IoT (Internet of Things), the convergence of IT and OT, rapid application development, digital twin simulation models, cyber-physical systems, advanced robots and cobots, additive manufacturing, autonomous production, consistent engineering across the entire value chain, thorough data collection and provisioning, horizontal and vertical integration, the cloud, big data analytics, virtual/augmented reality and edge computing amidst a shift of intelligence towards the edge (artificial intelligence indeed): these are some of the essential technological components of the fourth industrial revolution. Those are quite a lot of terms and components indeed. Yet, Industry 4.0 is a rather vast vision and, increasingly, vast reality that also stretches beyond merely these technological aspects. It is an end-to-end industrial transformation. What makes it all the more fascinating (and at first sight complex) is that convergence of two worlds which have been disconnected thus far: Information ...
General Electric has unveiled new research at its Minds Machines event being held this week in San Francisco, which highlights an emerging gap between executive outlooks for digital transformation and the industrial IoT initiatives that their companies have so far put in place. GE's new survey of IT and operational decision makers shows a worrying gap between thoughts and deeds on industrial IoT (IIoT). In short, while bosses view IIoT as presenting them with significant opportunities for future growth and competitiveness, the vast majority are not taking the actions needed to reap the benefits. According to the survey, four out of five respondents believe that the IIoT will or could be transformational to their companies and industries – but at the same time, only eight percent describe digital transformation as "ingrained" in their business. In a more encouraging sign, only one in ten say their companies do not have a digital transformation plan in place.
Seamless data sharing is often touted as one of the most crucial elements of any IoT applications. In industrial environments, especially, with the a vast range of conventional devices, processes, and operations working in tandem with the help of a variety of communications protocols, seamless data sharing takes precedence when it comes to earlier planning, designing, as well as the implementation of new products or technologies. When not managed well, industrial data sharing becomes a complex issue and often emerges as the key factor to result in the need to halt IoT projects even before they start.
Innovation is a multifaceted topic, and a versatile one at that. Larry Keeley, an innovation strategist at Deloitte Doblin, defines innovation simply as "the creation of a viable new offering."1 It can mean many things--it can be directed toward meeting a customer need; it should sustain itself and return value to the company; it is new to a market or industry; and it should extend beyond products to ways of doing business and even new forms of engagement with customers. That being said, it takes a nuanced approach to understand what innovation--with all its complexities--exactly means in the industrial manufacturing industry. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, innovation is steeped in technology, and advanced technology is the underpinning of the digital enterprise.