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What to Watch: 3 Manufacturing Predictions for 2021

As the new year rapidly approaches, what should manufacturing companies incorporate into their 2021 strategy? Here are our top manufacturing predictions in 3 key areas that we see dominating this industry as cloud providers enrich their Internet of Things (IoT) offerings and force a reflection around points of parity versus points of differentiation.

1. Evolution of Homegrown Platforms

As the 2020 Eclipse IoT Developer Survey results confirmed, public cloud providers including AWS, Azure, and GCP continue to cement their lead in this space. Industrial organizations that have previously developed their own homegrown IoT solutions will face sustainability questions and pressures to evolve these platforms to keep pace with the competition. This will inevitably lead to migrations to cloud-based architectures to take advantage of managed services capabilities. Smaller, focused organizations providing point solutions on top of established platforms, such as providing Overall Equipment Effectiveness reports for continuous processes or providers of platform benchmarking, will be absorbed into larger service offering portfolios.

2. Uses of Additional Signals for Industrial Applications

While applied machine learning (ML) applications based on image data were quick to emerge, the area of acoustic signals is showing promising results when it comes to identifying equipment failure and avoiding costly downtime. For instance, organizations are using acoustic signals to detect malfunctioning fans and other rotating or vibrating equipment. As we enter 2021, we will see acoustic engineering evolving to incorporate the data-driven ML paradigm and move beyond intuition-driven models. This plays together with advances in edge computing such that ML algorithms can be fine-tuned and fielded on ruggedized hardware. While power consumption still plays a crucial limiting role, we anticipate some industrial uses of ML will only make sense when deployed close to the data source and actuators.

3. Continued Shift to Bolder, Differentiating Initiatives

Leading organizations have already made substantial advances in their digital transformation journey on top of an IoT platform. They are now moving towards commercially-led, multi-year projects still delivered in Agile ways of working. This in turn will drive a shift in their partner ecosystem. We will see a change from freelancers and boutiques attracted by first-of-a-kind challenges to product engineering partners designed to sustain long-haul technology efforts across multiple end-to-end business processes while bringing expertise in mature platform engineering.

To learn more about Ness’ manufacturing predictions, contact us today.

– Jean-Paul de Vooght, Senior Director – Client Solutions