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By Elian Zimmermann
13 September 2021

Operational And Manufacturing Resilience In South Africa

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WATCH THE VIDEO AND LEARN MORE ABOUT THE OPERATIONAL AND MANUFACTURING RESILIENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA.


In this panel discussion with Ignition community partners, we discuss the South African Industry 4.0 and modernisation opportunity. We’ll share common challenges and the technology and strategies available as part of the Ignition platform. Integrator partners will also share valuable lessons learnt and enablement advice. And how these can aid in enhancing our manufacturers’ competitiveness

SPEAKERS:

Jaco Markwat
Managing Director
Element8
Braam Venter
Director
Advansys
Vinesh Maharaj
Associate Director
PWC

Transcript

00:00
Jaco
Good morning and welcome to the ICC 2021. No, you’re not in North America. We’re in South Africa. But this is our first live session as part of inductive automations. ICC 2021. ICC is of course the inductive, or ignition community conference. It’s been going for probably 15 years, I think. ICC. I can’t remember the number. My name is Jaco. I am the team leader at element eight. We are, of course, the distributor for ignition software here in sub saharan Africa. Thank you very much for joining us. I see we still have some people joining, but we have to get going. Thank you for making the time. You could have been doing a thousand other things this morning. Thank you for joining us. We hope you find it valuable. Our title this morning is operational and manufacturing resilience in South Africa.

00:49
Jaco
I’d introduce you to the team here. We’ve had some pretty deep discussions this morning already solving a whole host of problems South Africa is experiencing. I have. With me, I have Vanesh and Brahm. We also have a couple of folks online. I would like for them to introduce themselves. Vanesh, maybe we can start with you.

01:10
Vinesh
Thank you, Jaco. I’m Vanesh Maharaj. I’m associate director at PwC. I’ve been an instrumentation control engineer for the last 26 years. I lead a smart manufacturing team at PwC. And we want to help reindustrialize South Africa.

01:26
Jaco
Cool. Fantastic. And then we have Bron.

01:29
Braam
Thanks, Jaco. Bron Fenter, one of the directors at advances. I’ve been in the industry also for many years. Been a technical director at Advances, assisting the team, making the right choices in terms of product solutions, helping them to be able to deliver the projects with quality. So, yeah, that’s it. Very excited to be here.

01:54
Jaco
Yeah. Nice to have you. I forgot to mention that, of course, the panel that you have with us today, obviously, with the exception of our Vanesh, is our independent smart manufacturing oracle. So with the exclusion of Vanesh, everybody that’s with us on the panel today is our gold certified ignition, gold certified integrators. And it’s really the first opportunity that we’ve had to get everybody together, I think. Next up we have Grant, who joined us a little bit late. Grant, I hope you. Okay and you can hear us.

02:28
Grant
Thank you. Perfectly cool.

02:32
Jaco
I was expecting the Cape Tonians to be late, but it was KZN that was late this morning. No problem.

02:42
Grant
My name is Braun Douglas. I’m the director of Africa Corporation system integrator business for over 15 years. We have branches in Joburg in Durban and we customers throughout Africa. I’m myself automation engineer with over 20 years of experience working in multiple industries, including mining and metals and process manufacturing. Myself, I’m still highly involved in the technical part of business and driving our strategy to ensure that our clients are achieving more with less. And I would say I’ve been around to see the changes industry and the requirements, and this is one of the reasons that we are so excited about ignition and how that can help us solve problems that our clients are facing.

03:38
Jaco
Cool. Thanks, Grant. Thanks for joining us. Pleasure. Next up we have Brian from Cape Town. Brian, good morning. Hi.

03:47
Vinesh
Good morning, Jaco.

03:48
Brian
Thank you for having us. My name is Brian Cooper from Intech System Integrators. We are a system integrator company down in Cape Town. I’ve got over 15 years experience in control instrumentation. We’ve got an engineering team down here in Cape Town doing all the projects. And yes, we are also very excited about ignition and what it can offer. And we’ve had some great successes with the product and are very excited to see where it’s going.

04:17
Jaco
Yeah.

04:17
Brian
Thank you for having us.

04:19
Jaco
Cool. Thanks, Brian. Good morning. Rob, also from Cape Town.

04:22
Robert
Yeah, good morning. Yeah. Robert Sabri from next integration. We’ve got footprints in Cape Town and in Joburg, but, yeah, looking forward to really getting involved with ignition, and we’ve done a lot of work so far and looking forward to what’s coming and how it can transform and where we could take it. We’re basically working in the food and BeV sectors and the utility sectors as well.

04:47
Jaco
Cool. Fantastic. Thanks, Rob. So kicking off this morning, maybe just a recap of what we’re chatting about this morning. You don’t have to read the screen. You’re welcome to.

04:58
Jaco
I think the intent of the session, when we first thought about what would be most valuable to talk through was really to look at a couple of things, and hopefully we’ll get through some of those this morning because some of the discussions, I think, in rabbit hole and it can become quite deep, as we’ve seen this morning already just before the call, is really talking about South Africa’s industry and manufacturing and process and mining and metals and minerals industries, and talking about some of the challenges that we see, some of the trends we observe, but more importantly, what the opportunity is not only for the individual companies, but also for the country as a whole, where I think somebody like Vanesh is quite passionate and speaks quite vociferously about and how technology, as part of the good old digital transformation pillars in people, process and technology being enterprise wide, what the role of technology is and how something like ignition could potentially play a small part to help break down some of the barriers.

06:02
Jaco
And then finally, we would like to get some feedback from our gold certified system integrators on their experience so far. Not necessarily talking about everything that is fantastic and great about ignition. You’re welcome to do that as well. But more specifically, some of the learnings and experiences that you can share that will be helpful to others, because that’s what it’s all about. Very much for our industry is about being a community as opposed to individual people looking to self serve and achieve their own goals. I think it’s more for us about the community. So those are some of the things we set out to talk about this morning. Maybe it’s a little bit romantic and a little bit philosophical, but it is all topics and points that are quite important.

06:50
Jaco
So the agenda we’ve kicked off with the introductions, we’re going to ask Vanesh to give us a little bit of insight in terms of some of the research that they’ve done, that he’s done and the team have done at PwC. We’re going to look at some of the challenges and barriers. As we said, we’re going touch on emerging technologies and innovation. Be ready for a couple of tlas. There’s a lot of three letter acronyms. Our industry is littered with three letter acronyms, but some of them do hold a lot of promise and a lot of value and a lot of ROI already. And we’re going touch on some of those emerging technologies and innovation. We’re going to look a little bit at the role of ignition as a unified platform for SCADA and obviously also so much more.

07:34
Jaco
And some of the examples that we’ve seen on what that can mean and what it can do. And then we want to talk a little bit about familiarity and enablement and specifically the important people aspect. I think most of us, and even the people on the call would agree that with any new technology comes the people aspect, and those are the people that you, or the part that you’re trying to enable is the people. And we’re going to talk a little bit about familiarity and enablement and also maybe about skills and what that means from a south african context. And then we’re going to have some closing thoughts around sort of next steps. So maybe some predictions, if anybody is brave enough to make some predictions around what’s going to happen in our industry over the next little while.

08:21
Jaco
I think on the back of COVID I don’t think anybody would have predicted something like Covid, but at least in the realm of technology, we can make a couple of predictions. Everybody okay so far, cool. All right, so we do have a number of people joining online. We do have Therese, we do have moderators sort of following the comments and the questions for those folks that are watching online live right now. We are also recording the session. If you do have any questions or comments, please put them in the chat. And we have allowed some time to go through any questions that you may have. We also look forward to some feedback from those of you that are watching. So we’ll kick it off with the industrial and manufacturing landscape in South Africa.

09:13
Jaco
And we want to understand the status quo a little bit better. We do want to understand macro and socioeconomic challenges a little bit more because there are a lot of things that we as a community can control and there’s a lot of things that we can’t control. And the things that we can’t control. How do we influence some of that? We’ve seen the impact of Covid-19 there’s been a massive, obviously, the very visible impact of Covid-19 but there’s also been a lot of opportunities that have been presented through Covid-19 through something like remote and mobile working. And hopefully we can identify some highlights and trends that will be valuable. So maybe, Vanesh, I’m going to look to you because you and I have had the most conversation about some of these topics.

10:00
Jaco
Would it be unfair to ask you to sort of paint the picture or tear it off for us in terms of what the status quo is right now in South Africa as far as industrial manufacturing goes.

10:12
Vinesh
Thank you, Jaco, and thank you for inviting myself to this forum today. As you know, I’m passionate about manufacturing, and some of the things I will say today are controversial, but I think they need to be said in order to us to move forward. So regarding the status quo, if you look back at our history in South Africa, pre 1994, our manufacturing proportion of GDP was around 25%. Last year it was 13% and it’s dropping. And that’s in 25 od years. So it’s not a good sign. And you don’t need to look at UDP numbers to see this. If you look at the number of warehouses coming up along every highway that we are traveling next to, you can see there’s a large import component.

10:54
Vinesh
Unfortunately, in the early days, we made a few missteps in policy in import, trade and tariffs, at gaps and things like that. And hence we lost our textile industry, the steel industry is on its knees now. So what that did expose that. When the barriers came down and we exposed the rest of the world, we found that we are not globally competitive. But what have we done in the last 25 years to become globally competitive? And I think the sad reality is not much. There are pockets of excellence where people have done it. There’s one particular company in Eastern Cape that were on their knees in 2008, but now South Africa is only 5% of their business because they took the industry, 4.0 technologies, rebolded their business, found international customers and now they are smiling.

11:35
Vinesh
But if one of them can do it, why can’t the rest of us do it? So status quo is not good, because if you look at the importance of manufacturing in any economy, it has a multiply effect of four. That’s what the economists use. So if every one job we create in manufacturing, we create four other jobs in the rest of the economy. Because we have linkages back to mining and agriculture and manufacturing, and forward linkages to retail and banking, financial services or whatever. So that’s why it’s a bedrock of any strong economy. And if you look at the advanced economies, particularly in the western world and now even look to the east, they were built on manufacturing and then they moved to tertiary where now the UK is primarily in financial services and things. But historically they did all that stuff.

12:22
Vinesh
So that’s what we need to get to. It’s a proven formula, but we’re just not getting around to doing it. And that probably comes to your next point, which is about why. And the why is obviously policy uncertainty is the biggest thing people are talking about with the government because they flip and flop on certain things. And unfortunately every new minister has got their own idea what to do and that doesn’t create certainty. And the unions you hear always complain there’s trillions of rands locked up in corporate bank accounts in South Africa, but not being spent in the economy. And that could create jobs. But then why aren’t they doing that? We have foreign direct investment that’s not as strong in South Africa as it is in our neighboring countries. And you need to ask yourself the question, why is that as well?

13:06
Vinesh
We used to be the biggest and most strongest economy in South Africa, Nigeria overtook us. Now we supposed to be the most advanced economy. So this is a new label. We’re trying to give us these labels to pacify what we’re doing. We should actually be doing the right things. They’ve changed the label to make us feel good about ourselves from that point of view. We have all the right pieces. We got really smart people.

13:29
Jaco
We do.

13:30
Vinesh
If you look at what we produce here, we’ve got the amount of young people who are employable is there. So all the ingredients of the recipe are there. It’s just that the cooks need to get into the game and give and use and properly formulate that recipe so that we can all benefit from it.

13:47
Jaco
Yes.

13:47
Vinesh
And if you look at what’s happening now is education doesn’t help the situation. Our education system is not producing people who are fit to join the job market and it’s not their fault. Look at our colleagues from the economic unit in PRBC released a report yesterday in the outlook. They clearly state there as well that education system is not fit for purpose.

14:09
Jaco
Yes.

14:10
Vinesh
And if you look at how that, some of the research speaks about that people in the skill sector, their jobs are recovered to 1.3% below pre Covid, like managers, people they experience people probably in this audience.

14:23
Jaco
Yes.

14:23
Vinesh
But the unskilled and semi skilled people are way below that. And your poor domestic workers and things are sitting way at the bottom, 5.8% lower and even less. So you can see if you got skills, you recover easier. So that’s what we need to get. But how do you get the skills? In my definition, a university degree is not a skill. Education plus experience is make you skill 100%. So people who go around sporting, there’s so many people with qualifications, unemployed, sitting at home, that’s not a skilled employer. People need to put in the hard years of experience to work for, not the best wage. All of us have been through that. We were talking about that earlier. All of us started at the bottom and we got our experience. And once we got the experience, then we became more valuable to the company.

15:10
Vinesh
And then the company rewarded us with growth and other prospects.

15:14
Jaco
It was earned through many years of labor and passion and hard work. It certainly wasn’t overnight. Yeah. So you’ve mentioned a couple of things around, I think a lot of the stuff you mentioned, and I’m looking at this from a point of view as us as a community, there are some things that we can control and obviously a lot of things that we can’t control. So around the things that we can control in terms of how efficient we run our businesses and our manufacturing, around how we educate and empower the people, that’s part of our business and our manufacturing, our workforce, those are some of the things that we can control. We’re probably not going to be able to come up with some answers today around the fiscal policy and everything else is being driven by the higher entity, which is government.

16:03
Jaco
We’re not going to be able to talk through some solutions there, but there are a lot of things in our industry that we can control. Do you feel that? And maybe it’s very industry specific. Do you feel that there are industries that are doing it better than others?

16:19
Vinesh
Of course, the automotive industry is the example to follow. Right. And particularly in South Africa, forget about globally, because they are always on the cutting edge of technology, because they need that unit cost efficiencies. They don’t produce a car below a certain price point, they don’t make any money.

16:37
Jaco
Right.

16:38
Vinesh
And we are export driven mainly in our south african automotive economy. And hence, even if you look at the restart during recession times, there’s still 2% growth in that economy. But the flip side is they got strong government support. There is all these incentives that have been going on that kept that economy going for the last 2030 od years. So that’s a model. Why can’t we model other industries around that?

17:01
Jaco
Yeah, for sure. And why is that sharing not happening between those industries? That’s another important question that we’ve been asking for quite a while, because I want to chat about Covid-19. So as we said earlier, Covid-19 presented obviously a lot of challenge and a lot of hardship and a lot of very negative things that I think is quite broadly public and known. I wanted to focus a little bit more on some of the opportunities and some of the good things that we’ve seen in terms of how companies, businesses and manufacturing had to pivot towards to be able to just continue doing business. Something like remote work and mobility, it’s all of a sudden, remote work and mobility has taken the forefront, and not only in sort office environments, but also for manufacturing. I’d like to get a view from the rest of our panel.

17:57
Jaco
I know, Brahma, I know you and I spoke about this recently. Maybe we can kick it off with you. How have you seen that impact of COVID How are teams evolving and have they been able to adapt, working remotely and mobile?

18:10
Braam
Yeah, I think teams definitely adapted. They had to. Otherwise it’s like a live or die. You just have to make a plan and you need to be innovative. And to be able to be innovative, you have to embrace technologies. I mean, if you look at just a simple platform teams, where that started before Covid-19 and what we can do today with it’s actually very impressive. So we could easily see it in that global trend. Some negative stuff that we’ve seen is projects that’s been struggling to get off the ground, especially with where we just quickly could import automations hardware or it was available. But now we need to wait and we have to wait and they have to make some plans, because if we still want to get manufacturing going, then we have to improvise, go back and make some changes to our designs.

19:05
Braam
I know even steel designs. All of that had to change in this time as well. But being able to work remotely has definitely kept everybody busy. And also, I almost want to say, kept it floating.

19:23
Jaco
Yes.

19:23
Braam
So we could just ride through this period as a minimum. As a minimum, yes, absolutely. So it’s had an impact on various things, but it’s, I would say, up and down. People really did realize that they can work remotely and they can make decisions if they have the right information.

19:45
Jaco
If they have the right information and they have the tools available to them wherever they are.

19:49
Braam
Exactly. And we’ve seen that the amount of. I want to see real time what’s happening on my plant right now, and that’s why we’re so excited about the ignition. It makes it possible. It’s like, no problem, let’s do this. We’ve got the technology to do it now, so let’s go and do.

20:08
Jaco
And Grant, I know you and I have had very similar conversations where all of a sudden, I’d like to get your feedback on this topic. All of a sudden there is a need for more people in the organization to get a view of what’s happening and people that are not necessarily based on premise wherever the manufacturing is happening. Does that sound fair?

20:31
Vinesh
Yes, Jacob, I totally agree.

20:33
Grant
I think one of the opportunities in terms of, let’s say, system innovators has been that manufacturers have had to adopt and fast track digitization in their businesses. You have a look at digitization where they haven’t in the past, and this is due to the reasons where they need the information available to them, where they don’t have staff on the plant floor anymore, stuck at home. So there’s definitely a push. It has been a big change for manufacturers, but I think it is driving digitization. We see that as a huge factor going forward.

21:27
Jaco
Definitely. And I know looking at our partners in the Western Cape, I know, Brian, you had probably a very real project that’s been running for a while now where remote monitoring wasn’t necessarily driven by Covid. It was certainly the restrictions in place certainly made it more difficult, maybe highlighted need, but the remote aspect was really evident from not being able to travel to a site or even cross province or something like that. You maybe share a little bit of detail around.

22:03
Vinesh
Sure.

22:06
Brian
So I think in the smaller towns of Africa, water is a problem and they rely on boreholes and stuff like that. The technology now changed in such a way that it made it a lot easier for us to implement something for them, that they could monitor and control their assets remotely. And they also had the requirement of being able to see the equipment from a cell phone or a laptop at home or something like that. Because of COVID they didn’t go to the offices anymore. And this platform made it available.

22:49
Jaco
To them.

22:50
Brian
You can now give anybody access on this platform and they can see what the reservoir levels are and what their border statuses are and so on. And it actually saved some of the municipalities a lot of money when it came to maintenance and vehicle wear and tear and that type of stuff that they used to go to site. So it was a major improvement for them. And when they started seeing the benefits of it, they expanded on that platform even more because they could now see the savings and they could now see the accessibility and the ease of use and so on.

23:26
Jaco
And you’re not just finding it in.

23:27
Brian
The water industry, you’re finding it on some of the other food and beverage type applications as well. The guys want to see what’s going on. They want access, they want visibility of their plants.

23:39
Jaco
So it’s almost as if the forced new way of work in terms of mobility and remote will have a lasting effect, which is amazing because it’s something we’ve been trying to promote and something we’ve been trying to highlight the benefits of. But now that it’s forced, hopefully that value will have some longevity. Rob, I’m going to ask you, I know you work a lot with somebody like Abmbev. I know Abmbev zone for them, for example, has been closed very challenging times for them, but also very different working environment for them where teams within a company like ABMF worked very closely together, physically close proximity to each other. What are some of the experience that you’ve had there?

24:30
Robert
Yeah, look, I think it’s been difficult, of course, but it’s also bought a lot of productivity at the same time, just in the sense that you’ve had people at their desks and in small groups, you can have a quick Zoom session, you can have your quick engagement, your teams meeting, and you’ve actually found a lot of technical information has come through quite quickly. I found in terms of being able to get your scope very clear very quickly and being able to actually get a clear requirements. And the requirements have generally been bringing the data into increased visibility, increased consolidation, increased contextualization, and that’s been really interesting.

25:11
Robert
And outside of that, it’s been just so much demand for edge and kind of bringing information through to all devices so that we don’t have to go to site, we don’t have to see things all the time. And yeah, that’s been absolutely imperative.

25:26
Jaco
Yeah, I’m thinking about all the sort of concerns and risks we’ve heard over the last couple of years of bringing that data. All of a sudden now that there’s no choice. All right, well, let’s do it. All of a sudden, all the barriers around security, all of a sudden companies are willing to look at that and consider it where it was out of the question. Never. So that’s definitely a positive.

25:52
Braam
Definitely accelerated that.

25:54
Jaco
Yeah, for sure. So that’s definitely a highlight and hopefully a trend that will have some longevity. I’m going to park some of the trends for our closing thoughts. Maybe as we go through it, we can think of some more predictions around trends I do want to talk about. So we’ve highlighted a very obvious one around technology and an opportunity that we have that will hopefully have some longer life. Are there any other specific opportunities that we see right this moment in a broader context outside of COVID where we think about something like industrial Internet or things, where in the past it was a case of how do I access my data? Where today maybe it’s a case of I have too much data. In the past there was not being able to get data from the edge to the enterprise or the ERP.

26:46
Jaco
In other words, from OT to it, where today I can do that, but it doesn’t necessarily have the context. Are there any other areas where we can think of the technology that’s available to us today, where we have opportunities to introduce newer technologies and newer ways of doing that will benefit the typical south african industrial manufacturing concern?

27:13
Vinesh
Let me give you one example of a project we’re busy with. So this client needed management reporting, right? And they need information from the control system that’s been installed there. Historically, pre Covid, they had on premise solution. Everybody connected to it, everybody got the reports, happiness. Now when we now time to expand the system and everybody’s working remotely, the whole thing does not work. Performance has degraded because it’s not designed for remote access. So this client now was forced to take the step into cloud move everything into the cloud, subscribe to one of the popular cloud service providers and we’re moving that, moving the management reporting, your scalar is below that. And yeah, moving the entire management reporting into the cloud and that still interrogates the hybrid scada.

28:05
Vinesh
But that wouldn’t have happened if the financial manager was not sitting at home and trying to pull a report. And then the report is now coming over the air. The query is running her laptop which has a different specification to a server which normally run that query and then it sits for three days hung. So that’s the kind of thing that you forced to real practicalities where this opportunity lies, because people have more opportunity now to get faster access to data, but they have to invest now. And the people say the cloud step is more expensive, but in the long term it’s cheaper.

28:37
Braam
Yeah, I think the thing that I can say is that we could always deliver reports remotely. The possibility was there, it’s like the technology did exist, but it came at either premium or it was quite difficult to do. It had to be a lot of customization and all of that where today, because the trends are driving it a little bit faster, the technology adapts quicker to it and it’s more cost effective. It is actually more cost effective because you need to look at not just what would you pay to host it, even the cloud or so forth, you also need to look at what it’s going to cost for somebody to develop something to do that. So previously that cost was quite high, now that’s a little bit easier.

29:26
Jaco
I’m happy that you’re mentioning cost. So what I want to chat about and get some feedback from you guys, I mean, this team on this call is essentially at the coalface. You’re in the thick of it, you understand, you hear the problems, the challenges. So when we talk about adopting a technology that has a very specific benefit or very clear and obvious benefit, what are some of the challenges that we have with doing that or through doing that? And I’d like to, I’ve just put a few on here, maybe some of them are accurate, maybe some of them are not. Is it a cost barrier? Is it scalability, is it the adoption, is it the skills in adopting the technology, is it. When I talk about efficiency, when we talk about efficiency, are we talking about, is it the ability to show the value?

30:14
Jaco
And I know that the team on this call all deal in very different industries. I’m keen to get a couple of comments around what some of those reasons are. Why are we not necessarily seeing the technology being able to deliver a business value where there’s a clear, what are we solving for? Where it’s clear, why are we not seeing that? Maybe we can start with you, Grant. I hope it’s not a loaded question.

30:45
Grant
No problem. Look, from my side, in terms of the adoption of these solutions, I would say if you look at your list there, the first thing would be the adoption of new technologies. I think especially with ignition, it is a relatively new product that’s on the market. That’s one of the things that we’re battling with, is trying to go and sell something where the manufacturers haven’t heard about it and to explain at the cost point, because I think that’s also another issue. By the ignition, it is very cost effective. There’s a huge advantage to manufacturers, but it creates this illusion that I’m buying something that is not capable of doing the job of something that costs maybe three times as much.

31:45
Vinesh
Okay.

31:46
Grant
And we are battling to sell them the market. But when the customers do get familiar with the actual technology and capability of ignition, they are definitely bought in and they are. To solve problems in their business would be another thing, especially with us and with our customers, because of it being a new technology. We have to learn the way that if you have a look at perspective, the way that we design screens and adapted for different resolutions, and also customers not maybe having the how to use ignition, those definitely have been barriers with adopting these ignition.

32:42
Vinesh
Yeah.

32:43
Jaco
It’s interesting, the value, what you mentioned, the perception, or at least the value of the perception of something that is typically high end, cost wise, being perceived as the premium or the premier offering, where something that is lower priced, perceived to be an inferior product, that is definitely a perception which we’ve heard echoed as well. And to your point, until there is at least a use of their technology, and then it becomes quite apparent around the flexibility and the scalability. Western Cape. I’m going to keep on saying Western Cape because there’s two Cape Tonians on the call. Brian, anything from your side around actual experience in terms of adopting or implementing something like ignition?

33:33
Brian
Yeah, so I agree with Rob. When we get to new clients that’s got an existing install base with other technologies, it’s very difficult to sell this product. But people that’s been scratching around and have some experience on it can see the benefit in it and it’s much easier to sell it or for them to adopt it. So the adoption is a bit of a barrier that needs to be addressed from outside. And that’s stuff that we’re working on. And the skills level is also a big change, specifically with perspective. You need a very different skill level to be able to develop those screens and make it responsive and so on. Some of the benefits are the scalability and accessibility to interface with different other systems, which you also get involved in quite a bit.

34:37
Brian
It’s a bit easier to not stay in a specific software vertical or stack where you’ve got different systems that need to interface with each other. And this system or ignition makes it a lot easier to do that. So I think there’s a lot of benefit in that. And then the efficiency as well. It comes down to cost. The total cost of ownership is a lot less with this product than with some of the other ones that we are all familiar with. And that makes it a very good prospect for companies to have a look at.

35:15
Jaco
Cool. I do have sort of, towards the end of our discussion, I do want to chat about familiarity and adoption a little bit and maybe some ways that we can. We’ll get to it on that slide. But two phrases we hear often is, we’ve always done it that way, or we have always used. Those are two phrases that we very often come across. And just because something has been done a specific way for 20 years doesn’t mean that it’s correct and relevant for the next 20 years. And that is something that has been pervasive through our industry for as long as I can remember. It’s always been the case. And I think there is a lot of internal drive and a willingness to change and adopt because of benefits that’s involved there as well.

36:02
Jaco
And that very much varies per industry and per company, definitely depending on what the culture and the vision within that company is. Rob, anything from your side?

36:16
Robert
Yeah, look, I think what I found was just with the larger clients, it’s very much the adoption challenge, but with the smaller clients, the scalability cost and of course, the skills. Skills we found is one of the biggest challenges. They want to know that everyone else can support it so that it’s not something that’s just going to be. They’re going to be stuck with you or one crowd with. That’s something. And the growth of that in the country at the moment has been awesome. It’s been fantastic. And the tools available for you to upskill and the people that you can actually bring in from different sectors almost to upskill is quite amazing. So I think that’s been an interesting challenge.

36:55
Vinesh
Yeah.

36:55
Jaco
Cool. Thanks. All right, I want to get to the juicy stuff, which is always the tech we’re all technical people, we’re technology driven before we look at the tech specifically because I want to understand some feedback and experiences of things that you’ve used. Brian, I know you’ve had some amazing success with MQTT grant. I know when it comes to edge to enterprise, that’s something that you’ve been quite involved with some of your projects. Brahma, I know your team has been very much focused on high performance design and situational awareness. Mobility and remote working has probably been relevant for all of us. And then I want to chat about KPIs before we look at the tech that you feel is making the most impact and becoming popular. I want to ask the question from everybody whether we should be solution or technology driven.

37:46
Jaco
It’s a little bit of a philosophical question because naturally you want to be solution driven because you have a problem and you’re trying to solve for that problem and you’re building a solution to solve that problem. But the reason I’m asking the question is because it does feel like by doing that, we’re almost bolting the car to the garage floor or governing the speed that the car can travel by being solution driven, not technology driven. Yes, the technology should deliver a solution, but if we are technology driven, we are lying for much more future promise and scope and ability outside of just the current solution or problem that we’re trying to solve.

38:31
Jaco
So it’s a little bit of a philosophical question, but I think it’s an important one to understand whether whatever the technology is, and we’re going to get a couple of the examples of those technologies, whatever the tech is that we’re introducing, should we do it to be solution driven or technology driven? And I’m going to start the philosophical question with you, Vanesh. Maybe I’ll put you in the hot seat. First of what do you think?

38:56
Vinesh
So the point of departure for us is that all of this technology or what you can implement requires funding and that you need to convince your CFO or the person holds the financial strings to fund this. And then they look at ROI. Yeah, and you know the story. All of you guys know the story. So that’s why I’m biased towards it must be solution driven because it needs to fulfill a particular business purpose.

39:27
Jaco
Always the business requirements.

39:28
Vinesh
It cannot be technology for technology’s sake, with due respect to what you said now, which is also valid. So you need to find that fine balance where you provide a solution that’s forward looking so you have the technology embedded in it, but he’s solving an important business problem. That then makes the CFO sleep better at night, helps him achieve his KPIs and hence loosen the purse strings for us because we as engineers are perceived to be. We only want to put in this tech because we are these techies and we love all the toys to play with. But then the CFO says, what’s that bottom line? Impact. And we’re not talking about risk revenues, let’s talk about profitability. If he’s not making enough money to fund your next project for what you just done, then he’ll never fund the next project of yours.

40:11
Jaco
Right.

40:11
Vinesh
So he has to be a sustainable solution, potentially self funding so that they buy into it. And hence you also need to take an agile approach where you do a quick project, have a quick win, show them the benefits, you get more confidence, they get buy in.

40:27
Jaco
Then you small incremental value.

40:30
Vinesh
Yeah, you do the whole agile product methodology, that’s where we see the value arriving and that’s the way to convince the CFO.

40:37
Jaco
So if your technology that you’re using in that case can deliver that kind of flexibility and scalability going forward, that’s a win scenario.

40:44
Braam
Absolutely.

40:45
Vinesh
And hence you can’t use the added methodology if it’s not scalable because you won’t do a big bang initial investment. So you have to modularize it and then scale it up accordingly. And then as some of the team had mentioned, once people see the benefit, then it scales exponentially because everybody wants a piece of this.

41:06
Jaco
Yeah, for sure. Brahm, maybe. To answer the question, any specific technologies that you are excited about, things that you’ve seen adding value?

41:19
Braam
Yeah, I think one technology that stands out here, which we’ve seen over the last few years, that’s really been pushed, but not just pushed because it’s there, it’s pushed because it does make a lot of sense. Is MQTT okay? And it completely creates a new opportunity for us to deliver solutions using that type of technology which will drive down cost, bandwidth and all of that. But it also gives us the, it’s almost like I’m going to say that the disconnect between two systems from a security perspective, but you can still get the information that’s relevant and what you would need. So that is definitely one thing that I thought ignition brought to the table and really embedded into their product stack and to be able to make that available.

42:18
Braam
So I mean, from there, your edge to enterprise mobility, all of that just becomes so much easier to do because that technology, that base foundation technology sits there, which you can just use so you can start building solutions and provide a solution to a specific problem. But you can really start using the technology because it’s scalable at the end of the day. So that’s definitely one thing that I think stands out quite a bit.

42:46
Jaco
So MQTT is short for those of you that are watching, that’s not familiar. MQTT is short for message queue, telemetry, transport. It is seen as some by a silver bullet. It was actually founded many years ago by a gentleman named Arlen Nipper. He was the co founder of MQTT. And it does hold the promise of transforming the way that OT and it communicates as far as data is concerned. It does seem to hold a lot of promise. Not seems, we’ve seen the results in terms of democratizing your data. The role that MQTT as a protocol can play as compared to some other protocols out there and then over and above. The very obvious benefits of MQTT being very lightweight, I think it’s a two byte header when it comes to costs, so it’s very light on bandwidth.

43:40
Jaco
It is also a report by an exception as opposed to kind of a polling kind of protocol. So yeah, brom, I agree. I think MQTT is definitely a technology that we’ve certainly seen is going to be a game changer.

43:53
Braam
Yes, absolutely. And also with what Poland and them have done with Sparkbug B as a standard included in that, it just takes away that. How does this message should look like now?

44:05
Jaco
What should I do? Because your ERP doesn’t understand what a tag from the PLC is and what it looks like. It’s got no context, but as soon.

44:12
Braam
As everybody starts standardizing on these type of protocols, then it becomes easier. And like I said, it’s connected, but it’s also disconnected.

44:22
Vinesh
Exactly.

44:23
Braam
That’s the power of it.

44:25
Jaco
Cool. I’m going to ask you, Brian, I know if you can maybe tie in with that, you. I’m hoping you’re going to mention MQTT because you’ve done some amazing things with MQTT.

44:37
Vinesh
Yeah, definitely.

44:38
Brian
So we’ve used MQTT, and I agree with Brahm and what he said about the protocol. It’s definitely a game changer. It’s a very lightweight protocol, very beneficial for telemetry type applications and even communicating between different systems in an enterprise organization. The Spark plug B that Brom mentioned as well, that puts some context to your message, is also very nice to work with. And then also the queuing that the protocol has stored on forward capabilities. If you lose connection, being able to store locally and then forward that information up to your server to backfill that information so you don’t lose it. So all of that makes it a very efficient protocol to use.

45:37
Jaco
Cool, thanks, Brian. Any other technologies that you want to highlight?

45:47
Brian
So the whole edge driven way of doing things, specifically in the telemetry and water industry that we work a lot in, makes it.

45:58
Jaco
You’re referring to sort of remote field devices in the middle of nowhere kind of? Kind of thing?

46:05
Brian
Yeah, that type of thing else. So having an edge device in the field where you can do all your logic on and then just publish all that information to a broker, so that makes it very effective to implement. And there is definitely some cost savings involved with that as well. We’ve implemented quite a few applications like this now where the traditional stuff was a lot more expensive, so.

46:37
Grant
Yeah.

46:40
Jaco
Cool. Rob, any highlights for you or any specific technology or approach that you excited about?

46:49
Robert
Yeah, look, we’re very excited about MQTT. We are so excited just about mobility and design, just what we can do. And kind of just adapting to devices is the name of the game. Just being able to bring everything together in as standardized way as possible.

47:12
Jaco
Yeah. I know both you and Brahm, you’re currently busy with a couple of projects where the high performance design or the different design, I mean, something like situational awareness has been around, or the notion of it has been around for a very long time, but it seems like finally there is an acceptance and maybe it’s from a younger generation workforce as opposed to an older generation workforce. There is an acceptance of mobility. What it looks like on mobile, what it looks like. It definitely seems like there is a bit of a shift and more openness.

47:47
Robert
To that, definitely, which is great to see. And yeah, I think it’s definitely with the younger generations, but it’s coming through.

47:54
Grant
With all as well.

47:55
Jaco
Yeah, it doesn’t include me or probably.

47:59
Vinesh
Any of us, but let’s account to that. It’s not only the younger generation, because we now part of the global village and our leadership is also more mobile. So if your leader is trying to make deals in another country, but he needs to have his finger on the pulse of what’s going on. His manufacturing facility in South Africa, he needs to have access to it on his mobile device. If he needs to make commitment to a sale, he needs to see his inbound tree on his phone, possibly, and not say, let me come back to you in two days time, because the client probably wants to close the deal then and there.

48:26
Jaco
Yes.

48:26
Vinesh
So this mobility is becoming a different.

48:30
Jaco
Business advantage and again, instant decision making.

48:33
Braam
But I think if you get back to high performance design, that to me is actually, it’s not just the way your device would look like and so forth, but it’s also the information that you deliver. If that information that you deliver to the user that’s going to consume it is too much, it’s going to be difficult to make decisions. So it’s the ability to show that abnormalities, all of that, or this is what you need now to be able to make those decisions. And that to me is quite important to go into design. And also from outside, from a system integration perspective, is we also need to help customers with that, because sometimes they just say, no, I want everything. But we know for a fact that everything is going to not going to.

49:23
Vinesh
Help many by exception.

49:25
Jaco
Right?

49:25
Braam
Exactly.

49:25
Jaco
Too much is almost as harmful as not enough.

49:31
Robert
It’s just been so.

49:35
Vinesh
Contextualizing data for the right audience.

49:37
Jaco
Contextualized data, exactly. Grant, I’m going to ask you about edge to enterprise, specifically around maybe enterprise connectivity or the ability to provide data easily to and from enterprise systems. Maybe if you have a comment there or any other technologies that you want to highlight that you’ve been working with, you and the team.

50:03
Braam
Yes, thank you.

50:05
Grant
From my side, I think that the two things that we are really excited about first would be the mobility side. I think with everyone having a cell phone or a tablet all the time, the ability to see your plant information on in a way that actually scales to that resolution advantage.

50:34
Vinesh
Yes.

50:35
Grant
And with ignition responsive. Exactly. Going from a desktop view, you have the same view that’s showing maybe a pid process type of view, and then opening that same view onto a mobile device, the same screen that it adapts into something that you can view on a mobile device, is requirement for our customers, and they’re really excited about those kind of applications that we are creating for them. You said edge to enterprise. I think it is another thing. We are getting a lot of questions of how we integrate our SCADA system with other business and service orientated processes. They have organization like LUMs, CMMS system, ERP, mes, mis systems that are in place already.

51:30
Grant
And ignition has really made it easy for us to get that into those systems without a huge cost of having additional OPC servers or databases or other requirements that we’ve seen with other brands.

51:50
Jaco
So Alan Nipper, when he speaks about the democratizing of data bi directionally, he has a saying, he calls it tools on platforms are not coding on operating. And that’s a very important point. I have a question for Brian from Dylan. Dylan wants to know, Brian, what is the specific brand and model of edge gateway that you’re using?

52:17
Brian
We use the Moxa UC 8200 edge gateways with the ignition edge installed on that.

52:25
Jaco
The hiot?

52:27
Brian
Yes, the hiot.

52:29
Jaco
Cool. Perfect. Thanks, Brian. Let us know if you have any other questions on that. All right, so we okay for time? We have a couple of minutes to go. We may go a little bit over. So I think a couple of things that we’ve spoken about already in terms of providing a platform with the kind of capability that we’ve spoken about, we’ve already mentioned. But I almost want to replace the role of ignition as the unified, unlimited platform for skater and more, I almost want to replace that with the modern skater, the role of a modern Skater. And I think we’ve spoken through a couple of things already. I do wanted to. I think it was. Who was it? Grant. Grant mentioned ignition as an inclusive platform, not only the SCaDA, but almost an inclusive platform to provide bi directional context.

53:23
Jaco
I think that was an important one. We’ve spoken about the scalability, the ease of use, I think, is something that we haven’t spoken about, even though perspective presents potentially its own challenge in the sense of how different it is to designing and perspective. Something I want to kick off with Brahm, with you, is you’ve mentioned to us a couple of times, a comment you get quite often is you have perspective now. You have ignition, you have the scope of the unlimitedness, and then you get a question or a request. This is my screen. What it’s looked like for the past 20 years. I want it to look exactly like that. Can you maybe expand on that a little bit in terms of the expectation and how you try and sway a little bit of that thinking?

54:15
Braam
Well, normally it’s answered in a way like, but why do you want the same thing again? Why do you want us to go through this effort and giving you exactly what you had before? And that’s where we then start looking at more from a technology perspective and also the trends industry, situational awareness, high performance design, and start showing them some other options, what’s been developed, and also the reason why it’s done. It’s not just something that were sitting in the office and thought, hey, this is a good idea. Let’s do this. It comes from many different sources of where it’s been adopted and been used for very good reasons. And then that’s where we start, and then that’s how we try to convince the end user that this is the right way. And we’ve seen it every single time that we’ve done that.

55:17
Braam
That yes, it’s difficult for them to adopt, but change is a challenge. Change is for anybody is always a change, a challenge, but you have to manage that change. But after a while they go, wow, this is actually impressive. This really delivers what you said it’s going to deliver. So in terms of perspective, yes, it’s a completely different, I mean, I’m looking at my plant on a web page. That’s awesome. But it’s also how easy you can do that and design it. What we also found is that our younger engineers loves it. They absolutely love the way they do it. They’re familiar with what they’ve learned in university, the scripting languages, python and so forth. They also like the idea of having it on different platforms.

56:11
Braam
So that really does make it flexible in their essence where they’re like, okay, I don’t always have to do it on windows. I can actually do this on Linux, I can do it on iOS. So that to me is another big bonus. But coming back to we’ve always done it this way, it’s like, well, why.

56:34
Vinesh
Do you want to change?

56:36
Braam
That just doesn’t make sense. If you want to make change or if you want to do something differently or bring in a different product, look at what it can offer and design that way.

56:50
Jaco
So I know within your team it’s the younger guys that you’ve specifically tasked with developing perspective and building perspective because it is so different, it’s new, it’s powerful and they don’t necessarily have any preconceived or any predisposition around what it should be or what look like. And that’s why they’re very successful.

57:11
Braam
Yeah, so we specifically said that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to use the younger engineers which doesn’t have the experience of other products because they would learn this so much quicker. And then all that we will do is make sure that they understand the basics around automation and industrial platforms and so forth, but they need to deliver it with perspective or with ignition. And it’s been amazing. And what’s nice about that, the older guys that’s been used, been using other products and stuff like that. They go back to the younger guys and say, okay, how did you do this? I want to achieve this in my project. How did you do it?

57:50
Braam
And then it just creates that sense of wow, I’ve actually done something in the company for the younger guys, because I can show the older guys how to do this and then everybody just start collaborating and that’s how you build it, that’s how you get it out there.

58:09
Jaco
Grant, I know you’ve also, within your team, you’ve also had to take a different sort of approach to perspective and how you design that. We’ve spoken about sort of web designers and graphic designers and any comments around the use of perspective as well as the question of how we get around that. We’ve always done it that way and we’ve always used x and what that may be.

58:37
Grant
Look, I think in terms of designers, you say programmers of ignition, anything where you have someone that works with Python and is familiar with Python, not being familiar, so familiar with the automation environment, we’ve had to teach the same as what Brahmin said. We’ve had to teach the guys that have that type of experience in terms of the web design and Python, the automation side. And then also with the older engineers, we try and teach them the newer technologies. In terms of Python and web css, things look good within perspective is a total different way of developing. We have always used x. The phrases that we always hear, as mentioned earlier, is something that’s coming up. People entrench certain brands instead of having to look at solutions and technology. And I think it’s something that will change in the future.

59:46
Grant
We see that there’s definitely inroads and selling ignition and way that things that it can solve for our clients is fantastic. So we about it and we think that we can do a lot more.

01:00:04
Jaco
Cool. And I forgot to ask about inductive university. So it’s a celebrated learning platform. It’s probably the most intuitive and sort of accessible learning platform that we’ve seen. Grant, I know you’re probably further than me, I haven’t completed my inductive university yet, but I know your team, I mean a number of your team have been through inductive university as a first step, then followed by sort of face to face training. And it seems like that sequence of learning really works in terms of working through inductive university and then doing the face to face training, making it a lot more valuable with any questions that you may have sort of picked up through inductive university, would you agree with that?

01:00:52
Grant
Totally agree. I think that inductive university is an excellent learning platform. The free is even better and we’ve used it to upskill all our technical staff or as many as possible on the development solutions using ignition and new employees that come in on board. You make sure that this is the first thing that they do because it gives them not just the ignition, but how to do skater.

01:01:27
Jaco
What is a PLC.

01:01:30
Grant
What is a tag, what is trends and things like that. It gives them a good background or foundation. We’re also encouraging our clients also to upskill themselves because the technology and what ignition can do open to using this core solutions on their plant.

01:01:56
Jaco
Cool. Rob down. I see there’s a bit of a trend I can see going around the names around the horner. There’s definitely the younger guys within your companies that have really embraced rob, your perspective on perspective and the traditional questions and how inductive university has also.

01:02:22
Robert
I think we found that we’ve had to do a bit of legwork to get the buy into perspective, to get the kind of buy in and we’ve got to kind of show, we’ve got to kind of literally document it and what you’re going to be paying over the next while you’ve got to build something, what’s the difference? You got to build something and you got to show them before we get the buy in. But once we do, there’s no turning back. And that’s the beauty of it. And having the tools and the kind of training available in the IU, inductive university and so on, it’s just been awesome. We literally can almost, you can engage and you can understand people’s interests and kind of involvement in your business based on how far they get or how interested they are in it.

01:03:09
Robert
And if your clients, you can use the free tools available to really train everyone up. And it also just shows the open protocol and the open way of kind being, which is fantastic. And that’s something that we use as a tool to really promote ignition.

01:03:32
Jaco
Yeah, cool. And Brian, I know it’s probably the same with you looking at the team of engineers that you have working primarily on ignition.

01:03:41
Braam
Yeah, definitely.

01:03:42
Brian
We quickly realized that the traditional scalar developer is not going to find perspective easy or just start implementing it. So we had to upskill them and get them familiar with the platform and so on, which has worked and it’s worked fairly well for us. But then also we have to educate our clients. They want perspective because all of a sudden everything is responsive. You can display it on the desktop, on a tablet or on a cell phone or wherever, but they still have the traditional skater mentality or way of thinking and they don’t quite understand what perspective is and how different it is. So we need to educate them as well, specifically where they want to do the maintenance themselves afterwards, or they need to maintain certain stuff or build extra stuff onto it.

01:04:39
Brian
They need to understand what the complexities are and what the skill sets are that’s required to be able to develop perspective. But once that’s done and they do understand it, then it’s really good.

01:04:52
Jaco
Cool. Right, Brian, I’m going to say with you, this is the fun part of the presentation where you have to put your thinking cap and your prediction cap on. In terms of any closing thoughts, it could be anything, any predictions, any technologies, anything that you’re seeing, anything that we can look forward to over the next little while.

01:05:15
Brian
Yeah, I think having access to all your information remotely is still a big driver. I think that’s going to become more so in the future. Collecting of more and more data. People, I think at this stage, do collect the data, but they don’t necessarily change that into meaningful information at this stage. And I think there’s some work that needs to be done there transforming it. Transform that information, that data into information and report on that. There’s a lot of new stuff coming up in that space that I think could be very valuable for manufacturing companies, and so.

01:05:59
Jaco
Cool. Thanks, Brian. Rob, staying in the western cap?

01:06:05
Grant
Sorry.

01:06:05
Robert
Yeah, exactly. I think the demand is still, it appears to us to be increasing, despite what Vanessa said at the beginning in terms of moving towards a more digital system and moving towards more data and data utilization. So there’s definitely still a lot of movement there. And I think standardizing that using the technology is going to be so important and sticking to technology as well as the solution is important. So that’s kind of one of my takeouts, but yeah, look, there is resistance towards capital investment at the moment, but I think just making sure that you can get a really bang for your buck project and putting the right technology behind it is going to be the way forward. So I think people will be doing that.

01:06:57
Robert
I think there’s still very green lights at the end of the tunnel and big lights at the end of the tunnel there.

01:07:03
Jaco
Yeah. Especially when you’re talking about things like the horrific term that we have in our industry of rip and replace, the perception of the cost of rip and replace versus maybe another view of the necessity of it in certain cases, you don’t necessarily have to rip and replace. You could simply put a layer above that can fulfill the middleware role between your systems. You don’t necessarily have to rip and replace because whatever the action is that you think is best carries with it that requirement of showing the ROI. So that’s one rob, thank you very much. Appreciate your participation. Grant, any closing thoughts from you?

01:07:53
Grant
I wanted to agree with you in terms of that rip and replace. We’ve actually used ignition on the top of traditional DCS systems where maybe ignition is not the SCADA solution for them, but put it on for connection to their other systems, for dashboard, for training, mobility, uses where they want to see their from home. So I agree with that. We definitely don’t have to rip and replace. We can add ignition to the cost effective solution in the middle way. Do you think in terms of predictions for the future? I think with the implications of the pandemic from the manufacturers to adopt and fast track digitization, we’ll definitely be able to implement ignition. Those cases.

01:08:51
Jaco
I think it’s an exciting time. Despite everything that’s going on, it definitely is an exciting time with a lot of opportunity and I think with the correct vision, leadership, technology and the managing of people and the willingness to change, I think it’s definitely an exciting time for our industry where we can capitalize on some of the opportunities that Vanessa alluded to in the beginning. I’m looking at the front view. Brahm, any predictions, closing thoughts from you?

01:09:27
Braam
Well, talking about rip and replace, I don’t think that’s the only thing that we need to look at. I think the bigger opportunity lies in a lot of our manufacturing companies out there, you will find doesn’t even have a skater, they don’t even have an industrial platform that they can utilize and they haven’t digitized yet and they haven’t done it because of the cost. I’m sure that must be one of the biggest reasons. So I see a huge opportunity in that space where those type of customers can actually use this technology for their solutions and achieve exactly what the other bigger type of customers achieves.

01:10:17
Braam
So I think it’s actually a way for us to help manufacturing, or not just manufacturing, the whole industry, to be able to produce products more efficiently at the end of the day, and actually helping South Africa in that sense to uplift manufacturing using this technology. So it’s here now, it’s available, it’s been supported by element eight and it’s great. So I think that’s where the biggest opportunity lies.

01:10:50
Jaco
The ability to put down something digital that’s going to make a significant difference without the.

01:10:56
Braam
And it’s the scalability of the product. You can start really small, you can put it down an ignition edge and you can start building on top of that and scale out architecture. It just scales out and sitting at a very low entry point that you can get some value out and then from there on you can just keep on building and start as your business grow. The product can grow with your technology, can grow with it.

01:11:20
Jaco
Cool. Awesome. Thanks Bob. Any closing thoughts, predictions for you? Usually the one to deliver the big hitting questions and challenges that lie ahead and the big opportunities. Your thoughts and insights are always available. Anything from your side?

01:11:37
Vinesh
Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts on this as usual. So let me tap into what brass says. I think what you can call it is the democratization of technology is what I’m seeing, this democratization of data because now technology is so easy and affordably available to a plethora of manufacturers to help them all get that competitive advantage. But from a predictions point of view, if you look at the engagements we’re having with manufacturers and if you look at the large listed entities and look at the annual reports, we’re booming in manufacturing at the moment in South Africa because our borders limited supply chains have been.

01:12:13
Jaco
Keeping a captive market.

01:12:15
Vinesh
Yes, and they can’t keep up with demand in certain instances. So that’s we’re helping them sort out these supply chains. But that shows what is possible if we had our market, our price point sorted out and et cetera. And that leads me to the bigger question that from the research we did with business for South Africa last year were helping with the COVID response. They showed that Africa imports about 400 billion. Okay, let’s not quote full number but South Africa is a very huge number. But South Africa full exports is only about 5% of what Africa imports. In the rest of the world we are right on their doorstep. We can get the stuff there in ten days versus 45 days from our east and west comparators. So what is holding us back to export there?

01:13:01
Vinesh
Yes, we are a small country but the scale of Africa, 1.4 billion people, a growing middle class. Why can’t we become the China and India? So that’s where the opportunity lies for us. Our ceos need to move from survival and technical mode to be more strategic. Give the COO the role to worry about solving today’s problem. And the CEO should be looking at the opportunities cross border with the Africa Free Trade Agreement coming aboard. Why can’t we tap into that? Yes, with COVID Every african country wants to localize, grow their own economy. This whole vaccine drive now we’ve seen now 100 million vaccines be producing for Africa. Covid is producing a lot of opportunities. But why can’t we partner with other african countries, manufacture here, assemble locally together economies of scale, like what we do with our cars.

01:13:46
Vinesh
Most of the components of our cars are imported and we just assemble and re export. So those kind of models have been proven to work. Why can’t we be more creative in how we do things with south african manufacturers?

01:13:55
Jaco
Absolutely.

01:13:56
Vinesh
And that’ll help grow our economy. Because then we get a bigger market unit costs come down because our scale goes up, we get it faster to our target markets. And that’s why I think we’ve got a bright future. South Africa manufacturing. If we get those points in place.

01:14:11
Jaco
We have the clever people, we have the opportunity, we have everything available to us.

01:14:15
Braam
Absolutely.

01:14:16
Jaco
Yeah. I think to what we discussed just before went live, it’s about seeking excellence as opposed to being okay with mediocrity and being content with mediocrity and.

01:14:27
Vinesh
Have a positive outlook. Yeah. Negativity is not going to help us.

01:14:31
Jaco
Easiest thing in the world to be negative. It’s a lot easier being negative than positive. Yeah.

01:14:35
Vinesh
And if we have the positive outlook, we then go for it. Like that company I mentioned. They bet they lost 3 million rand before they went bust. And that’s. Look at them now. We need to have people courageous. The vision you mentioned. Yes. And then execute with a supporting team.

01:14:49
Jaco
Cool. Yeah, absolutely. Appreciate it. Manish, thank you so much for everybody for joining us. Brahm, thank you very much. Great you could be in person. We’re missing the folks from Cape Town and KZN. Hopefully next time we can all be together, it feels like this should be a more regular discussion and chat. Maybe we can put something like that together for the next podcast. To those of you watching and listening, hopefully you found it valuable. We do have one more question from Dylan. Dylan wants to know, does ignition have good alarm management feature? Dylan, it doesn’t have good alarm management feature. It has the best alarm management feature. But maybe I’m biased, but yes, it does provide for your standard kind of inscader alarming.

01:15:31
Jaco
It does also have a couple of modules that you can add on in terms of the logic and how you build out the alarming and the notification and everything else like that.

01:15:38
Braam
I can definitely say it’s got the best.

01:15:43
Jaco
Thanks, bro. So hopefully that’s good enough for you, Dylan. We can definitely share more details around that. So just in closing, I wanted to just talk about the ICC. Things that you will find valuable, hopefully. And that you should join the ICC as quite a vast virtual event hosted by inductive automation. One of the highlights, obviously, is the keynote. The keynote will take place this evening at 06:00. South african time. If you not available at 06:00 p.m. This evening, don’t worry, it will be available as a pre recording afterwards, but it’s always nice to catch it live. As per typical. The keynote is the highlight in terms of what is, some of the highlights around the technology, some of the amazing success stories that have come out of the community in terms of using ignition.

01:16:29
Jaco
And you also get to hear a little bit more about some of the strategic thinking around where inductive automation is thinking of going and where they’re pivoting. So the keynote is definitely one that you don’t want to miss. Another two sessions from South Africa is we alluded earlier, we alluded to Brian’s session around what they did at Oateswood and municipality with MQTT. That session is already available. You can go watch that right now. Some of the work that Brian, the team has done there is really intuitive and some amazing results for the customers. So that’s one not to miss.

01:17:04
Jaco
And then the other one was a recording that we did with Clover around ignition, the use of ignition, the selection of ignition and where they are now just over a year down the line in terms of implementing, and also a lot of praise there for the community and the system integrators and the work that the system integrators who are really the heroes in our story, some of the work that they’ve done there. So those are two sessions that you definitely want to go watch live right now. And then, of course, on Thursday, we have Supersoft. We didn’t even chat about mes today about Oee and track and trace. We didn’t really get into that. But Supersoft is obviously the flexible mes that’s built and designed for ignition.

01:17:48
Jaco
They have their event or conference kicking off on Thursday on the back of the ICC, and there’s a couple of sessions there that’s also valuable, including a live demo of their new batch and procedure module that’s available for ignition as well. So that was a mouthful. We’re a little bit overtime. Thank you for a little bit, about 20 minutes over time. Thank you for sticking with us. Hopefully you find that valuable. If there are any other questions, please send it through to us afterwards. I’m sure I know we would. Vanesh and the rest of the team, I’m sure we’d be happy to answer any specific questions that you have. But thank you very much for joining us and gentlemen online, Vanesh Braun, thank you so much for your time.

01:18:28
Vinesh
Thank you. Thank you.

01:18:29
Braam
Thanks Jaco. Thanks for the opportunity.

01:18:31
Robert
Thanks, guys.

01:18:32
Brian
Thank you very much.

01:18:33
Braam
Thank you, Jaco.

01:18:34
Jaco
And if what is ok, we’re sharing contact details. We’re going to make sure that we’re going to share the contact details with everybody that joined the session.

01:18:42
Vinesh
Cool.

01:18:43
Jaco
Thank you very much. Thank you for your time on. Have a good rest of your week. Be safe and look after each other. Thank you very much. Cheers.

01:18:50
Brian
Thank you. Cheers.