2022 Thought Leaders: Paul Calabro

Madison Connectivity Solutions

Wednesday, 30 November, 2022


2022 Thought Leaders: Paul Calabro

What opportunities do you predict for the growth of your industry in 2023?

The sustained expansion of Industry 4.0 brings the integration of digital technology into all areas of business and is driving the convergence of information technologies (IT) and operational technologies (OT).

Historically, these two environments have operated quite separately. However, the need for data-driven decision-making is blurring the lines between OT and IT and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is digitally transforming business around the world. IIoT infrastructure is a critical requirement for any IT/OT convergence strategy, with these technologies largely responsible for collecting, transmitting and processing IT and OT system data.

Many businesses within the industries that Madison Technologies supports, including power and water utilities, resources, transport, smart cities and infrastructure, are either beginning implementation, have pilots underway or are committed to learning more about the adoption of these technologies, so there is great opportunity for us to support these customers on their digital transformation journeys.

How are you making your company more resilient to ongoing global supply chain issues?

As a solutions-focused company backed by global technology brands, we continue to work closely with our customers to understand their current and future demands for technology solutions. This insight directly from our customers helps identify the areas we need to focus on as a business, and we continue to enhance our own supply chain through digitalisation.

As with many businesses around the world, we’ve moved away from the ‘just in time’ supply model, and we’ve been expanding our in-country inventory. We continue to have a mix of emerging technology opportunities and our ‘Maintain, Repair, Operate (MRO)’ day-to-day stock capability is critical to ensuring we can support our customers.

Additionally, continually deepening our partnership with our suppliers and collaborating on project opportunities enables us to advance lead time commitments and reduce the customer’s maximum waiting time.

Following the extreme weather events of 2022, how can critical communications be better deployed to manage similar events in future?

Critical communications and networks enable all of us to stay informed during extreme weather events. Be it first responders staying in contact with each other, the public staying informed through emergency services communications, or friends and family wanting to know the health and safety of their loved ones, we’re all wanting to stay connected.

It is evident that critical communications infrastructure needs to evolve. Across all emergency scenarios, a successful response relies on accurate real-time situational awareness combined with accessible and reliable communications. We see the need for mobile and fixed communication technologies such as cellular, satellite and mesh to be deployed and seamlessly work together to provide always-available communications. This uptime of critical communications is vital to managing environments with changing situations resulting from extreme weather events.

With mobile wireless mesh solutions, emergency teams can arrive at a location and, within minutes, have a secure, multichannel, broadband network up and running, capable of sharing video, audio and data between all invested parties. As the climate changes and extreme weather events become more frequent, these technology solutions will have a crucial role to play in supporting the emergency response.

The team at Madison Technologies has been applying our specialist understanding of critical operational environments to create solutions for use during weather events. Our FloodNode solution has recently received recognition as part of Cisco’s Global Digital Sustainability Challenge. Incorporating IIoT technologies, when deployed, the predictive warning system will allow road users to make an informed decision to either continue their journey (if there are alternatives) or turn around, reducing the number of road users caught out in flooding scenarios.

What are the biggest challenges or threats facing your industry in 2023?

As we’ve recently seen in the news, cybercrime is on the rise in Australia. This poses a significant threat to the sectors our customers are in. According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), cybercrime in Australia has increased by 13% YOY from 2020 to 2021, and a higher proportion of incidents were categorised by the ACSC as ‘substantial’ in impact. When it comes to cybercrime, the most common industry targets are financial services, education and health; however, the ACSC report found that one in four incidents targeted critical infrastructure and services.

The IT/OT convergence provides many benefits; however, connecting operational technology can leave security gaps, and this is creating more paths for attackers to enter and more opportunities for cyber disruption. The first step towards cyber resilience is visibility of the network and assets, shifting the dial from reactive incident response to proactive management.

Attackers around the world no longer view IT and OT as distinct, partitioned environments, so it is important going forward that both IT and OT security are aligned.

Over the past four years, Paul has headed up the industrial communications-focused Madison Technologies business, as it connects and protects people, assets and the environment by providing technology solutions that digitally transform critical operational environments.

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