After decades of productivity stagnation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to create up to $3.7 billion value for the economy by 2025, driven primarily by technology and productivity improvement. Technologies such as the internet of things, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing are delivering results and driving us towards the future of production, which will be characterized by autonomous, self-organizing factories and integrated/hyper-connected production systems, where manufacturing companies, suppliers and customers will be ultimately connected onto a common IoT platform.
However, we are still far from exploiting the full potential that technology can bring to production, when adopted at scale. Adoption is slow, with more than 70% of industrial companies still either at the start of the journey or unable to go beyond the pilot stage. Most are stuck in “pilot purgatory” - a situation where the experimental use of technology is deployed at reduced scale for an extended period of time due to the inability or lack of conviction in rolling it out at production-system scale. This situation is similar across industry sectors and countries, including the most advanced ones, and the challenges compound further for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Within the framework of the ‘Shaping the Future of Production’ initiative, the ‘Technology and Innovation for the Future of Production’ project, is exploring how industrial companies can take technology adoption in production from proof-of-concepts to industrial scale, and how governments, academia, technology pioneers and civil society can best support the development of a favorable ecosystem for technology adoption and diffusion across industry sectors. The project is also working on establishing public private partnership and international cooperation on areas like joint efforts for testing top technology use cases, collaboration on cyber-security, standards, protocols, interoperability, capability building, SME training etc.