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Meet the ‘Connected Worker,’ your post-COVID recruit
With digital transformation having embedded systemic change across industrial operations, it is the location-agnostic Connected Worker that will help organizations drive value efficiencies in the post-COVID world, says Ravi Gopinath, Chief Cloud Officer and Chief Product Officer at AVEVA
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Now that digitalization has been accepted as essential to business and industry, it’s time to consider the role of people in the new roaring ‘20s and beyond. From American Express to Atlassian and Siemens to Starbucks, innumerable companies across the economic spectrum have switched to long-term remote work as workers say they want to keep working from home even after COVID-19 is a distant memory.
For many of us, that’s the dream we’ve wished for all along. Your work doesn’t care whether you come to the office or not, but how quickly and effectively you can meet your KPIs – wherever you are. Helping you live that best version of your working life will be the selfsame digital transformation solutions that supported business continuity through the pandemic. Whether engineer or executive, technician or trainer, we’re all becoming Connected Workers.
Cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and enhanced collaborative tools have helped create our new normal. As companies build back better and stronger, the workplace ecosystem is being rebuilt with cloud and AI at its core. IDC recently estimated that worldwide spending on AI systems alone will touch $98 billion by 2023 as organizations speed up their digitalization efforts. These digital technologies have shown how they can empower workers, affording remote access to the physical locations the workers once occupied and arming them with the information tools they need to collaborate with internal and external colleagues – whether human or robot.
Already before the coronavirus hit, approximately 80% of the global workforce comprised first-line workers who had no desk, the Harvard Business Review estimated. In the post-COVID world, this majority will be able to do their jobs wherever they are, thanks to digital industrial solutions such as the Unified Operations Center and the Digital Twin.
The Digital Twin, a digital representation of a physical object, functions as the digital backbone of engineering, production, maintenance, and supply chain management, delivering performance-based analytical predictions to enable decision making and address business requirements. The Unified Operations Center hyperscales these insights across facilities and geographies to present a single-window view of organizational processes in real time.
The Connected Worker as agent of change
The Connected Worker interprets this smart data, providing the multi-layered insight and direction necessary to achieve the enterprise’s objectives. When workers all along the industrial value chain have prompt access to real-time information, decision making is quicker, more accurate, and more beneficial for stakeholders. Already, field workers can access graphic representations from their mobile phones, engineers can fine-tune software or hardware from handheld devices, a foreman can optimize assembly line operations from their sofa, and executives can make pricing decisions according to up-to-date inventory levels.
Power provider Duke Energy deployed Schneider Electric’s hardware combined with AVEVA’s dynamic range modeling, prognostics tools, and AI-infused analytics. By optimizing processes across its assets and linking data on everything from flow rates to operational planning, business leaders are able to spot unit failures early, recognize potential production challenges or equipment failures before they occur, and sustain output by shifting automatically to different plant components. In addition to improved productivity and higher production rates, the team at Duke saved $34 million in a single AI-predicted operational catch.
Technology spending alone does not transform a business. It is only when the Connected Worker steps in as an agent of change that an industrial enterprise can truly enhance efficiencies across the board, resulting in interconnected, resilient organizations that drive enduring and sustainable value. That is the true promise of digital transformation for the post-COVID world.