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Rail Engineer of the Future

How will digitalisation and Industry 4.0 create Smart Engineers of the future?

So much of the way we live our daily lives is driven by technological advancements over the last twenty years. Smartphones, ultra thin laptops, tablets are now all commonplace in the way we go about our lives and our business. We now live in times where digital advancement is frequently taken for granted.

Indeed our emotional state is negatively affected without a reasonably strong Wi-Fi signal or a lack of battery power in our mobile devices. Digital technology drives the way we work and the way we live.

We are too far down the road for the changes to be reversible, and the ‘prizes’ for organisations that get this right is a sustainable and profitable future.

But let’s just pause and reflect for a moment.

According to Wikipedia (another modern creation we can’t do without), Industry 4.0 is a name for the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing.

There are four design principles in Industry 4.0. These principles support companies in identifying and implementing Industry 4.0 scenarios:

  • Interoperability: The ability of machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP)
  • Information transparency: The ability of information systems to create a virtual copy of the physical world by enriching digital plant models with sensor data. This requires the aggregation of raw sensor data to higher-value context information.
  • Technical assistance: First, the ability of assistance systems to support humans by aggregating and visualizing information comprehensibly for making informed decisions and solving urgent problems on short notice. Second, the ability of cyber physical systems to physically support humans by conducting a range of tasks that are unpleasant, too exhausting, or unsafe for their human co-workers.
  • Decentralized decisions: The ability of cyber physical systems to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible. Only in the case of exceptions, interferences, or conflicting goals, are tasks delegated to a higher level.

This all sounds terrifying doesn’t it?

At its purest, it actually means connected communications, IT, data and physical elements.

In reality the “connected everything” environment allows for more automation and better-personalised interactions. Note ‘better’ not fewer.

The cloud enables new levels of scalability, flexibility and responsiveness. Analytics and big data allow insights to be derived in real time from massive volumes of data. The combination of all three technologies means organisations are able to collect, store and analyse enormous amounts of data simultaneously, greatly enhancing processes across the organisation and creating a more efficient and value adding production process.

The 18th century saw the advent of mechanical production, while in the 19th and 20th century mass production was enabled through electricity. The development of electronics and IT further automated production in the 1970s, reconfiguring industry a third time.

Rail Engineer of the Future

Industry 4.0 creates as much of a fundamental change as those earlier paradigm shifts.

Enterprise is changing, and disruption is, to some degree, inevitable. Those organisations that embrace these developments will see significant rewards. At the end of this transformation process, successful organisations will become true digital enterprises, with physical products at the core, augmented by digital interfaces and data-based, innovative services. These digital enterprises will work together with customers and suppliers in industrial digital ecosystems. These developments will fundamentally change individual organisations, as well as transform market dynamics across a whole range of industries.

PwC’s 2016 Global Industry 4.0 Survey provided evidence showing that organisations embracing this approach achieved annual digital revenue increases of 2.9% on average and cost reductions of 3.6% per annum. Their survey respondents expected to achieve revenues increases of nearly $0.5bn over 5 years and cost savings of £0.4bn in the same time period. That’s a net effect on the profitability of the organisations of nearly $1bn in 5 years – a truly staggering shift in financial performance.

However the biggest challenge of industrial leaders today isn’t technology – it is the people. While digital technologies are rapidly becoming commoditised, success largely depends on how well its leaders define, lead, and communicate the transformation. This is entirely normal for a change programme. It is also dependent upon the digital capabilities, skills and occasionally, qualifications of the employees who need to roll out digital processes and services. Radical disruption is rarely comfortable for the people who make it happen, so managing change well will be fundamental for success. And with data analytics becoming a core capability for every organisation, enhancing skills and organisational structures will be critical.

This is where Pauley comes in.

We make those four design principles in Industry 4.0 a lot less frightening!

Interoperability – We can help you identify what data to extract and how to maximise existing datasets – whether you are data poor or drowning in it!

Information Transparency – We can help visualise live data in new and innovative ways – to help understand how you can benefit from this data insight for the benefit of you and your customers.

Technical Assistance – We can help transform technical specification and paper based processes into interactive, energised and responsive live systems.

Rail Engineer of the Future

Decentralised Decisions – By utilising the Cloud, AI and Blockchain we can ensure critical information is given to key individuals at the right time.

We are an organisation that is innovating, empowering and immersed in Industry 4.0, we communicate data in new and innovative ways through leading-edge technology to increase productivity, enhance performance and drive efficiency – all for your benefit.

It’s not technology for technology’s sake. It’s learning. It’s developing. And it’s making your organisation and your people more productive as a result.

Our team of highly skilled and experienced software specialists develop tailored immersive solutions for pioneering businesses within the industry. Our unique digital solutions connect data sources into a centralised environment and harness the power of leading-edge technology to visualise and collaboratively manage any environment in real-time, from anywhere.

We operate in industries that have such a strong heritage, where change can be slow to adopt, and adaptation to modern technology requires significant cultural change. However the prize is enormous.

For example, in the rail industry, we can carry more passengers on the same infrastructure, we can have a ‘predict and prevent’ maintenance regime instead of a ‘find and fix’, we can deploy less people on dangerous infrastructure and we can drive down costs and increase performance simply by embracing the technology that is, already, all around us.

But it’s the people where the rewards are greatest. Employing, educating, training and developing a digitally focused and software knowledgeable workforce creates a culture where innovation drives efficiency, in turn leading to higher levels of productivity, reducing unit costs and increasing margins. People hold the key to Industry 4.0, not technology.

That’s why our work is focused on those state of the art rail-training facilities – the National College for High Speed Rail, the National Training Academy for Rail and the Tunneling and Underground Construction Academy – we want to support the next generation through the digital 4.0 journey.

Our ambition is to create the ‘digital’ engineer of the future. We want to develop smart engineers for smart infrastructure and operation, removing the void between designer, contractor and system operator.

Our journey has already started, join us on the wave of the next revolution.

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