With a pressing demand for an agile, resilient & flexible environment in manufacturing, Remote Operation Centres are a trend that is here to stay. With isolated plant locations and harsh operating conditions, remote operation & monitoring centers were initially preferred by the Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Power, and Mining industries. But an ongoing global pandemic and economic pressures have now forced all manufacturing enterprises to rethink their approach around safe and cost-effective plant monitoring, plant maintenance, and operations coupled with location flexibility for workers, making Remote Operation Centers a necessity.

So What are Remote Operations Centers or Central Monitoring Centers & why are they relevant for manufacturing?

Touted as the plant’s command center, Remote Operation Centers are central locations housing your senior plant engineers, subject matter experts, and other qualified personnel that enable 

  • Diagnosing and analyzing any issue;
  • Addressing the alarm and identifying the root cause; and
  • Assisting/Instructing on-site issue resolution where needed

With production & machine data accessible anywhere, anytime through various cutting-edge technologies like IoT, AI, AR, etc., many manufacturing job functions traditionally found on the production premises are now being reimagined as remote functions, residing in a central corporate office from a separate location. Some examples of these functions can be:

  1. Maintenance Supervisors: With machine health metrics available in real-time through a predictive maintenance-led system, the supervisors can remotely inspect the machine’s health and resolve any issues through the on-site operators.
  2. Subject Matter Experts: One of the most valuable members of your workforce, their time is precious. With technologies like AI for plant monitoring, Augmented Reality & Digital Twins, they can resolve issues quickly without actual facility visits. Example: A Subject Matter Expert in charge of 3 geographically distributed power plants will not need to keep running between each facility to check for an issue with the generator, in case it stops working. All generator health parameters with their history in real-time can be accessed at the remote operations center. This can help him find the root cause and resolve the issue quickly.
  3. Plant Engineers: While historically plant engineers would diagnose problems based on in-person inspections, with a 360-degree view of connected plant assets and a system that tracks the relevant machine health parameters continuously, they can efficiently work from a remote monitoring center, ensuring that plant performance is not compromised.

Hence, with a connected factory set-up, manufacturing operations can be handled by the tactical operators on-ground, while the supervising, planning & strategizing can seamlessly take place remotely. 

Why should we opt for an AI solution for the Remote Operations Centers?

The backbone of a Remote Operations Center is the vast amount of machine & production data generated & captured every second. Manufacturing gathers around 1840 PB of data every year globally, more so than any industry. The quantum of data & its criticality makes manufacturing a very apt candidate for AI. We discuss why AI is a good fit for manufacturing & the most ROI-deriving use cases in detail here.

Here is how an AI solution can dramatically enhance the performance of your Remote Operations Center:

  1. No misses: AI ensures that all the collected data is processed continuously without missing any critical insights or data points. On the other hand, a manual team of around 20 members can analyze at most 10-15% of the overall data, making the chances of an error much higher. When the same remote team handles remote operations for multiple plants, the possibility of something getting missed is also higher. With AI, all data is monitored 24*7 continuously.

2. Improved Productivity & Efficiency: An AI-based solution can help the team distinguish genuine issues from a barrage of thousands of false alarms triggered every day. With AI handling the mundane or repetitive alarms, subject matter experts can focus their attention where it is needed, increasing productivity & efficiency like never before.

To understand this, consider the example of an AI-based customer support center.  These support centers also have a central team, which they call to address critical or unique issues like technical, billing, etc. According to an industry survey, AI-enabled conversational agents will handle 20% of all customer queries by 2022. This, in turn, means that every human customer support executive who earlier could handle 100 calls in a day can now take 120 calls, leading to more productivity & efficiency. 

Similarly, for manufacturing, the remote teams can focus their energy on resolving the issues that might cause machine failure or downtime instead of triaging false alarms.

3. Prescriptive Diagnosis: Diagnosing the anamoly is only half the solution, but prescribing a course of action through a remote facility becomes nerve-wracking for your remote monitoring center engineers. AI helps cut down the efforts in triaging these alarms with its inbuilt domain expertise & learning from previous experiences that are useful in solving an issue before it causes downtime, which is the essence of predictive maintenance. Learn how an advanced AI application like UptimeAI can take your predictive maintenance strategy to the next level.

4. Knowledge Management of Subject Matter Expertise: Subject Matter Experts leaving & retiring causes a considerable slump in your manufacturing output, especially for plant operations. AI can help here by being a knowledge bank of domain expertise through its interactions with the subject matter experts, making the learnings available to the enterprise even after they are gone. It can also help with training the new workforce. Here is how AI can help bridge the talent gap at organizations.


The rationale behind remote operation centers is to streamline plant operations & maintenance to create resilient, sustainable, lean teams that can ensure better productivity & efficiency for both workforce & assets for the manufacturer. An AI system ensures that they can deliver on all of these criteria while ensuring that no anomaly in data, however small it might be, is ever missed. 

So while your remote operations center is a start in the direction of lean & sustainable manufacturing, having an AI system in the mix can make you speed up towards your destination, making both your remote & on-site teams high-performing & efficient.

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