IDC TechScape Offers Manufacturers a Roadmap to the Future Factory


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The venerable factory is an important competitive weapon in the digital economy. Smart manufacturing programs can deliver financial benefits that are tangible and auditable. More importantly, it transitions the production function from one that is capacity centric to one that is capability centric and able to serve global markets and discerning customers. A new IDC Manufacturing Insights report, IDC TechScape: Worldwide Smart Manufacturing Technologies, 2015 (Doc #259290), focuses on technology adoption within the industry for smart manufacturing and assesses key technologies that are driving evolution beyond the current industry technology best practices of today.

IDC Manufacturing Insights groups the technologies involved in smart manufacturing into four main categories:

  • Data acquisition:  Data acquisition involves the capture of information on the factory floor. This might include human-based recording via devices or unattended capture via sensors.
  • Connectivity:  Relates to the data networking that moves data from the acquisition device to systems that process the information. The connectivity is bidirectional as data is also moved to the edge of the network. Connectivity includes both wired and wireless networks.
  • Analytics:  Acquiring and moving data is an important foundation for the smart factory, but the most immediate value will be delivered in terms of how companies use that data. Technologies that help manufacturing firms understand what happened (retrospective), what is happening (perspective), and what might happen (predictive) will translate to a factory network that is more responsive to market needs.
  • Actuation: Once the data is acquired, communicated, and analyzed, companies would like to initiate action without human intervention. If analytics represents the best opportunity for immediate value, this autonomic operational potential represents the greatest long-term value proposition. It will separate those that view factories as competitive weapons to deliver a better customer experience from those that see production facilities as a necessary operational burden.

According to Robert Parker, Group Vice President and General Manager of IDC Retail, Energy, and Manufacturing Insights, "Whatever you call the vision — smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, or the future factory — achieving the next generation of cyberphysical production requires a number of technologies to come together. In this IDC TechScape, we identify the key technologies, categorize their relative impact, and provide insight into how they should be deployed. Clients can use this report to build a more effective road map to the future factory."

The IDC TechScape model is designed specifically to capture progress in the adoption of emerging disruptive technologies, mainstream technology buyer alignment with current industry best practices, and support technologies that promise to deliver operational advantages to organizations that choose to adopt them. IDC expects that manufacturing executives will use the IDC TechScape model to do the following:

  • Assess the progress of their own technology adoption efforts in comparison to the industry overall
  • Identify new technologies that should be added to their technology road map
  • Add new insights to increase the robustness of their own technology decision framework

About IDC TechScapes

IDC TechScapes mitigate technology risk by helping organizations align their tolerance for risk with the anticipated maturation of a technology.

About IDC Manufacturing Insights

IDC Manufacturing Insights assists manufacturing businesses and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who serve them in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing asset intensive, brand oriented, technology oriented, and engineering oriented manufacturing industries. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology, media, research, and events company.

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