Understanding the importance of IoT connectivity and Industry 4.0: An interview with Aurélien Fabre from Belden

Aurélien Fabre Sales Director Western Europe

Aurélien is in charge of the sales team in Western Europe, leading a group of Solution Account Managers, Channel Account Managers and Inside Sales. Aurélien has a mechanical engineering degree, a Master degree in International Business in Toulouse and holds an Executive MBA from ESCP Europe in Paris.

For our second IoT Coffee Discussion we spoke to Aurelien Fabre from Belden. He tells us about all of the exciting products and technologies that Belden is working on in this area and what IoT connectivity means to him.

1. How did you get into your current role?

After being part of the launch of our Global Account approach for the past 3 years, it was an obvious move to help support the launch of our solution selling approach. This is a global initiative for Belden, who are embracing a sales transformation moving from a product sales approach to a business outcome & use case sales approach. The goal is to align closer to our customers and understand the use cases and KPIs that impact their business most. Belden acts as a trusted advisor and solution partner in our field of expertise i.e. ensuring your data is cyber secure so you can focus on your business, whether that’s producing more cars or making the energy grid more reliable and cyber secure.

2. How does your role involve you in the IoT connectivity/Industry 4.0 world?

At Belden, IIoT is part of every single discussion, it‘s in our DNA.. While this has been a buzz word as of late, we have been doing IIoT for years. We truly believe that our customers need more and more turnkey solutions. That’s why we have been developing a suite of services we can offer such as corrective, preventive and predictive services; it will allow our customers to remain focus on their core activities while relying on Belden for managing their data.

3. In your opinion, what’s the most exciting thing happening in IoT connectivity right now and why?

Covid has been accelerating things. The adoption and standardization of real time Ethernet is a boost for the growth of IIoT connectivity since more devices need to be connected at the same time while exchanging more and more data. We also see IT/OT convergence becoming a reality in the field. It is another area of challenge where Belden is able to support and advise our customers to benefit from as we understand both perspectives.

4. What new products and technologies is Belden working with/on?

Belden has always been leading in terms of innovation. If I would have to name a few it would be Single Pair Ethernet (SPE), Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) and 5G. One of our Belden values is “Customers define our success”. New products or technologies are driven with the mindset of helping our customers become more successful in their own business.

5. What do the terms “IoT connectivity” and “Industry 4.0” mean to you?

For us, IIoT connectivity means making the life of our customers easier. They are dealing with a large quantity of data and we need to help them select the right one to make better business decisions. Keep in mind, data is useless if it is not allowing our customers to increase productivity in a more reliable and safe way.

6. There are thousands of connected devices available. What’s your advice on selecting the right IoT connectivity/ Industry 4.0 solution(s)?

Belden believes in industry standards without pushing proprietary solutions. We are working with or are member of the most relevant standards organizations in our industry, including the IEEE (Institute of Electrotechnical and Electronics Engineers), the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and the OPC Foundation. Thus the right solution is a standard one.

7. What factors should a company consider when selecting the right technology for IoT?

IIoT needs to be standardized, so it can interoperate between platforms and vendors. IIoT also needs to be scalable, from a small installation that may be purposely constrained (e.g. if you have sensitive data) up to large-scale deployments of massive device input (e.g. sensors).

8. Why is choosing the right connectivity option so important?

IIoT is all about communication, so the connectivity option is one major force that determines what a device can do and if it fulfils requirements. For example, a big wireless interface may not be the optimal solution if you have a device that is cost constrained or works with an energy harvester, in that case the connectivity solution should have a small footprint.

9. Do you have any predictions as to how these technologies might evolve in the future?

Belden foresees that data transmission requirements will continue to grow massively over the next decade. Access technology from the field to the cloud needs to evolve quickly (see for example single-pair Ethernet taking on low-bandwidth fieldbus). If we look at data modelling, generalized data models will become increasingly more important and the role of organizations such as the OPC Foundation will become larger, as they are building universally interoperable data models that can be used by all companies.

Belden Inc. delivers a comprehensive product portfolio designed to meet the mission-critical network infrastructure needs of industrial and enterprise markets. With innovative solutions targeted at reliable and secure transmission of rapidly growing amounts of data, audio and video needed for today’s applications, Belden is at the centre of the global transformation to a connected world. Founded in 1902, the company is headquartered in St. Louis and has manufacturing capabilities in North and South America, Europe and Asia. To find out more about this exciting brand and some of the solutions that they provide click here.

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