Driven broadly by Industry 4.0 and advances in industrial IoT technology, digital twins, and big data analytics, IT and OT convergence is allowing the IT-centric digital information world to see, understand, and influence the physical OT-centric operational world. When implemented properly, IT and OT convergence can merge business processes, insights, and controls into a single uniform environment.
To help companies with their IT and OT needs, Cisco and Wipro have been strategic partners and jointly innovating for over 25 years. More specifically addressing the needs of IT and OT convergence, Wipro has developed an IoT-managed service framework–Wipro IoTNXT–that acts as a bridge between IT and OT networks. This solution framework offers enhanced automation, monitoring, process standardization for data movement, integration of IT and OT service, and contract management. Wipro IoTNXT also integrates with the Cisco market leading IoT, networking, and security offerings.
IT and OT operating in separate domains
Simply stated, OT focuses on the management and control of physical devices operating in the physical world, in places like manufacturing plants. Traditionally, these devices have not been connected to a network, instead existing as silos of specialized devices. This said, the introduction of electronics and digital technologies has been found useful–for example, in operational control systems like computerized numerical control machining systems.
Consequently, the traditional physical domain composed of machines, electromechanical devices, manufacturing systems, and other industrial equipment has largely been kept separate from the digital world using servers, storage, networking, and other devices to run applications and process data. Historically, the IT and OT domains have been operated by different teams that shared little data and control with each other, relying on manual oversight and workflows from different IT and OT business owners.
IoT as a driver for IT and OT convergence
A foundational technology driving the convergence of IT and OT networks has been the deployment of IoT devices. IoT devices include a wide variety of sensors for gathering real-time data about physical conditions–such as temperature, pressure and chemical compositions. IoT devices also include actuators that can accept digitally provided commands to perform physical actions like controlling valves and moving mechanisms. Each IoT device is designed to communicate over standard networks, allowing it to exchange OT data with IT resources–servers and storage–sometimes over considerable distances.
The ability to add IoT devices to OT equipment–to collect data from the manufacturing floor, for example–opens several use cases to bring increased operational efficiency and improved security, enabled by IT and OT convergence. For instance, factory operational efficiency can be improved by the integration of shop floor data with IT systems dealing with supply chain, product life cycle management, and enterprise resource planning.
Cisco market leadership in industrial networking, IoT, and security
To enable IT and OT convergence, Cisco offers a broad portfolio of connectivity solutions to securely connect IoT-enabled equipment to the network. This includes Cisco IoT gateways that provide connectivity to IoT sensors.
The Cisco IoT gateways also run the Cisco IOx application environment, which combines the Cisco IOS and Linux OS for highly secure networking. This environment allows third parties to deploy their applications that collect data coming from the IOT network to feed the data analytics engines that translate that information into actionable insights.
In turn, the Wipro IoTNXT-managed service framework acts as a bridge between IT and OT, offering flexible and reliable solutions for managing infrastructure. Using such a solution, organizations can effectively monitor their OT infrastructure and assets–ranging from sensors, gateways, controllers, and equipment—on a 24×7 basis.
In addition, Wipro IoTNXT allows for integration with IT Service Management (ITSM) tools, and drives enhanced results across service automation, incidence management, and contract management. Businesses can take advantage of service management and automation, integration with Business Service Management (BSM) tools, and device management. Additionally, IoTNXT paves the way for effective management of IoT networks, cloud environments, and data centers.
When you combine Wipro’s innovative end-to-end integration services–including the IoTNXT-managed service framework–with the Cisco market-leading IoT, networking, and security offerings, you create a partnership that can help our mutual customers tackle their most challenging IT and OT convergence challenges.
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