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Smart Factory survey


Smart Factory survey

A Europe-wide survey of over 200 manufacturers with more than 500 employees shows that deployment of Smart Factory initiatives is currently running at around 63% and is set to grow rapidly over the next five years. The research was commissioned by industry analyst firm teknowlogy Group and edge computing solution provider Stratus Technologies. It shows that nearly one in two respondents (45%) reports a return on their investment in less than one year and almost two thirds (66%) rank Smart Factory as 7 out of 10 or higher on their list of strategic priorities.

Richard Sharod, Vice President EMEA, Stratus Technologies said, “Smart Factory initiatives are driving new levels of efficiency and profitability for industry as the business case for deployment gets stronger and stronger. This research demonstrates a desire among respondents to improve systems, outputs and quality while driving down costs, but also highlights the challenges that are holding back industry-wide deployment.”

As with any new technology, the research also highlights that the biggest challenges with Smart Factory projects start with deployment. Over half (58%) of respondents stated that the cost of investment was a barrier to Smart Factory technology adoption along with just under one in two (48%) who were struggling to build a business case, while 47% of responders said a lack of skills was holding back their Smart Factory projects.

Implementations on the factory floor are one of several areas proving to be complex. Of those that are some way along their journey to achieving Smart Factory solutions, less than one in ten (9%) analyse more than 75% of the data they hold, which suggests that the full benefits of Smart Manufacturing are yet to be exploited. This is likely to be in part due to the skills required for data analysis being in short supply, but there is also a question of where in a company the responsibility for analysis falls.

Looking to the future, respondents provided key insight to the movement of data and the distribution of computing, a factor which may help identify the right place for data analysis. “While data analytics for Smart Factory today is typically in an on-premises data centre (46%), that is set to change. In only five years’ time, data analysed at the edge of the network will make up 35% of all data analysis, more than doubling what it is currently (14%), and bringing more analytical responsibility to operational engineers,” said JC Bodhuin, Senior Vice President at teknowlogy Group.
Greg Hookings, Head of Business Development – EMEA for Stratus, suggests: “This movement of data computing and analytics from the data centre to the edge environment is indicative of a continuing convergence of the roles of IT and OT in the delivery of Smart Factory technologies. Edge Computing platforms are becoming much simpler to deploy, with more autonomous functionality and inbuilt security, allowing OT to play a larger role in delivering Smart Factory improvements. We believe that this will help many industrial enterprises to adopt Smart Factory approaches more quickly and effectively in the months and years ahead.

The full report can be downloaded at:


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