Automation Opportunities in the IT Industry
Automation : The Future
Two decades ago, it was the stuff of science fiction. Today, it’s just a fact of life. The machines really are taking over, especially in the manufacturing realm. The $152 billion global industrial automation market has grown 6 percent a year, on an average, since 2003, the analysts reported, which is nearly twice as fast as overall industrial production. Successive advances in technology are making the economics of automation and robotics increasingly compelling for many companies in a growing number of industries.
Leading companies in the IT Services sector have realized the huge potential of Industrial Automation and have entered this space either by building their own teams or by way of Mergers & Acquisitions.
Infosys, CTS, Wipro, TCS, HCL are traditional software giants, who have reinvented themselves and brought in tremendous value addition by incorporating IOT (Internet of Things) into this space of Automation. The Automation Industry is, in turn, undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts by taking concepts like Productivity, Efficiency & Return on Investment to the Consumer. There is a realization that while processes need to be automated, there is an increasing need to make decisions based on real time data. This has helped the merger of these traditional Automation companies and the IT Sector. The opportunities are enormous. There is no sector that will not benefit from this revolution.
The IT Industry will also help in taking Automaton to the non industrial sector. Building Management Systems & Home Automation are no more a peek into the future. Robotics for non industrial applications is already gaining popularity. We come across so many automated processes through our day that we do not pay attention to. Every equipment that works by itself is the work of art of an automation engineer and the data from this equipment which reaches us is enabled by an IT services professional.
What does this mean for an Engineer ?
If you are an engineer and want to make a difference in the way things work, Automation is definitely a space you must consider. As an automation engineer, you could
- Work with OEMs and SPM manufacturers, understand the purpose and functioning of the machine being manufactured, and program it to function like it should.
- Work with System Integrators who help the OEMs choose controllers based on their requirement and aid them in programming the functions
- Work with Automation Solution providers who design complete solutions for the User Industry to integrate all the individual machines, which will help you in gaining Industry Domain knowledge
- Work at the User end, in the integration of all the machines purchased. Here, you could also be engaged in eliciting data from the machines to analyze the effectiveness of production
- Work with the IT services provider to extract the real time data taken from the machines and analyze the same along with data from the ERP, in the perspective of investment and returns.
There is a misconception that Automation engineers get to work only in grueling environments. The production facilities of large companies are power houses of technology. An automation engineer has the opportunity to work with cutting edge technology and can derive great satisfaction, from the functioning of huge machines that work based on his programs. Another misconception is that Automation specialists are PLC programmers only. That is not true because as an Automation person, you also gain tremendous knowledge on the machine’s functions and the Industry’s domain. An Automation engineer has the unique opportunity to work with the source of the data and also the analysis of the same in order to generate useful information to all the stakeholders. The knowledge of automation and machine level programs gives you a huge advantage in this space.
Be it any sector, Automobiles, Telecom, Satellites, Infrastructure, Pharmaceuticals, Power Plants, Oil & Gas Plants, Automation has become an integral part of it. The IT Enabled Services in all these sectors have to be built over the data acquired from the equipment used. So, as an Engineer, if you have the skills to fetch this data and analyze it, you carry tremendous value to the people who build the IT services over this data to present to the End users.