When I first attended the Hannover Fair, the “who’s who” of industrial automation showcased mostly homegrown solutions based on proprietary technologies. That was 12 years ago, and none of the high-tech players even bothered to show up at this major industrial automation event. Back then, the vertical industrial and horizontal digital worlds were far apart.
Fast-forward to last April’s Hannover Fair. In every hall, I saw key digital and industrial vendors demonstrating joint solutions based on open and increasingly interoperable standards. In just a dozen years, the industrial and tech worlds had converged and started to transform manufacturing.
Five advanced technologies in particular are driving advances in smart manufacturing, or Industry 4.0. And increasingly, manufacturers and their partner ecosystems are moving beyond early applications of these technologies focused on improving existing processes. As manufacturers gain more experience, improve project success ratios and see higher ROI, they are progressing on their digital journeys to transform operations, value propositions, business models, and services for themselves and their customers.