22 June, 2024

Digital platforms high on the agenda for industrial manufacturers

27 March, 2018

When thinking about some of the technological sweet-spots that will increasingly define the future of industrial manufacturing, an increasing number of decision makers within the sector are citing Industry 4.0 (the fourth industrial revolution) as the big theme; one that also embraces other key digital concepts such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and smart manufacturing. Indeed, Infosys, provider of research and intelligence about the information technology (IT) and telecommunication sectors, has declared that in a mere two years’ time, digital platforms will support up to 30% of revenue and 60% of the manufacturers worldwide.

Infosys states that every commentary on the future of manufacturing talks of only one thing – its transformation impelled by digital trends such as 3D printing, robotic automation, cognitive computing, industry clouds, smart supply chains and, naturally, IIoT. It adds that “the already blurry lines between operational technology and IT will be all but erased as the two integrate even more tightly”. Therefore, it would appear that it is not so much a question of what lies ahead as to one more focused on to what extent and how fast will individual companies’ adoption become.

With these issues in mind, Infosys has published a research report titled, Digital Outlook for the Industrial Manufacturing Industry. It highlights how digital technologies deployed at organisations are improving existing operations, solving new problems and creating new opportunities. Infosys commissioned independent market research company Vanson Bourne to undertake the research to better understand the use of digital technologies and key trends within nine different sectors. From October to December 2017, the quantitative and qualitative subset of the study was carried out, interviewing 1000 senior IT and business decision makers in organisations that use digital technologies. Respondents were from organisations with 1000 employees or more and US$500 million global annual revenue or higher across verticals sectors such as industrial manufacturing, automotive, life sciences, retail, utilities. CPG, healthcare, banking and insurance.

The report polled IT and business decision makers in the industrial manufacturing industry as part of a global survey to discover the opportunities presented by new digital technologies.

According to the industrial manufacturing companies surveyed, better cyber security (68%), using AI and automation in the back office (45%), and supplying directly to consumers through e-commerce (45%) are the most commonly reported trends for the next three years which will make a positive impact on their organisation.

Cyber security (73%), big data analytics (65%), enterprise cloud (61%), and AI (54%) are the four digital technologies being utilised the most by manufacturing companies today.

Industrial manufacturing enterprises plan to invest in digital technologies in the coming 12 months. IoT (71%), 3D printing of spare parts (68%), AI/OCR (optical character recognition) for vendor and staff contract management (67%), and cyber security (67%) have already received investments from most companies who consider them a trend for the coming three years. A majority of respondents said that their organisation could improve both existing skills and technologies in preparation for implementing the top trends of 2018 and beyond.

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