BT engineers ABB’s new digital network infrastructure

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In June 2020, ABB announced a new operating model called “ABB Way”. In the announcement it said, A key element of ABB’s strategy to create superior value is the ongoing decentralization of the business model. ABB has successfully discontinued its longstanding matrix organization over the last 18 months, with more responsibility shifted to the four business areas of Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion and Robotics & Discrete Automation.”

The full announcement can be found here on the ABB website: ABB: Our Way forward.

EITN sends in some questions, which are answered below by BT, the party appointed by ABB to internationally manage its communications infrastructure.

EITN: What work has BT done before with ABB on their internationally managed communications infrastructure?

BT: BT’s relationship with ABB dates back to 2012 when the global engineering giant first deployed BT’s conferencing solution. This initial successful deployment was followed by a comprehensive global networking infrastructure contract in 2014. While mainly a network deal, the contract also included products and services supporting collaboration, cloud infrastructure and security, including management of 400 firewalls and the provision of cyber protection and analytics services to protect ABB’s network and IT systems against threats.

EITN: Can you share about the footprint (scale and location) of ABB’s managed communications infrastructure?

BT: Working with ABB’s Information Systems team, BT will now transform the network infrastructure to create a sustainable, resilient and secure core platform featuring a highly automated and data-driven managed service. The communications infrastructure will reliably and securely connect people, devices and machines at over 600 facilities in 60 countries. It covers the major markets in the Asia-Pacific region, including, for example, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Using the latest software-defined networking technology, it will offer ABB a choice of connectivity options for each site, including 5G access.

EITN: The press release states, “It will deploy, manage and monitor over 1,100 end-point devices, continuously verifying every device, user and application accessing the network.” Can we have some idea of these end-point devices, their functions and contribution to business goals?

BT: End-points are devices such as LAN switches and WLAN access points. The devices are the enablers to allow ABB to manage their workspace, workplace and factories dependent on use cases.

EITN: Could you share further about the co-innovation fund – what are areas that the fund will enable and KPIs it hopes to achieve?

BT: The co-innovation fund will identify, deliver and support innovation and co-creation around the communications infrastructure. It will focus on emerging technologies that have the potential to support ABB on their cloud journey and to make it a more agile and simple business.