The questions that I’m asked regularly whilst travelling around the UK and Europe tend to be directed towards Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0. These typically take the following form:- What does Industry 4.0 mean for us, what is IoT and how can my business benefit from it, how do I know I’m making the right choice and is my direction of travel going to give me a competitive edge?
The combination of advanced manufacturing techniques with information technology and data analytics is driving these changes. In fact the 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is upon us - a gathering pace of technology disruption enabled by lower computing cost, storage costs, availability of cheaper bandwidth. However, the rate of disruptive technology adoption such as IoT, augmented reality, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are now transforming the heart of manufacturing. At the end of the day the real difficulty is understanding what does this all mean and how to gain experience from seeing the application of these new tools in the real world.
We have joined forces with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and leading IoT software provider, PTC, to answer these questions. In fact this fantastic establishment is down to the University of Sheffield having the foresight to push hard and turn an idea into reality. For ourselves we have focused on developing a group of real life applications where IoT can, and is, driving operational efficiency. Clients can touch and see for themselves that they don’t have to invest heavily in a solution that might be outdated within a few months. A fear that many have.
We have called this experience the Connected Factory it covers Asset Management & Maintenance, Process Technologies & Methods Management, Shop Floor Management, Inbound Inventory Management and importantly Environmental Health & Safety Management. We believe all of these to be relevant.
So how do we help?
We guide clients in developing their strategy, if asked, offer turnkey solutions that can realise immediate business improvement whilst working closely with client teams, ensuring a seamless handover throughout the whole engagement. However, agility in decision making and deployment is becoming a prerequisite and speed of reaction to changing market demands is often hampered by the ‘Day Job’. This is where I spend my time helping clients. Industry 4.0 and IoT enable access to the changing world, using the insight gained effectively is the key to success.
To find out more about the Connected Factory, watch this short video.