What is the smart factory? In simple terms, it is the aspirational concept of a digitally transformed factory or warehouse. It is a cyber-physical ecosystem of virtualized and connected assets, people, and processes that constitute the manufacturing platform of the 4th industrial revolution that is Industry 4.0. One of the great expectations of 5G is that it will bring a new level of flexibility to the shop floor of a Smart Factory, allowing a growing number and range of mobile autonomous robots and vehicles to safely operate and coexist with humans in a manufacturing environment. The net expected outcome is the transition of today's static production models toward highly dynamic and software-defined production models.
And that's largely correct, in many cases, but it's increasingly not the whole story – IoT endpoints are getting closer and closer to the ability to do their own analysis, leading to simpler architectures and more responsive systems. It's not the right fit for every use case, but there are types of IoT implementation that are already putting the responsibility for the customising their own metrics on the devices themselves, and more that could be a fit for such an architecture. There are three main areas where letting the endpoint do its own data analysis – in whole or in part – is becoming increasingly common – smart cities, industrial settings and transportation. In smart cities smart cameras can do certain kinds of analysis right there on the device, helping planners understand pedestrian and motorised traffic patterns. The difference between doing analytics completely on an endpoint device or partially on a device is an important one, according to Gartner research vice president Mark Hung.
According to the World Bank, in 2017 (the latest year data are available) the worldwide manufacturing economy added $13.17T in value to the global GDP. Various sources estimate that anywhere from 4 percent to 20 percent of manufacturing capacity is lost to unplanned downtime (depending on the particular company and industry). Choosing a conservative 5 percent number averaged across all companies and industries means that the $13T number is 5 percent lower than it otherwise might be - an astonishing $693B in global productivity lost to unexpected maintenance issues for manufacturers. Reducing that number even slightly has huge potential benefits to the world's economy. Of course, manufacturers have always worked to minimize equipment failures resulting in unplanned downtime and have developed multiple techniques and processes along the way to mitigate the impact.
Worker-Centric Workplaces in Smart Factories (FACTS4WORKERS.EU) is a project coordinated by VIRTUAL VEHICLE in the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission within the Factory of the Future P PP. The vision of FACTS4WORKERS is to leverage the large potential added value of manufacturing data, information and knowledge in a worker-centred way to achieve worker empowerment, resulting in higher worker satisfaction and increased worker productivity. It is the high ambition of our project to create "FACTorieS for WORKERS" (FACTS4WORKERS), therefore a serious effort will be put into integrating already available IT enablers into a seamless & flexible Smart Factory infrastructure based on worker-centric and data-driven technology building blocks. As FACTS4WORKERS is underpinned by a clear human-centric approach: usability, user experience and technology acceptance are of the utmost project interest. FACTS4WORKERS will develop and demonstrate workplace solutions that support the inclusion of increasing elements of knowledge work on the factory floor.
It's impossible to get a PS5, your iPhone is on backorder, and no one's seen a graphics card in the wild in months. It seems like no matter what kind of electronic gadget you're looking for, it just can't be found. What in the world is going on? The short answer is a global chip shortage caused by a confluence of factors ranging from the ongoing pandemic to geopolitical tension and, as always, some crypto nonsense. The long answer is ... complicated.