Industry 4.0 and IoT drive growth in the manufacturing industry


The market for Industry 4.0, Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions will continue to move in 2018, as predicted by market observers of the industry service IoT Analytics. In addition to the already established buzzwords, new hype topics such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and edge computing as well as improved interfaces for IoT devices will drive development forward, according to the experts.


Analysts worldwide agree with these forecasts. All market observers agree that companies will continue to invest heavily in hardware, software and IT services for Industry 4.0 and IoT in 2018. In Germany alone, the increase was already around 20 percent in 2017; a further increase of more than 22 percent to 7.2 billion euros is expected for 2018. This is the conclusion reached by market research and consulting company Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), based on its calculations and analyses for the digital association Bitkom.


PAC analysts expect the strongest demand in mechanical and plant engineering. In this segment, the companies already have a large amount of existing data that is necessary as a basis for more efficient production. Industry 4.0 solutions are not only used for the actual production processes, but increasingly also directly in the products - this is "smart fabrication" right through to the end product. This will ultimately offer customers significant added value, for example through new services such as end-to-end monitoring or intelligent maintenance.


No IoT without the cloud

With the Embedded Cloud, partners Kontron and S&T are already making a significant contribution to the further development of state-of-the-art production processes. Focused on the Smart Factory, which is a central element for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the Embedded Cloud offers a variety of robust components that have been specially designed for industrial requirements and have proven themselves in harsh environments. Norbert Hauser, Vice President Marketing, explains Kontron's IoT offering in detail in his blog entry for this year's Embedded World.


With their portfolio, Kontron and S&T support manufacturing companies in implementing a smart factory environment in the cloud and establishing digitized production processes. An important success factor here is real-time data processing and comprehensive protection of all data from the connected factory. In this way, the manufacturing industry can implement Industry 4.0 environments and IIoT concepts comparatively easily.


2018 - a year of upheaval

There is no denying that IoT, IIoT and Industry 4.0 have gained momentum in the meantime. The American design agency Infographic Design Team even sees 2018 as an important transitional year for the breakthrough of the IoT. Based on its surveys, the company has identified the six currently most important trends, as the business magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported a few weeks ago. Details on the market segments and the forecast sales are shown in the following information graphic.

People also remain an important factor in the Smart Factory

The study "Digital Factories 2020 - Shaping the future of manufacturing" recently published by the consulting firm PwC also proves, that there is no getting around the digital factory. Nine out of ten manufacturing companies in Germany are planning to network their production. According to the PwC study, the Smart Factory is not only about automation, but also about interconnecting complex systems. This requires not only a high degree of creativity, but also an excellent understanding of technology. According to PwC analysts, the well-trained specialists in Germany are better and faster at implementing this, than in many other countries. In this way, Germany will be strengthened as a business location and jobs will be created, because people will, by no means, become superfluous in the digital factory. According to the market researchers, no work will be taken away from employees. Rather, they are relieved of repeatable and operational work in the Smart Factory. In the future, man and machine will work side by side and interact with each other in the Smart Factory. This is exactly where the potentials of the future lie in the production area. 



Cover picture: fotolia-© nirutft


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