Open Source Brings Collective Creativity To The Intelligent Edge

The idea of open source is not new. Ideas around the power of collectives to share, iterate, and effectively innovate together in near virtual space arose in the mid-eighteenth century, during the heyday of the age of enlightenment, with groups like the Lunar Society in the UK. The Lunar Society met roughly once a month in Birmingham, at the epicenter of the industrial revolution, as a collective of great minds, including both of Charles Darwin’s grandfathers.

They explored, shared, and broke barriers across disciplines together because they had the space in which to do it, and as a byproduct they gained great energy from discovering the possibilities of the world around them. For anyone who has attended an open source event, this description may sound familiar.

The Lunar Society of the 1790s is in many ways the very essence of open source community. Getting the very best ideas, working together, reacting and sharing together in real time. One major difference, though, is that the Lunar Society was very exclusive by nature, while today’s open source community is not. It is truly open. We live in a vastly more complex and expansive world than Birmingham in the 1790s; the power of the opportunities today is global, and mostly still forming.

With billions of devices running autonomously, computing, sensing, and predicting zettabytes of data, there are endless possibilities for what business ideas and technologies will thrive on the intelligent edge. Only an open source strategy can work in this environment: millions of people, ten of millions of ideas, maybe billions of combinations of code.

Open source for the intelligent edge

An effective intelligent edge will require a robust infrastructure that can handle low latency, high availability, and bandwidth demands. This infrastructure will include three key components: a cloud platform for running applications, analytics to monitor the health of the platform and services, and an orchestration layer to deploy and manage services across a distributed network.

There are five basic ways for companies to obtain this infrastructure: build it themselves from scratch, buy a proprietary solution from a vendor, build it starting with open source, buy a vendor-supported open source solution, or use infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

In a recent survey we administered across 500 respondents in France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the U.S., a relatively small percentage selected “build your own from scratch,” and a few more selected “vendor proprietary.” The majority selected an option where open source plays a role, whether in IaaS, do-it-yourself (DIY), or vendor-supported options. IaaS was the #1 choice for all three elements (cloud platform, analytics, and orchestration). The rest were split between one of the other flavors of open source (DIY or vendor-supported).

It seems most people aren’t interested in building and/or managing their infrastructure themselves. 34% of business in the U.S. cite “lack of internal skills or knowledge” and “bandwidth constraints on people’s time” as the biggest barriers to adopting intelligent edge technologies, followed closely by “additional investments in associated technologies are unclear” and “lack of internal business support or request.” Open source options give these companies the benefits of the solution without having to shoulder the burden all on their own.

If building and supporting your own infrastructure is core to your business, then building from scratch might make sense — but even then, chances are you may still use open source components. With 180,000 open source projects available with 1,400 unique licenses, it just doesn’t make sense not to use open source to some degree.

Two key reasons why open source is so pervasive

The popularity of open source is not surprising. For one thing, you get to tap into a technological hive mind. There is some debate, and many variables, but estimates put the number of open source developers worldwide somewhere north of 20 million. Open source communities attract a wide variety of people who are interested in participating in a particular piece of technology, with communities and projects running the gamut in terms of size and scope, depending on the focus and maturity of the project.

The common thread is the community of people who are contributing and reviewing code in an effort to make the project better. Generally speaking, the more applicable the code is to a variety of use cases and needs, the more participation you might see in the community. So with open source projects you get to leverage some of the smartest people on the planet, and they don’t have to be on your company payroll.

The second reason for such widespread usage of open source — related to the first — is the fact that you don’t have to do it all yourself. It’s a pretty common scenario for a development organization to use open source code as a component of a larger solution. By leveraging that open source component they can save hundreds if not thousands of work hours by not having to develop or be the sole maintainer of that piece of code. It also allows the organization to focus on their value-add.

Not just a groovy codefest

Open source derives its success from community, and just like in any community, some boundaries and agreed-upon rules to play by are necessary in order to thrive. It’s one thing to download a piece of open source code for use in a personal project. It’s another to use open source code as a critical component of your company’s operations or as a product you provide to your customers. Just because you can get open source code “for free” doesn’t mean you won’t make an investment.

Open source projects need focus, attention, and nurturing. In order to get the full value from the community one must be an active member of that community — or pay someone to be an active member of the community on your behalf. Being active requires an investment of time and resources to give a voice and listen to other voices on a steering committee, discuss priority features to work on next, participate in marketing activities designed to encourage more participants, contribute quality code, review code from others, and more. Leaning in is strongly encouraged.

Open source technology offers a tremendous opportunity for collective creativity and innovation. When like-minded people gather together for a focused intellectual purpose, it’s energizing to the individual and can be hugely beneficial to the organization. Whether the open source code is part of an IaaS, a component of something you build, or part of a vendor-supported solution, it is a tremendous asset you can use to push your company’s value-add forward to better meet your customer’s needs.

Matt Jones is responsible for the global R&D team at Wind River. In this role, he leads the delivery of innovative products that are enabling and accelerating the digital transformation of our customers across market segments, ranging from aerospace to industrial, defense to medical, and networking to automotive. With nearly 20 years of experience in the technology industry, he oversees the development of the Wind River portfolio to expand the company’s reach in both new and existing markets.

He was previously at Virgin Hyperloop One, where as Senior Vice President he led the Software Engineering teams; tasked with providing all the software needed to manage, control, and operate an autonomous hyperloop system. This included embedded software and electronics, networking, cloud data and services, as well as customer-facing applications. Prior to Virgin Hyperloop One, he was chief product officer at moovel Group, Daimler’s mobility solutions company. Before moovel, he was director of future technology at Jaguar Land Rover. He also serves as Chairman at GENIVI Alliance, and was a member of the Board of Directors at The Linux Foundation.

He holds a Master of Engineering, Electronic and Electrical with Management, from the University of Birmingham.

Source: Open Source Brings Collective Creativity To The Intelligent Edge

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Critics:

Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. It most commonly refers to the open-source model, in which open-source software or other products are released under an open-source license as part of the open-source-software movement. Use of the term originated with software, but has expanded beyond the software sector to cover other open content and forms of open collaboration.

Generally, open source refers to a computer program in which the source code is available to the general public for use for any (including commercial) purpose, or modification from its original design. Open-source code is meant to be a collaborative effort, where programmers improve upon the source code and share the changes within the community. Code is released under the terms of a software license. Depending on the license terms, others may then download, modify, and publish their version (fork) back to the community.

Open source promotes universal access via an open-source or free license to a product’s design or blueprint, and universal redistribution of that design or blueprint. Before the phrase open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of other terms. Open source gained hold in part due to the rise of the Internet. The open-source software movement arose to clarify copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues. 

Agriculture, economy, manufacturing and production

How Entrepreneurs Are Capitalizing on Digital Transformation in the Age of the ‘New Normal’

How Entrepreneurs Are Capitalising on Digital Transformation in the Age of the 'New Normal'

The Covid-19 pandemic has carried a significant impact on the rate in which businesses are embracing digital transformation. The health crisis has created an almost overnight need for traditional brick and mortar shopping experiences to regenerate into something altogether more adaptive and remote. While some businesses are finding this transition toward emerging technology a little tricky, it’s proving to be a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs in the age of the “new normal.”

Astoundingly, data suggests that digital transformation has been accelerated by as much as seven years due to the pandemic, with Asia/Pacific businesses driving forward up to a decade in the future when it comes to digital offerings.

With entrepreneurs and new startup founders finding themselves in a strong position to embrace modern digital practices ahead of more traditional companies, we’re likely to see a rise in innovation among post-pandemic businesses. With this in mind, let’s take a deeper look into the ways in which digital transformation are benefiting businesses in the age of the new normal:

Fast, data-driven decisions.

Any digital transformation strategy needs to be driven by data. The emergence of big data as a key analytical tool may make all the difference in ensuring that startups take the right steps at the right time to ensure that they thrive without losing valuable resources chasing the wrong target audience, or promoting an underperforming product.

Enterprises today have the ability to tap into far greater volumes of data than ever before, thanks largely to both big data and Internet of Things technology. With the right set of analytical tools, this data can be transformed into essential insights that can leverage faster, more efficient and accurate decisions. Essentially, the deeper analytical tools are embedded in business operations, the greater the levels of integration and effect that may have.

By incorporating more AI-based technology into business models, it’s possible to gain access to huge volumes of big data that can drive key decisions. The pandemic has helped innovations in terms of data and analytics become more visible in the world of business, and many entrepreneurs are turning to advanced AI capabilities in order to modernise their existing applications while sifting through data at a faster and more efficient rate.

Leveraging multi-channel experiences.

Digital transformation is empowering customers to get what they want, when they want, and however they want it. Today, more than half of all consumers expect to receive a customer service response within 60 minutes. They also want equally swift response times on weekends as they’ve come to expect on weekdays. This emphasis on perpetual engagement has meant that businesses that aren’t switched on 24/7/365 are putting themselves at a disadvantage to rivals that may have more efficient operations in place.

The pandemic has led to business happening in real-time – even more so than in brick and mortar stores. Although customers in high street stores know they’re getting a face to face experience, this doesn’t mean that business representatives can offer a similar personalised and immediately knowledgeable service than that of a chatbot or a live chat operative with a sea of information at their disposal.

Modern consumers are never tied to a single channel. They visit stores, websites, leave feedback through mobile apps and ask questions for support teams on social networking sites. By combining these interactions, it’s possible to create full digital profiles for customers whenever they interact with your business – helping entrepreneurs to provide significantly more immersive experiences.

Fundraising via blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is one of the most exciting emerging technologies today. Its applications are far-reaching in terms of leveraging new payment methods and brokering agreements via smart contracts, and while the use cases for these blockchain applications will certainly grow over the coming years, today the technology is already being widely utilised by entrepreneurs as a form of raising capital through Initial Token Offerings (ITOs), also known as Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

As an alternative to the use of traditional banks, venture capital firms, angel investors or crowdfunders, ITO tokens can be made available for exchanges where they can trade freely. These tokens are comparable to equity in a company, or a share of revenue for token holders.

Interested investors can buy into the offering and receive tokens that are created on a blockchain from the company. The tokens could have some practical use within the company where they can be spent on goods or services, or they could purely represent an equity share in a startup or project.

There are currently numerous companies that use blockchain technology to simply and secure its operations. From large corporations like HSBC’s Digital Vault, which is blockchain-based custody platform that allows clients to access details of their private assets to small education startups like ODEM, which aim to democratize education.

Another company that’s pioneering blockchain technology within the world of business is OpenExO, which has developed its own community-driven utility token EXOS, to help build a new transformation economy that helps companies to accelerate, democratise and internationalise their innovation.

Salim Ismail, OpenExO founder, is the former Yahoo technology innovator who developed the industry of Exponential Organizations. He has become a household name in the entrepreneur and innovation landscape, and now he launches the blockchain ecosystem that includes Fortune 500 companies, cities and even countries.

Reaping widespread rewards.

Although digital transformation could begin with a focus on just one facet of a startup, its benefits can be far reaching for employees, consumers and stakeholders alike. It could limit the mundane tasks required of workers, offer greater levels of personalisation for consumers and free up new skills to be developed in other areas of a business.

This, in turn, helps to build more engaged and invested teams that know the value of fresh ideas and perspectives. Although the natural adaptability of entrepreneurs makes the adoption of digital transformation an easier one to make than for established business owners, the benefits can be significant for both new and old endeavours.

The pandemic has accelerated the potential of emerging technologies by over seven years in some cases, the adoption of these new approaches and tools can be an imperative step in ensuring that your business navigates the age of the new normal with the greatest of efficiency.

Dmytro Spilka

By: Dmytro Spilka / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP – CEO and Founder of Solvid and Pridicto

Source: How Entrepreneurs Are Capitalising on Digital Transformation in the Age of the ‘New Normal’

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Critics:

Digital Transformation (DT or DX) or Digitalization is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. Digital solutions may enable – in addition to efficiency via automation – new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.

One aspect of digital transformation is the concept of ‘going paperless‘ or reaching a ‘digital business maturity’affecting both individual businesses and whole segments of society, such as government,mass communications,art,health care, and science.

Digital transformation is not proceeding at the same pace everywhere. According to the McKinsey Global Institute‘s 2016 Industry Digitization Index,Europe is currently operating at 12% of its digital potential, while the United States is operating at 18%. Within Europe, Germany operates at 10% of its digital potential, while the United Kingdom is almost on par with the United States at 17%.

One example of digital transformation is the use of cloud computing. This reduces reliance on user-owned hardware and increases reliance on subscription-based cloud services. Some of these digital solutions enhance capabilities of traditional software products (e.g. Microsoft Office compared to Office 365) while others are entirely cloud based (e.g. Google Docs).

As the companies providing the services are guaranteed of regular (usually monthly) recurring revenue from subscriptions, they are able to finance ongoing development with reduced risk (historically most software companies derived the majority of their revenue from users upgrading, and had to invest upfront in developing sufficient new features and benefits to encourage users to upgrade), and delivering more frequent updates often using forms of agile software development internally.This subscription model also reduces software piracy, which is a major benefit to the vendor.

Digitalization (of industries and organizations)

Unlike digitization, digitalization is the ‘organizational process’ or ‘business process’ of the technologically-induced change within industries, organizations, markets and branches. Digitalization of manufacturing industries has enabled new production processes and much of the phenomena today known as the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0, machine to machine communication, artificial intelligence and machine vision.

Digitalization of business and organizations has induced new business models (such as freemium), new eGovernment services, electronic payment, office automation and paperless office processes, using technologies such as smart phones, web applications, cloud services, electronic identification, blockchain, smart contracts and cryptocurrencies, and also business intelligence using Big Data. Digitalization of education has induced e-learning and Mooc courses.

See also

How To Embrace The Post-Pandemic, Digital-Driven Future Of Work

https://i0.wp.com/onlinemarketingscoops.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Main-Picture-1024x683-1.jpg?resize=852%2C568&ssl=1

Digital will separate the winners from the laggards in the hypercompetitive, post-pandemic business landscape, says Ben Pring, Managing Director of Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work. We undertook a global, multi-industry study to understand how businesses are preparing for this future and here’s what we found.

COVID-19 changed digital from a nice-to-have adjunct to a must-have tool at the core of the enterprise. The pandemic forced businesses to reassess how they strategize and execute their digital ambitions in a world that has migrated online, possibly for good in many areas. Those that did not prioritize digital prior to the pandemic found that procrastination was no longer an option — the digital landscape is hypercompetitive.

The Cognizant Center for the Future of Work (CFoW), working with Oxford Economics, recently surveyed 4,000 C-level executives globally to understand how they are putting digital to use and what they hope to achieve in the coming years.

The CFoW found that digital technologies are key to success in the coming years and uncovered six key steps that all organizations can take to more fruitfully apply to gear-up for the fast unfolding digital future:

  • Scrutinize everything because it’s going to change. From how and where employees work, to how customers are engaged, and which products and services are now viable as customer needs and behaviors evolve rapidly.
  • Make technology a partner in work. Innovations in AI, blockchain, natural language processing, IoT and 5G communications are ushering in decades of change ahead and will drive new levels of functionality and performance.
  • Build new workflows to reach new performance thresholds. The most predictable, rote and repetitive activities need to be handed off to software, while humans specialize in using judgment, creativity and language.
  • Make digital competency the prime competency for everyone. No matter what type of work needs to be done, it must have a digital component. Levels of digital literacy need to be built out even among non-technologists, including specialized skills.
  • Begin a skills renaissance. Digital skills such as big data specialists, process automation experts, security analysts, etc. aren’t easy to acquire. To overcome skills shortages, organizations will need to work harder to retain and engage workers.
  • Employees want jobs, but they also want meaning from jobs. How can businesses use intelligent algorithms to take increasing proportions of tasks off workers’ plates, allowing them to spend their time creating value? This search for meaning stretches beyond the individual tasks of the job to what the organization itself stands for.

Here are a few key findings from our research:

Redesigning the workplace is just the beginning: The virus will force enterprises to ask more strategic questions.

A mesh of machine emerges: While IoT is beginning to take hold, few respondents have piloted 5G projects. But over time , the mesh of machines created by IoT and 5G will serve as the foundation for news levels of functionality and possibility.

The 3As-AI , automation and analytics are the engines of digitization: To make the future of work happen, the 3As are emerging as a sophisticated and complex set of tools more deeply embedded in processes.

To learn more, read our whitepaper “The Work Ahead: Digital First (to Last)” or see the full Work Ahead study series.

Ben Pring leads Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work and is a coauthor of the books Monster: A Tough Love Letter On Taming The Machines That Rule Our Jobs, Lives, and Future, What To Do When Machines Do Everything and Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations Are Changing the Rules of Business. In 2018, he was a Bilderberg Meeting participant. He previously spent 15 years with Gartner as a senior industry analyst, researching and advising on areas such as cloud computing and global sourcing. He can be reached at Benjamin.Pring@cognizant.com

Source: How To Embrace The Post-Pandemic, Digital-Driven Future Of Work

.

Critics:

Digitalization  is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. Digital solutions may enable – in addition to efficiency via automation – new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.

One aspect of digital transformation is the concept of ‘going paperless‘ or reaching a ‘digital business maturity’ affecting both individual businesses and whole segments of society, such as government,mass communications,art, health care, and science.

Digital transformation is not proceeding at the same pace everywhere. According to the McKinsey Global Institute‘s 2016 Industry Digitization Index, Europe is currently operating at 12% of its digital potential, while the United States is operating at 18%. Within Europe, Germany operates at 10% of its digital potential, while the United Kingdom is almost on par with the United States at 17%.

One example of digital transformation is the use of cloud computing. This reduces reliance on user-owned hardware and increases reliance on subscription-based cloud services. Some of these digital solutions enhance capabilities of traditional software products (e.g. Microsoft Office compared to Office 365) while others are entirely cloud based (e.g. Google Docs).

As the companies providing the services are guaranteed of regular (usually monthly) recurring revenue from subscriptions, they are able to finance ongoing development with reduced risk (historically most software companies derived the majority of their revenue from users upgrading, and had to invest upfront in developing sufficient new features and benefits to encourage users to upgrade), and delivering more frequent updates often using forms of agile software development internally. This subscription model also reduces software piracy, which is a major benefit to the vendor.

Unlike digitization, digitalization is the ‘organizational process’ or ‘business process’ of the technologically-induced change within industries, organizations, markets and branches. Digitalization of manufacturing industries has enabled new production processes and much of the phenomena today known as the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0, machine to machine communication, artificial intelligence and machine vision.

Digitalization of business and organizations has induced new business models (such as freemium), new eGovernment services, electronic payment, office automation and paperless office processes, using technologies such as smart phones, web applications, cloud services, electronic identification, blockchain, smart contracts and cryptocurrencies, and also business intelligence using Big Data. Digitalization of education has induced e-learning and Mooc courses.

See also

 

How To Embrace The Post-Pandemic, Digital-Driven Future Of Work

Digital will separate the winners from the laggards in the hypercompetitive, post-pandemic business landscape, says Ben Pring, Managing Director of Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work. We undertook a global, multi-industry study to understand how businesses are preparing for this future and here’s what we found.

COVID-19 changed digital from a nice-to-have adjunct to a must-have tool at the core of the enterprise. The pandemic forced businesses to reassess how they strategize and execute their digital ambitions in a world that has migrated online, possibly for good in many areas. Those that did not prioritize digital prior to the pandemic found that procrastination was no longer an option — the digital landscape is hypercompetitive.

The Cognizant Center for the Future of Work (CFoW), working with Oxford Economics, recently surveyed 4,000 C-level executives globally to understand how they are putting digital to use and what they hope to achieve in the coming years. The CFoW found that digital technologies are key to success in the coming years and uncovered six key steps that all organizations can take to more fruitfully apply to gear-up for the fast unfolding digital future:

  • Scrutinize everything because it’s going to change. From how and where employees work, to how customers are engaged, and which products and services are now viable as customer needs and behaviors evolve rapidly.
  • Make technology a partner in work. Innovations in AI, blockchain, natural language processing, IoT and 5G communications are ushering in decades of change ahead and will drive new levels of functionality and performance.
  • Build new workflows to reach new performance thresholds. The most predictable, rote and repetitive activities need to be handed off to software, while humans specialize in using judgment, creativity and language.
  • Make digital competency the prime competency for everyone. No matter what type of work needs to be done, it must have a digital component. Levels of digital literacy need to be built out even among non-technologists, including specialized skills.
  • Begin a skills renaissance. Digital skills such as big data specialists, process automation experts, security analysts, etc. aren’t easy to acquire. To overcome skills shortages, organizations will need to work harder to retain and engage workers.
  • Employees want jobs, but they also want meaning from jobs. How can businesses use intelligent algorithms to take increasing proportions of tasks off workers’ plates, allowing them to spend their time creating value? This search for meaning stretches beyond the individual tasks of the job to what the organization itself stands for.…Read More……

Ben Pring leads Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work and is a coauthor of the books Monster: A Tough Love Letter On Taming The Machines That Rule Our Jobs, Lives, and Future, What To Do When Machines Do Everything and Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations Are Changing the Rules of Business. In 2018, he was a Bilderberg Meeting participant. He previously spent 15 years with Gartner as a senior industry analyst, researching and advising on areas such as cloud computing and global sourcing. He can be reached at Benjamin.Pring@cognizant.com.

Source: How To Embrace The Post-Pandemic, Digital-Driven Future Of Work

.

Critics:

One of the biggest misconceptions about digital transformation is that it is all about technological change. With companies feeling an urgent need to transform digitally, technology is considered to be the panacea for business problems and a way to speed up transformation.

But while technology is an important part of digital transformation, it can only deliver benefits if it is procured as part of a wider plan.

The issue is that those making the decisions to implement technology for the sake of technology may be focusing on the process of changing their business, rather than targeting their ultimate goals.

In fact, the majority (71 per cent) of IT leaders say their business is so fixated on digital transformation that the projects may not deliver tangible benefits, according to 2019 research from database company Couchbase.

Caroline Carruthers, former chief data officer at Network Rail and Lowell, believes that understanding the problems the business is trying to solve or the value it is aiming to generate is crucial.

“Otherwise, how do we know we’re not cutting a square hole [with technology] rather than a circular one? People hear buzzwords and want a quick fix; it’s engrained that we want things faster, while advances in consumer technology have meant people expect the same from business technology. However, the problems are far more complex,” she says.

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Manufacturing And The Intelligent Edge: What, Why, And How

robot in car factory

Industrial manufacturers tend to be conservative when implementing new technologies, a stance which has historically made sense. They typically want to ensure that they maximize the functional life expectancy of their equipment in order to extract the maximum value, with some equipment in use for 5, 15, or even 30+ years. In addition, the equipment they use is often highly specialized and purpose-built, which can make it very expensive. This combination of pressures makes companies reticent to introduce changes until they’ve squeezed every last drop of value from their system.

But as technology evolves, this conservative mindset appears to be shifting. Manufacturers are starting to embrace digital transformation and intelligent systems because they are realizing what a new approach, and new technologies, can really do for them. This development could be called the “Teslafication” of modern manufacturing.

Tesla has demonstrated the benefits of using technology to collect customer feedback, understand their needs, adapt their offerings, and deliver updates to improve the customer experience — all very quickly. Personalization and the ability to adapt quickly to your customers’ needs are becoming more valuable in all sectors, and manufacturing companies don’t want to be left behind.

So how are companies making this shift? We asked industrial manufacturing leaders in Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States how they are adopting their facilities to meet modern demand. These are the top five things these industrial leaders are doing to get ahead of the curve.

Maximizing bang for buck

Understanding the return on investment (ROI) is always important, but just focusing on equipment cost and longevity isn’t enough, which became clear when we looked at which technologies are being deployed and why. We first determined the key initiatives our research subjects were most engaged in (optimizing the supply chain, innovation, enhanced time-critical control, remote control/operations, and optimizing non-time-critical control, in that order).

We then sought to understand which technologies they were deploying now and which they expected to deploy in the future. Not every technology applied directly to each initiative, so the ranking was determined by the number of times selected per the number of times presented. The top technologies were:

 

  • 5/5 Analytics
  • 4/4 Artificial intelligence
  • 4/4 Autonomous/collaborative robotics
  • 4/4 Machine/equipment diagnostics
  • 4/5 Digital twins

 

Clearly, the ability to gather and process intelligence from your systems is a good place to start when selecting technologies.

Choosing their connectivity carefully

There is a lot of buzz about 5G these days, and considering some of the features 5G will provide, it’s easy to understand the enthusiasm. With ultra-low latency, high bandwidth, and enhanced security, a 5G-based intelligent edge has the potential to provide the infrastructure for a fleet of modern, connected industrial robots that can deliver flexibility and agility that legacy equipment could never achieve. When we asked survey respondents about connectivity preferences, 5G was the clear choice above other options such as Private LTE and Wi-Fi 6.

The rollout of 5G wireless technology, with its strong focus on machine-type communications and support for the industrial internet of things (IIoT), is expected to have an outsized impact on automation and control applications. Unprecedented reliability and very low latency add to the basic potential of industrial 5G in manufacturing, even though the main technology building blocks and implementation challenges haven’t been fully resolved.

For example, one concern is the difficulty of ensuring that 5G will work inside buildings where signal drop can be significant. But for every problem identified, solutions are being quickly developed. Some interesting “in-building 5G” solutions are emerging that use small cell millimeter wave (mmWave) technology and combine the ultra-wideband of 5G with private multi-access edge computing (MEC) and a private network core. These solutions are being deployed in office facilities now and will look to deploy in other settings where robots may live, such as manufacturing facilities, fulfillment warehouses, and so on.

Optimizing for their technology

Our respondents told us what they think are the most important measures for the technologies overall, and #1 was security. We have yet to see a survey that doesn’t rank security as the most important factor for just about any category. Connectivity ranked a close second (see the preceding section), followed by high availability. So: secure it, connect it, and keep it running. Pretty straightforward. After these basics, the next priorities are bandwidth, as those connected machines are going to need to collect and process a ton of data; scalability, to allow them to adapt to the ebb and flow of processing needs; and low latency, in order to keep those machines responsive.

Put the pedal down and don’t let up

More than 70% of our survey respondents are engaged in all five of the process improvement initiatives listed earlier. Their transition is happening now; it’s already begun. But fully reaping the benefits of a highly available, ultra-low-latency intelligent edge is going to come in phases over the next five years.

Since 5G is the most anticipated technology and people seem to have the highest expectations for it, we inquired about current level of adoption and upcoming timelines. Thirty-six percent of respondents are “adopters” who plan to use 5G in the very near future as a connectivity solution across the programs they are implementing; 35% fall into the “tester” category and expect to use 5G on a handful of technologies; and 29% don’t intend to use 5G across their technologies at all in the near term.

Of those respondents who see 5G in their future, 50% say they expect to adopt 5G-enabled technologies within the next 12 months, 60% in the next two years, and a full 81% expect to adopt 5G within the next five years. The fact that such a high percentage of this typically conservative crowd expects to adopt this new technology so quickly suggests the degree to which they are looking to accelerate their digital transformation.

Preparation is the key to success

It’s one thing to anticipate a fully automated factory with connected autonomous robots driving increased production and lower cost; it’s another thing to actually implement one. There are considerable barriers. Of the leaders we spoke with, 35% understand the need to upgrade or re-engineer legacy systems, while 33% identified their companies as lacking internal skills or knowledge. Business leaders need to invest in both areas in order to succeed. Re-engineering of tools, processes, and people drives the need to start planning sooner than later — the barriers are surmountable with proper planning.

In contrast, the barriers that ranked lowest in the survey — i.e. they were least likely to be perceived as barriers — included “none of our competitors seem to be using these technologies” at 18%, which tells us that competitors are using these technologies, so it is not the case that they are seen as risky due to being unknown quantities. “Too high a risk” came in at 17%, so fear is not an obstacle. And, actually, 12% selected “None of the above” (no barriers expected).

It’s happening now

Technology advancements in manufacturing are happening now and building up a new intelligent edge. Manufacturing leaders are aware of this shift and are taking steps now down the path of digital transformation. They know it’s just a matter of how much and how soon more technology will be deployed in order to fully realize the benefits.

CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

As Chief Technology Officer at Wind River, Paul Miller is responsible for the company’s technology strategy. With nearly three decades of telecommunications and advanced technology leadership at both large companies and successful startups, he is currently focused on Wind River’s edge virtualization and AI solutions, including Wind River’s market-leading 5G Cloud offering based on StarlingX.

Prior to joining Wind River, he was the Chief Technology Officer of GENBAND. He has led the architecture and development of various switching, IMS, IP media, call control and web applications solutions employed by multiple tier-one operators worldwide. His last eight years have been focused on OpenStack, SDN, and NFV automation technology, and include operation of a multi-site, multi-cloud infrastructure, multiple Tier one CSP VNF deployments as well as a significant NFV patent history. His contributions throughout his career have enabled many communications service providers worldwide to create new revenue streams, while dramatically reducing operating costs.

Source: Manufacturing And The Intelligent Edge: What, Why, And How

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Building Business Stability In An Unstable World

Introducing Digital Factory 4.0, the future of effortless, connected, and proactive operations. 

I’ve seen some things. 

Back in 2000, I watched as the soaring dot com economy plummeted back to Earth. Then there was the gut-wrenching housing crisis of 2008. Still, I hardly envisioned a global pandemic that would drive 3,600 American businesses into bankruptcy in the first six months of 2020 alone.   

The scope of these bankruptcies are unprecedented, yet they underscore an old business maxim: the time to prepare for a crisis is before it happens. In an unpredictable world, futureproofing your business isn’t optional. COVID-19 is one example of instability, but it’s easy to think of others geopolitics, climate change, and societal tension to name a few. And while every industry confronts these challenges, not every industry is similarly at risk.  

Introducing Digital Factory 4.0  

Manufacturers are particularly exposed to the economic impacts of COVID-19 because of their global supply chains, interactive working environments, and high sensitivity to downstream demand. These factors place them at risk from future crises as well. As a result, their post-pandemic planning must include process alterations for COVID-19 and a comprehensive strategy for whatever comes next.  

Fortunately, in this digital day and age we have the tools to create resilience for this pandemic and beyond.  

The first step is the complete digitization and connection of factory operations through automation and digital workflows. This will create what I like to call Digital Factory 4.0.  

This factory represents a fourth revolution within manufacturing. In the first, steam power mechanized production; in the second, electricity created mass production; in the third, information technology automated and globalized that production.  

Now, in the fourth, emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and the internet of things (IoT), are combining to digitize, automate, and transform the factory entirely. 

Digital nervous system 

Digital Factory 4.0 is based on a digital nervous system that ties the full manufacturing value chain together and makes all operations effortless, connected, and proactive. This nervous system consists of workflows that eliminate silos and create a connected enterprise of universal visibility.   

On the factory floor, insignificant problems quickly ripple into larger delays down the line when machine operators lack the knowledge to remediate the issue. Something as small as a misprinted label can throw the entire production process into disarray.  

In Digital Factory 4.0, notes detailing past machine fixes, a comprehensive knowledge base, and a workflow-powered connection to an outside technician are all accessible through a mobile device linked to the factory’s digital nervous system. Employees have the information they need at their fingertips, operations flow effortlessly, and overall equipment efficiency (OEE) is improved throughout the factory.  

In the event of a larger breakdown, information about downstream effect is quickly cascaded to the relevant parties via automated workflows. Information captured in these workflows, along with that from IoT sensors, helps manufacturers better understand the trade-offs that limit or increase capacity.   

Oh geez...just screens with code looking very technological. Bleep bloop!
A digital nervous system connects the Digital Factory 4.0. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Intelligent quality control 

World-class operations extend beyond maintenance and information dissemination to quality control and product development—two areas of significant expense.  

For example, when a manufacturer I worked with altered its pet food recipe, it unknowingly shipped bags with heavier individual pellets and thus more food than necessary. That compounded into a noticeable cost.  

Digital Factory 4.0 addresses this problem in two ways. First, IoT sensors identify discrepancies immediately and trigger a disruption workflow that drives actions to resolve the complication before production is impacted. This is intelligent quality control. Again, it’s both effortless and connected.  

Second, by digitizing product development—running simulations on a digital twin of the physical product—we can decrease parts per million (PPM) defective rates and proactively address quality issues that arise when we, for instance, change a recipe.  

Along with improved OEE, decreased PPM translates to higher margins and greater profit, ensuring a sustainable and resilient factory.  

Connecting teams and people 

Most important, Digital Factory 4.0 connects teams, keeping the workforce healthy and engaged while managing for regulatory compliance. This is especially important as leaders consider how to safely navigate the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ServiceNow’s Contact Tracing app, for example, uses system data (badge scans, workstation location, etc.) to identify and isolate employees who come in contact with an individual infected by COVID-19. It’s one way to ensure a safe return to work, and it’s also indicative of a core tenet of connected teams: the use of employee data—on everything from common challenges to health and wellness—to build a sustainable workforce.  

For example, many manufacturing injuries can be linked to addressable root cause issues. By aggregating and analyzing information on these injuries, we can pinpoint causes and shift processes. The data also informs other areas in the organization, such as risk, compliance, and workforce planning.  

Digital Factory 4.0 is about getting access to this data on the assumption that all the information we need to perfectly optimize operations is readily available—if only we could see it.  

With COVID-19 placing pressure on manufacturers like never before, it’s the organizations who digitize operations and unlock their data that will survive, reinvest, and continuously improve.

Tasker Generes

Tasker Generes

Tasker Generes is global head of connected enterprise at ServiceNow, crafting strategy for the connected enterprise leveraging IoT, BlockChain, and AI while also providing executive level advisory to help companies modernize, transform and innovate. He is the author of 87 patent claims around ConnectedOperations, ConnectedHuman, ConnectedSecurity and ConnectedService. Prior to joining ServiceNow, Tasker was chief technology officer at Amtrak and ran his own consulting firm Silos to Service Solutions Inc., bringing business and IT together to leapfrog their competition through focused service. Through his work at IBM as chief technologist for service management solutions, Tasker developed a deep depth of knowledge and experience in leading global service management delivery across process, technology, organization and information. At IBM, he also served as co-chair of LEAP (Leadership Education for Asia-Pacifics). Tasker earned his Master of Project Management degree from George Washington University School of Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, San Diego

Source: Forbes

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