Apr 29, 2021

Harnessing edge computing for better factory data management

IDCResearch
LumenTechnologies
EdgeComputing
Technology
Georgia Wilson
2 min
Edge computing technology
69% of manufacturers are harnessing edge computing solutions in order to better acquire, analyse, and respond to critical data...

Latest results from IDC Research and Lumen Technologies’ survey data highlights a fast and disruptive change in manufacturing operations, attributed to the rise in automated facilities adopting IoT, smart sensors, AI and robotics.

The future of factory data management with edge computing

With 74% of operational data being acquired, analysed, and acted on inside the factory, IDC Research and Lumen Technologies report that “edge computing approaches put data processing and storage closer to the network edge where people, processes and items in motion reside.”

Manufacturers looking to gain a competitive advantage need to ensure they are continuously improving their process efficiency, which IDC Research and Lumen Technologies say data plays a key part in. 

Alongside data, edge computing also plays an essential role in process efficiency by connecting operational data and assets, complementing cloud computing and IoT.

"In manufacturing, a company cannot have a cloud strategy without an edge strategy. Edge computing can address the latency, reliability, and security requirements of industrial operations while opening the world of possibilities that remote connectivity offers. Edge computing use cases can increase Industry 4.0 maturity and support the resilient decision-making necessary to thrive in today's markets,” said Jonathan Lang, Research Manager, Worldwide IT/OT Convergence Strategies, IDC.

The benefits of edge computing

With this technology manufacturers can monitor overall equipment effectiveness across the factory floor via IOT and smart sensors. Coupling this with predictive maintenance tools, manufacturers can detect and fix potential problems before they occur. 

In addition to this edge computing can enable manufacturers to track and increase visibility across the supply chain, procurement, and inventory management in real time. 

“The industrial environment is changing faster than ever, and manufacturing resiliency relies on data for rapid and effective decisions. Edge computing will play an important role in any manufacturer's connectivity strategy in part to manage essential data,” said IDC Research and Lumen Technologies.

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Jun 8, 2021

IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery

IMF
Manufacturing
COVID19
Musk
Elise Leise
3 min
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that while markets are rising and manufacturing is coming back, it’ll push for global immunisation

After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022

Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery. 

Lingering Concerns Over COVID

Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high. 

Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery? 

IMF: Current Boom Could Falter

Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”. 

Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”. 

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.

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