NEWSBYTE: Sensors, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IIoT) are critical components of a market that could add up to $2.2 trillion to the world economy by 2024, according to Capgemini.

That market is smart manufacturing, which many people associate with robotics.

However, a new Capgemini report, Smart Factories at Scale, warns that despite the size of the economic prize, only 14 percent of the 1,000 organisations surveyed describe their smart factories as successful.

The challenge is scaling programmes beyond the pilot phase, as companies encounter greater complexity than they had planned for, together with legacy technology and lack of skills.

At the crux of the matter are IT and operational technology convergence, and the need for employees to develop hybrid skills. Organisations are not investing fast enough in retraining their workforces, warns the report.

Security fears about exposing industrial plants to the internet or local networks are another real challenge. Nearly one-quarter of manufacturers have experienced a cyber-attack on connected systems in the last year.

Yet despite most organisations struggling in this space, a pack of front runners – roughly ten percent of the research sample – have successfully digitised their industrial systems.

The report says, “This elite group of companies make significant investments in the foundations (digital platforms, IT-OT convergence, talent, governance), and balance efficiency by design and effectiveness in operations, leveraging the power of data and collaboration.

“Organisations should identify where they are lagging behind and learn from the best practices of the front runners.

“To unlock the promise of the smart factory, organisations need to design and implement a strong governance programme and develop a culture of data-driven operations.”

So-called SIM-jacking or swapping attacks could pose serious risks to smart factories and other ‘Industry 4.0’ installations, it says, which could include facilities in the energy, oil, and gas sectors – including nuclear.

Compromising a SIM and pointing it towards a private network could allow hostile individuals or agencies to attack devices and prevent them from carrying out specific tasks.

Trend Micro says, “The cloud and management traffic of an enterprise passes through various security functions and up through the global IT cloud. This traffic then traverses the global telecom cloud, and then through public and non-public radio networks. There is no IT-visible security monitoring on this part.

“As 5G is enrolled to the next generation of operational technology (OT), these attacks will spread to enterprise equipment and devices that run on 5G SIM cards, and poses the ability to open doors to wider threats, including wiretapping, malware injections, large-scale fraud, poisoning of machine learning and supply chain attacks.

“As mobile devices are used for enterprise authentication, hijacked SIM cards can also give hackers access to a user’s enterprise email account as the hardware is said to be ‘trusted’. It means that they’ll be able to access all manner of corporate IP unknowingly.”