Today, organizations around the US are turning their attention to the future of manufacturing.  Manufacturing Day (October 6) recognizes the critical role the industry plays in the county’s economy and workforce.

Across the US, manufacturing is viewed as an essential sector to economic growth: 76% of Americans say they think the country needs to make more investments in the manufacturing industry. The persistent myth is that American manufacturing is in decline. However, the reality is that factories have evolved to become more productive and are significant economic contributors when viewed across the entire value chain. As factories go digital, there’s a need for more technology, skilled workers, and processes that align to the shifting digital landscape. 88% of Americans say that manufacturing jobs will require a higher level of technical skills in the future.

While digitization introduces new challenges, it also brings a host of opportunities for innovation. Here are four technology-led areas we think will make the biggest impact.

  1. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): 95% of organizations plan to deploy IIoT capabilities in the next few years. For manufacturers, connected machines and devices mean better agility, less risk, and increased visibility into operations. IoT spending will hit $1.3 trillion by the year 2020, with smart manufacturing being the largest segment at 22%1

Learn more about the Industrial Internet of Things

  1. Better wireless technology: With better wireless comes better mobility across the factory floor. Instead of being confined to a control room, manufacturers can quickly act on data via handheld devices, and collaborate in real-time with remote experts. And technology advances are combatting traditional concerns with wireless. Today’s technology is more consistent, reliable, and secure, enabling low latency and high throughput. As manufacturers upgrade their networks to take advantage of today’s industrial wireless capabilities, they can expect to experience significant business benefits.

Learn more about industrial wireless

  1. Data-driven decision making – The rise of connected machinery and devices means that manufacturers can tap into their data and gain full visibility into the performance and working conditions of their machinery and assets. The result is improved, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) a reduction in downtime, faster new product introductions(NPI), and improved inventory turns.

Learn more about data management in digital manufacturing

  1. More collaboration between IT and OT: Traditional boundaries between IT and OT roles are blurring in the age of the digital factory. As these roles are reshaped, we see lots of room for better collaboration in areas such as fog computing, predictive maintenance, industrial wireless, and cybersecurity. As these two groups work more closely together, they’re unlocking new opportunities for manufacturing.

Learn more about IT/OT convergence in manufacturing

In the digital age, manufacturers will succeed when they’re connected, agile, and secure. And technology is leading the way. For more on digital manufacturing, explore our manufacturing site.

  • Source: IDC Dawn of the DX Economy and the New Tech Industry, doc #DR2017_GS1_FG, February 2017


Eric Ehlers

Marketing Manager

Manufacturing and Energy