabilities.
Furthermore, 64% of respondents who indicated their intention to build on previous investments in AI-powered software to optimise operations, implement predictive capabilities, and optimise productivity.
Data privacy and security concerns
With the increased connectivity and digitalisation of processes and operations, the study states that the collection, transmission, and utilisation of the breadth of data is becoming critical to the sectors' ability to scale operations and address the challenges posed by privacy and security concerns.
Indeed, more than half (52%) of APAC decision-makers ranked data privacy and security concerns within their top five challenges when implementing networking solutions, while 48% said the lack of cybersecurity features in legacy IoT devices is one of their top five challenges. About 18% ranked information technology/operational technology (IT/OT) divide as one of their top two networking challenges.
In response to data privacy and security concerns, manufacturers have plans to leverage emerging technologies and automation to secure their operations in the next 24 months.
These solutions include cloud-managed networking (38%) and SD-WAN (37%). More than 50% of manufacturers are also expanding, upgrading, or planning to invest in Zero Trust Edge solutions in the same timeframe, while 57% said identity-based traffic segmentation helps them to achieve their business goals.
"As we emerge from the pandemic, there is a need for the manufacturing industry to develop greater agility and flexibility in their operations. Innovation is at the heart of decision-makers’ priorities but manufacturing leaders need to act now by leveraging high-performance network and security solutions to help the smart manufacturing industry scale effectively,” said Verbloot.