The 5 biggest challenges for smart factories

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An Intel survey of 400 manufacturing experts on the front lines looks at what it will take to clear Industry 4.0’s highest hurdles.

With the increasing proliferation of data, connectivity, and processing power at the edge, the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is becoming more accessible. However, successful adoption remains out of reach for many: two of every three companies piloting digital manufacturing solutions fail to move into large-scale rollout. Why is it that, despite enthusiasm for this transformation to a digital manufacturing future, few companies have realized its potential at scale?

We already know that AI and IoT at the edge are key to the acceleration of factory transformation, but what is required to catalyse more rapid adoption of these technologies and avoid the pitfalls of pilot purgatory?

In the past two years, we have embarked on a study of over 400 participants across the industry and ecosystem companies—engaging manufacturing leaders and workers, as well as the technologists that develop the solutions and services that support them—to answer this very question and uncover the essential ingredients of industry 4.0. In 2018, Phase One of the Accelerate Industrial has just been released, looking at how workers will adopt and react to AI in manufacturing roles—and what strategies and tactics will “accelerate the accelerators”. To date, this phased study represents the most comprehensive view of digital transformation happening in the manufacturing sector.

All Phase Two participants were required to have a first-hand role in a smart factory or a company that develops smart technologies, solutions or services, encompassing the full spectrum of points of view across development, deployment, and maintenance of the technologies within those four walls.

Our research found that while there is a big appetite for digital transformation—83% of companies say they plan to make investments in smart factory technologies in the next two to three years—the people who are the most likely to drive that change are frequently uncertain about how to move forward or hesitant to risk it. So, what accounts for this failure to launch or failure to scale? And how should leaders shift the cultural mindset within their organizations to reap the benefits of industrial IOT?

Here are the top five challenges, cited by respondents, that have the potential to derail investments in smart solutions in the future—and tips for avoiding the perils of pilot purgatory. More>>


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