It's time to go beyond the hype and move the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 out of the trough of disillusionment.
The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest hosted the Smart Factory industry forum at the Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute in Chicago on Oct. 28. Speakers and panelists from GE Digital, Harting North America, Siemens Industry, Bosch Rexroth and other companies contributed to a day of discussion and celebration for how digital manufacturing continues to transform how machine builders approach their roles.
Vic Kingery from GE Digital kicked off the forum with a keynote presentation stressing the convergence of IT and OT will help us to take the next step toward Industry 4.0. "IIoT and Industry 4.0 is in the trough of disillusionment," Kingery said. To get out of the hype cycle, people will need to come together, stay focused on the customer, get connected, get insights and get optimized.
Dr. Vivek Dave from Harting North America gave a presentation on how edge technology has been untapped by much of the industry. "Cloud services are wonderful, but I'd like you to really consider what happens on the edge," said Dave, who predicted the future is in looking at function modules in modular hardware along with modular software.
Wolfgang Rubrecht from Siemens Industry is impressed with the advancements seen in artificial intelligence over the past two years. Besides that Rebrecht, stressed the importance of optimization and making all processes more efficient. "If you're not willing to address the process part, you're not going to get the benefits of IIoT," Rebrecht said.
The forum wrapped up with a panel on Industry 4.0 best practices from Greenlee Textron's Nathan Blair, Bosch Rexroth's Scott Hibbard and MPDV USA's Steve Pombert. The panel agreed that it's not just about the technology or data or the machines. It's about bringing people, data and machines together and improving them all in tandem.