“Digitalization is the new tool to tackle climate change” – podcast with ABB’s Peter Terwiesch

“Digitalization is the new tool to tackle climate change” – podcast with ABB’s Peter Terwiesch

  • In the latest episode of the ABB Decoded podcast, President of ABB’s Process Automation business area Peter Terwiesch discusses how sustainability and digitalization are intrinsically linked
  • Terwiesch shares his views on the findings of a global ABB study on the role of Industrial IoT solutions in reaching sustainability goals
  • Podcast explores some ABB innovations that are helping industries make better decisions by unlocking insights from data

In response to the increasing need for action on climate change, industries are sharpening their focus on sustainability goals. In the latest ABB Decoded podcast, Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation business area, discusses how the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) can play a pivotal role in helping enterprises meet their sustainability goals as well as profitability targets.

The podcast explores the key findings from a recent ABB study examining the take-up of the Industrial IoT and its potential for improving energy efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and driving sustainable change across a wide range of industries.

Terwiesch explains how connecting systems through Industrial IoT not only results in higher levels of automation, but also ensures individuals and businesses have more insights and are hence equipped to make better operational decisions that align with their sustainability targets.

Putting digitalization into practice

ABB’s study of international business and technology leaders on industrial transformation showed that nearly 96 percent of decision-makers believe digitalization is essential to sustainability. However, the study also revealed that only 35 percent of surveyed companies have implemented Industrial IoT solutions at scale – highlighting the potential for industries to progress towards sustainability goals through increased digitalization.

“We’ve got digitalization as a new tool in the toolbox,” Terwiesch said, referring to sustainability related challenges faced by many industries. He continued that the sustainability imperative is increasingly becoming a “license to operate” for businesses that are under pressure to meet environmental compliance, as well as customer expectations.

Terwiesch also addressed the role of cybersecurity in improving sustainability through Industrial IoT, highlighting the importance of being able to trust the data as a foundation for running businesses: “Cybersecurity is a base layer that needs to be put in place – and it needs to evolve together with the evolving threat landscape in order to facilitate the advantages that the Industrial IoT can deliver.”

Protecting data from outside access, as well as ensuring systems are not being misled through data manipulation is essential. “To make more decisions digitally, and to move on the journey towards more autonomous operations, you need to be able to trust your data,” Terwiesch added.

Better decisions with Industrial IoT

As more enterprises increase investment in Industrial IoT to achieve sustainability goals, industries must make the most of operational data. Terwiesch highlights that, working with many industrial customers, ABB has seen that they typically use less than 20 percent of the data they generate. The reason, Terwiesch argued, is that often raw data can be difficult to access and contextualize.

Domain competence and advanced data analytics, including artificial intelligence, are key to solving this challenge. Bringing together real-time operational data from Operational Technology (OT), Information Technology (IT) and Engineering Technology (ET), is just as crucial.

“By contextualizing data, you can get to better insights, better decisions – and through that, better outcomes,” Terwiesch said.

Sustainability innovations

ABB combines digitalization and sustainability in solutions that maximize energy efficiency, optimize resource utilization and lower emissions – while improving profitability for customers.

“As an engineer you always look for augmenting efficiency, and if you have an unused resource which is your data, there is a natural temptation to think about how can I use this data better for better out-comes. And this is where the Industrial Internet of Things and the solutions we've developed at ABB really help customers use that data better. In our observation, it is really the customers who do more with their data – they are the ones who achieve better outcomes.”

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. www.abb.com

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