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4.0 Interview 13.07.21

Interview with Christophe Laurence, IBM

The physical world and the digital world must evolve together, which represents a major challenge for manufacturers.

IBM has built a bridge between these two worlds by focusing on technological innovation and digital transformation. The FabLab was created at the IBM France headquarters in Bois-Colombes. This space is dedicated to the development of innovative solutions for manufacturers.

We met with Christophe Laurence, Business Development Executive at IBM’s FabLab, to learn about his vision of Industry 4.0.

 

Industry on the path of change in the face of social and environmental demands

A changing external environment

The observation made by Christophe Laurence is as follows: the industry is currently facing multiple changes. Indeed, consumer needs have evolved. This phenomenon, amplified by the Covid19 crisis, reveals a need for change on several fronts on the part of manufacturers.

New issues are now being taken into account, such as environmental protection and eco-responsible production, among others. Manufacturers are increasingly working with local partners to better respect the environment and develop the industrial fabric. For Christophe Laurence, industry also plays a societal role.

At the same time, the sector, which is seeking to renew itself, is struggling to recruit. As Christophe notes, the industry sector has difficulty attracting young candidates, which accentuates the slowdown in the face of change. Industrialists must therefore find new ways to attract new profiles.

“The factory is not seen as a destination for the new generations”

It is in this context that industries must lead their digital transformation, which becomes a response to performance, societal and environmental issues.

The business challenges facing manufacturers

Christophe Laurence’s role at IBM’s FabLab is to provide companies with offers in the field of Industry 4.0. Specialized in technologies and innovation, he is led, in his daily work, to understand the problems of industrialists in order to answer them as precisely as possible.

Christophe’s objective: to propose adaptable and scalable solutions to meet the needs of customers and their business challenges, but also to win the support of users.

FabLab: where industry meets the digital world

The purpose of the Fablab is to create a link between digital technology and industry. In this space, IBM teams, along with partners, recreate real factory conditions in order to understand and optimize its processes through innovations.

The Fablab aims to be as close as possible to the industrial environment. Thus, we find in the premises machines such as filling machines, an autonomous robot, and automats from different manufacturers that can be found in a factory. The digital tools that are made available allow “better understanding, diagnosis and anticipation of the tasks of the employee and the technicians”.

Zozio in the IBM FabLab

IBM is partnering with key players in the world of the connected factory to develop innovative solutions. A concrete example: the integration of Zozio’s solution within the IBM FabLab.

Zozio’s solution is a customizable and easy-to-configure platform that relies on badges placed on industrial equipment, which are then located in real time.

The solution optimizes flows and inventories, improves equipment traceability and facilitates employee work by freeing them from repetitive tasks.

The Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms integrated into the solution allow for predictive analysis of logistics, incident management and anomaly detection. The solution can also be coupled with other innovations to ensure visibility on all industrial processes.

The collaboration between IBM and Zozio

The objective of the collaboration between IBM and Zozio is to test the start-up’s solution and then integrate it into the group’s offer. To do this, Zozio’s platform and geolocation badges were tested in the FabLab.

The integration of Zozio is well underway, since its deployment on industrial sites will allow, according to Christophe Laurence, a “strong return on investment.”

Agility and adaptability: key elements of performance

Each industrial sector, each site and each company has different needs,” emphasizes the Business Developer Executive.

Zozio is one of the companies that offers an agile solution thanks, in particular, to its reactivity in developing and implementing it. This is a strength for a company that adapts its offer by proposing a targeted response for each customer.

In terms of performance, one of the themes addressed in the FabLab is connectivity for the agility of production lines. Zozio is an integral part of this by its fight against logistic friction and for the optimization of flows within the factory.

The factory of tomorrow: connected and human-oriented

For the future, Christophe Laurence likes to imagine a “pleasant” factory where work is enjoyable. “Industry must modernize for the benefit of employees,” he says.

The collaboration between Zozio and IBM in the FabLab illustrates the willingness of innovative companies to adapt to the needs of industry and to put people at the heart of the factory.

Christophe Laurence is pleased and says he is “happy with the collaboration with Zozio“.

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