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Factory of the Future...

You may have heard how the “Internet of Things” will change how devices and appliances will work and interact, a new study released by Accenture Consulting describes how a “Connected Industrial Workforce” will drive significant gains in productivity in factories by connecting workers and machines.  Additionally, a connected workforce could improve operational efficiency and enhance safety and risk management.

What is a Connected Industrial Workforce?  According to Accenture, it’s a factory that would include technologies such as collaborative robots (or cobots), augmented reality devices (“smart” glasses and helmets relaying data to workers and sending it back to a central hub), smarter machines (equipment that talks to workers and other machines), and the souped-up IT infrastructure that would be needed to run all this.

Organizations are expected to increase investments in cobots and augmented reality devices over the next five years.  According to a survey of 500 executives in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, 85% of those polled expect the concept of a Connected Industrial Workforce to be commonplace in factories by 2020.  Security concerns and the lack of skilled workers are the two main obstacles that need to be addressed if a Connected Industrial Workforce is going to become commonplace.


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