Editor's comment: Disruptive megatrends influencing industry in 2019...

Author : Mark Gradwell, Editor, EPDT

03 January 2019

EPDT IoT & Industry 4.0 supplement January 2019
EPDT IoT & Industry 4.0 supplement January 2019

Welcome to EPDT’s IoT & Industry 4.0 supplement. Whether you call it IoT (or IIoT, for its industrial flavour), Industry 4.0 (or Industrie 4.0 in Germany, where the term originated), smart factories, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) or some other synonym – this area continues to be a hot topic.

This editorial was originally featured in the January 2019 issue of EPDT magazine. Read the digital issue or sign up to receive your own copy.

Some engineers are tired of hearing these over-used terms – but they’re not going away, with electronics being integrated into anything and everything to provide (smart) sensing capabilities, connectivity and intelligence.

Industry, government and the media have been talking about these topics for years, but it does feel like we are now starting to see more implementation and real products – and this will surely accelerate as 5G rolls out, underpinning the communications infrastructure necessary to really deliver on many of the applications that have been envisioned.

Writing for business magazine, Forbes earlier this year, Shailendra (Shelly) Singh, Chief Operating Officer at research and advisory firm, MarketsandMarkets outlined five technology megatrends she believes will disrupt every industry over the next five years. Alongside artificial intelligence (#1), blockchain (#3), big data and analytics (#4) and 3D printing (#5), IoT still made the list, at #2. Shelly noted that IoT is revolutionising the way organisations across all industries interact with their customers, achieve operational efficiency and optimise business outcomes – although she called out concerns around data security and privacy.

Shelly also recognised that IoT is frequently combined with other elements of her list, defining it as an interconnected system of various devices and sensors that communicate via internet protocols. She said that, combined with on-device data processing and analytics (also known as edge computing), IoT is creating a whole host of new possibilities with applications such as face recognition, object detection and collision avoidance. When combined with AI, Shelly pointed out, IoT is enabling data analytics related to vehicle-to-everything (commonly known as V2X), helping enhance decision making for greater functionality and safety in autonomous vehicles.

Meanwhile, Darragh McMorrow, Commercial Director at industrial systems integrator, SL Controls, identified seven Industry 4.0 trends that he believes will influence manufacturing in 2019:

  1. Factory automation (often integrating legacy systems and platforms with new equipment and technologies)
  2. Virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) – for instance, for product design and prototyping, production line development or technical support
  3. Digital Twin (an exact virtual replica, updated in real-time, of a physical object, process or product) technologies – where engineers can run simulations and where machine learning technologies can predict breakdowns, plan maintenance schedules, improve OEE, and more
  4. Increasing convergence of IT and OT (operational technology)
  5. Further moves towards digitalisation
  6. Increasing use of cobots (safer, more adaptable collaborative robots, designed to work alongside human workers)
  7. Small batch and mixed manufacturing (mass customisation)

Darragh’s list reflects the fact that Industry 4.0 is really a collection of different technologies, processes and approaches to modern, high-tech manufacturing.

This supplement, as well as EPDT’s ongoing coverage, will attempt to help you understand a little more about 4IR – and for everything you need to know about how to get the best out of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), you should also check out our sister website, Connectivity, over at www.connectivity4ir.co.uk – and sign up for its weekly newsletter.

In this supplement:
This edition of your IoT & Industry 4.0 supplement contains features exploring how AI, machine learning and data discovery are powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, via examples in semiconductor manufacturing, home energy monitoring and implantable medical device security (p23), and explaining how Industry 4.0 is impacting the semiconductor industry (p26).

We hope you enjoy this edition and would love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

Mark Gradwell
Editor, EPDT

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