Internet of Business's comprehensive guide to where Industry 4.0 will lead manufacturers in the year ahead. Most manufacturers believe they are leading their markets in Industry 4.0 technologies, despite evidence to the contrary. There is a huge gap between the many companies that are exploring digital manufacturing strategies – via technologies such as automation, robotics, AI, and the Internet of Things – and those that are implementing them successfully. With Brexit looming, many manufacturers and solutions providers fear what this will mean for the wider European industrial community, which depends on the free movement of people and confident investment. The UK Budget recently sought to soften this blow by reinforcing the UK's commitment to a strong environment for international scientific collaboration. As part of this investment in R&D, the government will increase the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund by £1.1 billion, supporting technologies of the future. This includes up to £121 million for the Made Smarter initiative to support the transformation of manufacturing through digitally enabled technologies, such as the Internet of Things and virtual reality.
As manufacturing businesses are increasingly on the lookout for opportunities to boost automation, it is clear that big data and machine learning are set to revolutionize the future of production. Companies are already collecting huge amounts of data from various resources, including industrial machinery, and monitoring precise details of the production process in the hope of improving quality at every stage. When companies have gathered enough of the right data, predictive technologies can allow businesses to manage the servicing of machinery based on sensor data and advanced analytics, rather than on a fixed schedule. For a piece of machinery or an autonomous vehicle, for example, these technologies can help predict when and how they are likely to break down. Businesses can then service the equipment before it starts to be a problem and generate losses.
Sensors and their data are now ubiquitous in the industrial setting, providing real-time information on processes, efficiency and safety. Yet too few organizations are able to fully capture, manage and analyze those torrents of data -- let alone translate that information into real insights or bottom-line business value. To prosper in the emerging digital economy, industrial firms must embrace and master the internet of things (IoT). But what exactly is IoT? Ask a dozen manufacturing or industrial specialists to describe it, and you will likely get at least a dozen definitions.
IDC recently released a report, "IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Manufacturing Predictions 2018," surveying the global manufacturing landscape. When creating its predictions the firm examined ecosystems and experiences, greater intelligence in operational assets and processes, data capitalization, the convergence of information technology (IT) and operations. Most of the group's predictions refer to a continuum of change and digital transformation (DX) within the wider ecosystem of the manufacturing industry and global economy.