Capgemini: Smart factories could add $2.2trn to global economy
From artificial intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT), the technological developments driving Industry 4.0 have dramatic implications for the future of manufacturing.
A new report released today by the Capgemini Research Institute found that smart factories have the potential to add anywhere between $1.5trn and $2.2trn to the global economy in the next five years. Of the companies surveyed, the report found that 68% were currently undergoing smart factory initiatives, compared to 43% in 2017.
However, the report makes clear that two-thirds of the gains, which would be realised through increased productivity, improvements in quality and market share, along with customer service refinement, remain unrealised.
Before we dive any deeper into the obstacles facing smart factory operators, let’s establish exactly what makes a factory smart.
Matthew Potts, Project Sales Engineer at HMK describes the foundations of a smart factory as “a harmonious communication between all the devices on the factory floor and the larger plant management to ensure that all the equipment is functioning as productively as possible.”
A key driver behind the effort to ensure that smart factories are functioning at peak efficiency and are as immune to disruption as possible is information. Much like in smart cities and smart homes, IoT sensors are a vital component in achieving the visibility necessary for a properly functioning environment.
Once visibility is achieved, then AI and robotic process automation is used to create efficiencies.
As Capgemini’s report identifies the two main challenges to scaling up as the IT-OT convergence and the range of skills and capabilities required to drive the transformation including cross-functional capabilities and soft skills in addition to digital talent.
The IT-OT Convergence is the integration of IT systems used for business processes with operational technology (OT) systems that are used to monitor devices, events and industrial processes.
“A factory is a complex and living ecosystem where production systems efficiency is the next frontier rather than labor productivity. Secure data, real- time interactions and virtual-physical loopbacks will make the difference. To unlock the promise of the smart factory, organizations need to design and implement a strong governance program and develop a culture of data-driven operations,” said Jean-Pierre Petit, Director of Digital Manufacturing at Capgemini in a press release. “The move to an Intelligent Industry is a strategic opportunity for global manufacturers to leverage the convergence of Information Technology and Operational Technology, in order to change the way their industries will operate and be future ready.”
Legend: John McAfee
John McAfee is credited with starting the entire cybersecurity industry. In 1987, he set up McAfee Associates and released VirusScan. Previous antivirus programs had been released, but McAfee’s was the first with mass appeal and was soon a day zero (or at least day one) installation for Windows users as well as corporate clients.
But McAfee was also a hugely divisive character. He dismissed his own software, claimed he never used it, and rejoiced when Intel bought McAfee and took his name off “the worst software on the planet.” He was anti-tax, pro-drugs, anti-war and pro-free trade. He was also a tireless crusader for cyber awareness, and set up a political party called the Cyber Party in order to make a bid for the office of president of the US.
“I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet”
McAfee: born in the UK
McAfee was born in Gloucestershire, UK, but moved to Salem, Virginia, where his American father (his mother was English) shot himself when McAfee was 15. McAfee worked at NASA, Univac, Xerox, Computer Sciences Corporation, Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed. It was while working at the latter he was given a copy of Brain, the first computer virus for PC, and began to engineer a defence.
Controversy dogged McAfee. He was implicated as a ‘person of interest’ in the search for a neighbour who had been shot. He married a prostitute. He claimed a cocaine baron was writing his biography. He was arrested for possession of an unlicensed weapon and for manufacturing drugs in Belize (later released without charge). There were various other arrests (mainly weapons related) but not much would stick until McAfee’s anti-tax stance caught up with him.
He fled the US as tax authorities turned up the heat on at least four years of non payment of tax and was arrested (again) in Spain in October 2020 at the behest of the US Department of Justice. Charges for fraudulently promoting cryptocurrencies were soon added and he was formally indicted in March 2021. In June 2021, the Spanish National Court authorised McAfee’s extradition to the US, and McAfee was found dead in his cell just hours later in what is widely believed to be a suicide.
Even in death, McAfee courted controversy, having announced that if he was ever found to have committed suicide, it would mean he had been murdered. A slew of conspiracy theories mushroomed in the hours after his death was announced. It’s just what he would have wanted.