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Security challenges in the manufacturing industry as COVID wreaks havoc

Security challenges in the manufacturing industry as COVID wreaks havoc
COVID-19 induced security challenges in the manufacturing sector can be categorized into two types. Unfortunately, there is very little time to deal with them.
Security solutions to help the manufacturing sector function are available in the market, but that doesn’t mean the challenges ahead of customers and vendors are all sorted. According to Bruce Montgomery, Business Development Leader at Honeywell Building Technologies, one of the biggest challenges that remain is how to get people back into the building and then once there, how to provide a safer, more secure, and efficient environment.
“Step one of the process is typically performing an initial temperature screening upon arrival and entry, but it’s important for the process to remain
honeywell, factory security
Bruce Montgomery
Business Development Leader
Honeywell Building Technologies
efficient, with minimal interruption to an employee’s normal routine,” Montgomery said. “Honeywell can automate the temperature screening process to allow for 20-30 people per minute to enter one entrance safely. Next, it’s important to look at how to maintain the current recommendations of social distancing and PPE compliance within the building.”
Speaking on a similar note, Jack Wu, Project Manager at Merit LILIN, said that factories usually need to integrate with the access control system, the fire linkage system, the central control display of various equipment, and the query and recall of events. Integrating such different solutions to work together seamlessly remains a significant challenge for the industry. Wu pointed out that integrators can overcome this challenge through the LILIN NAV video server and the central control system with IO BOX and Aida system.

COVID restrictions in manufacturing plants

Access to the sites is another major barrier as many manufacturing plants have made it difficult for people to enter and exit the sites, to limit risks. While restrictions are necessary, it does make installations difficult.
“Complying with the restrictions associated with minimum numbers of people on-site, while implementing and testing new solutions and technologies with the integrators is challenging,” said Johan Akesson, Director of Business Development for Industry and Critical infrastructure at Axis Communications. “Remote access to equipment - such as intelligent cameras – allows configuration and fine-tuning to be done off-site. However, progress towards a higher level of digitalization is being constrained by budget cuts. Many companies are putting developments on hold, which means that adoptions of new solutions to overcome challenges are slowing down.”

Challenges beyond technology

Interestingly, so much of the challenge is not around the technology, but how to leverage advanced intelligence and technology to find creative ways to solve the problems these facilities face. There may be privacy or operational concerns that must be navigated as solutions are implemented. For example, an organization may not want their canning machine networked for fear of a breach. There may even be concerns that investing in a COVID-19 solution may not be worth it as it may become useless once a vaccine is found. 
“So, it becomes integral for both manufacturers and integrators to incorporate each client’s concerns and evaluate challenges to customize their approach,” explained Stuart Rawling, VP of Technology and Customer Experience at Pelco. “There’s no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solution that will address each facility’s needs. The rise in COVID-19 cases or outbreaks in more of these 'essential' businesses (like manufacturing or food processing) means that this becomes even more crucial, as the operational procedures differ from facility to facility — and can even differ within a single facility and operating environment.”

To sum up, a combination of movement restrictions and the need to think out of the box with available solutions could be the two major challenges that the security industry faces in the manufacturing sector. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has given the world very little time to think things through. But since the pandemic may not be over anytime soon, the industry must continue efforts to get the right combination of security solutions in place to help manufacturing businesses survive. 
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