There are four areas of technology related to data that manufacturers predict will play a greater role in their business in the next three years. The most popular is big data and customer insight analytics, with 28% of respondents wanting to bring it in. Artificial intelligence and machine learning is in the pipeline for 26% of respondents, followed by automation and robotics which is on the horizon for one in four manufacturers.
Finally, internet of things is an area of technology that is on the brink for 24% of the 252 respondents surveyed as part of the Harnessing Brexit, Technology and Insight report carried out by Sheffield Hallam University and SSG Insight. It also states that 93% of manufacturers in Britain are making use of live data to some extent, primarily to optimise products and ensure the consistent quality.
The report looks into innovation as a global strategy and the way that "Industry 4.0" is being put into action, in the context of an uncertain environment for the manufacturing industry with the upcoming Brexit departure. Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is the coming together of advanced digital technologies such as internet of things and cloud computing, and advanced physical technologies such as automation and robotics to form a greater cyber-physical system.
"Futureproof by utilising live data and advanced analytics."
Industrial automation and control engineering expert Dr Hongwei Zhang, one of the co-authors of the report, said that Industry 4.0 provides an opportunity for British manufacturers to prepare for future advancements and maintain a competitive edge. He said: “It’s vital that manufacturers seek to futureproof their businesses as far as possible, utilising live data and advanced analytics to unlock the potential for greater automation and AI within production plants.”
"The adoption of innovative data management will ensure global competitiveness."
Jon Moody, chief product officer at SSG Insight, also a co-author, commented on the way that the rapid acceleration of technology is seen a challenge and disruptor of the manufacturing industry currently. He went on to say: “The adoption of technologies such as AI, robotics, automation, 3D printing and innovative data management, will ensure British manufacturers can reap the benefits of Industry 4,0 and become more globally competitive.”