As a first contribution for 2018 to our new website EXOR will publicly state our Industry 4.0 predictions for 2018 which are listed below in no order of particular importance:
1) Industry 4.0 pilot project numbers will expand rapidly.
Four elements will come together in 2018 to reduce the adoption barriers and result in the famous Tipping Point being reached and allowing for many companies of all sizes to delve seriously in Industry 4.0 .
OPC UA standards will be set in early 2018 and finally we will have a robust interoperability.
Guaranteed latency will be possible with the introduction of Time Sensitive Network.
Robust and highly scalable industrial cloud offerings will come to market and be available behind the company's firewall.
Edge HMIs in the industrial and marine world are finally powerful enough to handle the large data demanded upon them and even perform some analytics at the edge, sending other data up to the cloud.
2) Some Industry 4.0 devices will violate the rules of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
In May 2018, the EU GDPR will come into effect. So far compliance with this dramatic improvement in the data protection has not been particularly important or reported upon. This will change.
3) Large scale cloud based providers like Amazon and Microsoft will lose out to Industrial based cloud offerings.
The early winners in the consumer IoT market have been the large scale cloud providers that originate from informational technology. In 2018 companies born within the operational technology world will bring to market cloud offerings specifically suited to the industrial sector. Speaking the same language, having experience with resolving factory communication issues between devices and to the enterprise level MES or ERP, as well as competitive cost structure, will see greater adoption.
4) Predictive maintenance will not be the main element of Industry 4.0 analytics but improved production and process control will be.
Predictive maintenance in an ROI positive sense is very difficult to reach. As pilot projects and full scale applications are built in 2018, reality of the business case will encourage the use of analytics for improving production and process control. Any small improvements here lead directly to improved margins.
5) Asia and in particular China will be the quickest Industry 4.0 adopter
IoT is being adopted at a tremendous rate in Asia, boosted by environmental pressures and direct governmental investment for many years. Crossover into the industrial world especially in China will increase this year as the mindset change required for such a change will be encouraged.
6) Design will become a key element for machine manufacturers
If we are right about prediction 1, it is a logical step to say that all Industry 4.0 technology supplying companies will no longer be able to compete on technological innovation. We are about to enter a plateau in IoT innovation and while here companies will have only 2 means to beat competition: brand and design. In the industrial world, beautiful design has not been considered as important as the ability to overcome technological obstacles. As these obstacles reduce, design will become the defining element in success: Just as we have seen in many other sectors over the years.
Let us see over the next year how well our predictions play out.