What does the future hold for Manufacturing, Utilities and Services in the coming year?
Graeme Wright, CTO for the Manufacturing, Utilities, and Services, UK and Ireland at Fujitsu, shares his top three predictions for the MUS sector in 2017:
The robots are coming
AI has made immense progress over the past few years across the sectors, and the manufacturing, utilities and services sectors are no exception.
Over the course of the next year and beyond, AI and process robotics is set to become even more prevalent in the industry as organisations harness the technology to boost productivity. Thanks to AI, organisations can yield knowledge and skills, and transfer information onto a platform that is readily available to advise engineers’ onsite.
In addition, through the use of chatbots they will be able to talk to a virtual assistant in real-time, which will help them to fix issues on site without needing to call out for another engineer.
How IoT will change the way MUS companies operate
It is expected that by 2020, the number of internet connected devices will stand at 20.8 billion.
Companies in the MUS sector therefore are expected adopt IoT so as to aid preventive or condition based maintenance which drive efficiencies and remove unnecessary costs. As well as this, we also expect to see a rise in the adoption of ‘servicisation’ in the sector as IoT becomes more prolific in the industry.
For example, Rolls Royce now sells ‘power by the hour’, rather than the engine on its own. As well as presenting the opportunity to increase revenue, it also ensures the entire service of a customer’s needs (such as maintenance; spares; expertise) is delivered.
Increased IoT means increased security
With more machines now built with their own IP addresses, there is a more stringent need for rigorous security measures to protect them.
Even though IoT offers an array of opportunities for businesses, it also exposes more vulnerabilities for hackers to potentially exploit. For example, with manufacturers of driverless cars, vast amounts of damage could be caused such as overriding the safety controls, due to insufficient security measures.
Businesses will start to adopt commercial security platforms, with embedded best practices, in order to meet the scalability and security requirements which they will inevitably need to keep them secure.
3D printing: the IoT enabler
The cost of low volume production runs has always been one of the limiting factors, prohibiting the target deployment of IoT devices.
However, thanks to 3D printing, manufacturers will be able to use it to print electronic devices, and change the cost of producing IoT custom and low-volume sensors, which as a consequence will increase the variety of solutions available.
Moreover, smart and functional ink and 3D printing will have a significant impact in tracking and tracing products. This will be especially true across international borders which mostly appeals to manufacturers of products with high tax levels.
For instance, drinks manufacturers will be able to track at a bottle level which bottle was made where, for what market and what percentage of tax was paid on that specific packet by being able to print and embed a sensor into the packet itself.
On a larger scale, 3D printing will enable businesses to print custom made products on mass and at a lower cost. Manufacturers will be able to adapt to the specifications of each order by printing the unique components that are required for each job and do that at mass scale, making the business more viable.