The digital transformation is hitting factory floors worldwide, and industrial digital adoption is picking up speed. To put things in perspective:
- Smart factories will add up to $1.5 trillion to the global economy in the next five years.
- 2.7 million industrial robots are operating in factories worldwide to date.
- By 2025, there will be over 75 billion manufacturing devices connected.
While there has historically been excitement around digital transformation, it hasn’t accelerated as many believed it would – until now. COVID-19 has accelerated digital in more ways than anyone could have predicted, specifically in knocking down traditional barriers to adoption.
I recently participated in a panel discussion on the building blocks of digital transformation adoption and how companies are using legacy equipment to get started on the journey. Here are a few of the key points.
Defining Digital Transformation
First, it’s important that we define what “digital transformation” means. Digital transformation is the process of leveraging technologies and best practices to unlock data from critical assets, processes, and people – providing the strategic insight needed for agile, impactful decision making.
You’ll likely hear digital transformation used alongside terms like Industry 4.0, IIoT, smart factories, predictive maintenance, big data, and many more. (I dive into this topic here.) Ultimately, it all stacks up to the same meaning – deeper insight through innovative technologies used to enhance business productivity and process efficiency.
Leveraging Legacy Technology for the New Digital World
Talking recently with OEM and integrator customers, many indicate that when it comes to seeking help on their path to digital transformation, their top priority is getting assistance with modernizing services and legacy technology replacement.
This tells me that organizations know they need to make the jump to a digital future. They just aren’t sure how to get there using the equipment they have.
One way to get started is by making incremental upgrades to legacy equipment, such as adding sensors. Sensors can collect data that is then used in unlocking the key insights that lead to optimized processes, decreased costs, and improved productivity.
Once a factory manager is equipped with more useful operational data, they can:
- More easily make a case for digital transformation ROI
- Ignite meaningful internal conversations to create a holistic digital transformation strategy
Watch the full panel discussion below.
This virtual panel discussion took place on Nov. 10, 2020, as part of Integr8 Conference, a two-day virtual experience bringing together technology and manufacturing leaders from across the globe to construct the next level of Industry 4.0.