Slowly but steadily, pressure is building for industrial companies to come to grips with the fact that technology-enabled disruptive change is here. This creates tension in most companies, because the culture in many industries is quite conservative when it comes to innovation. Product designers may be keen to innovate in their traditional areas of expertise, yet still be reluctant to consider new designs that rely on software and enhanced connectivity. Production groups find it difficult to justify even the time it takes to consider new ways of operating, and making do with aging production systems and techniques is the norm. So when a company’s visionaries talk about ‘Internet of Things’ or ‘Industrie 4.0′ AI, or other terms for technology-enabled digital transformation, they are taking a risk. But are they right? To be sure, there’s plenty of hype in the market. It’s easy to find incredible claims about “xx billions of connected devices” or “yy trillions of dollars.” On the other hand are the naysayers who dismiss the trends saying “we’ve been doing it for years” or “we’ll never do that?” You can even find surveys from respectable firms that say “half of manufacturing executives don’t know about IoT” or some other comforting statistic. We’re not the only ones, you think. Maybe it’s not real. And if it is, it looks like I’ve got plenty of time to figure it out. Wrong. That building pressure comes from the growing gap between two forces: The exponential growth of computing technologies, and the linear thinking and inertia of humans and human systems. And that pressure is akin to tectonic pressure building at a fault line: the changes are barely noticeable for a long time, until a seismic shift unleashes a massive change. This pressure derives from what Ray Kurzweil calls the law of […]
Organisations implement digital twins to understand and predict their energy consumption and emissions. According to the ‘Digital Twins: Adding Intelligence to the Real World’ report from the Capgemini Research Institute, 60 per cent of organisations across major sectors are leaning on digital twins1 as a catalyst to not only improve operational performance, but also to fulfil their sustainability agenda. By being able to simulate the physical world, digital twins can help organisations to better utilise resources, reduce carbon emissions, optimise supply and transportation networks, as well as increase employee safety. The report reveals that digital twin implementations are set to increase by 36 per cent on average over the next five years. This indicates a growing appetite for digital twin technology across all major industries, such as automotive, aerospace, life sciences, and energy and utilities among others, driven by organisations looking to advance their digital transformation journeys and adding intelligence to operations along the value chain. Organisations surveyed reported that cost-saving benefits (79 per cent) and technological advancement (77 per cent) are key drivers of their digital twin investments. The research also found that 57 per cent of organisations agree that digital twin technology is pivotal to improving sustainability efforts, which reflects the growing trend of businesses keen to deliver on their Environmental Social Governance (ESG) promises. Digital twins offer flexible ways of working to mitigate risks and extend collaboration, thereby providing a unique opportunity to increase profitability while optimising the use of resources along the value chain. Over one third (34 per cent) of organisations surveyed reported having already implemented digital twins at scale to understand and predict their energy consumption and emissions. Consumer products and energy and utilities industries are leading the way in this use case, with 52 per cent and 50 per cent respectively utilising the […]
– by Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller and Vikram Malhotra From the world’s most influential management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, an insight-packed, revelatory look at how the best CEOs do their jobs based on extensive interviews with today’s most successful corporate leaders—including chiefs at Netflix, JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, and Sony. Being a CEO at any of the world’s largest companies is among the most challenging roles in business. Billions, and even trillions, are at stake—and the fates of tens of thousands of employees often hang in the balance. Yet, even when “can’t miss” high-achievers win the top job, very few excel. Thirty percent of Fortune 500 CEOs last fewer than three years, and two out of five new CEOs are perceived to be failing within eighteen months. For those who shoulder the burden of being the one on whom everyone counts, a manual for excellence is sorely needed. To identify the 21st century’s best CEOs, the authors of CEO Excellence started with a pool of over 2400 public company CEOs. Extensive screening distilled that group into an elite corps, sixty-seven of whom agreed to in-depth, multi-hour interviews. Among those sharing their views: Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Kazuo Hirai (Sony), Ken Chenault (American Express), Mary Barra (GM), and Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Nestlé). What came out of those frank, no-holds-barred conversations is a rich array of mindsets and actions that deliver outsized performance. Compelling, practical, and unprecedented in scope, CEO Excellence is a treasure trove of wisdom from today’s most elite business leaders.
As 2022 kicks off, predictions abound on the technology advancements and innovations expected in the year ahead. However, several highly anticipated advancements, including the metaverse, mainstream companion robots, a boom in edge computing, and a bounce back in new vehicle sales will NOT happen in 2022, states global technology intelligence firm, ABI Research. In its new whitepaper, 70 Technology Trends That Will—and Will Not—Shape 2022, ABI Research analysts identify 35 trends that will shape the technology market and 35 others that, although attracting huge amounts of speculation and commentary, are less likely to move the needle over the next twelve months. “The fallout from Covid-19 prevention measures, the process of transitioning from pandemic to endemic disease, and global political tensions weigh heavily on the coming year’s fortunes. “This whitepaper is a tool for readers to help shape their understanding of the key critical trends that look set to materialise in 2022 as the world begins to emerge from the shadow of Covid-19. It also highlights those much-vaunted trends that are less likely to have meaningful impact in 2022,” says Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research. What won’t happen in 2022? The metaverse will not arrive fully formed Despite all the headlines and investments, the metaverse will not arrive in 2022 or, for that matter, within the typical 5-year forecast window. The metaverse is still more of a buzzword and vision than a fully-fledged end goal with a defined arrival date. What we have today is a number of tech companies building their version of a “metaverse,” but this multiverse is not fully interconnected, does not yet widely employ open standards, and certainly has not fully embraced Extended Reality (XR)—all tenets of the metaverse vision (some would also add the crypto economy to the list, which is also not in place). The exponential boom […]
SYSPRO has announced new research into CFO 4.0, which reveals that the manufacturing CFO will play a critical strategic, innovative and financial role in the business moving forward. The study, which was conducted in July to September 2021 and led by SYSPRO, assessed the sentiment amongst senior level Chief Financial Officers within manufacturing sectors across the Americas, APAC and EMEA. The participants encompassed financial leaders across both SMEs and larger enterprises, indicating that these results reflect the insights of a wide range of players in the Manufacturing and Distribution space. The diversification of business operations The study revealed that the disruptions caused by the pandemic played a catalytic role in the diversification of manufacturing businesses. In order to thrive, 65% of CFO respondents surveyed indicated that they have shifted expenditure into new markets, product lines and technologies. Drilling down further, the SYSPRO survey found: 33% of businesses expanded into new markets 29% of businesses innovated through the introduction of a new production line 39% of businesses will explore new routes to markets such as eCommerce channels In order to enable the diversification of business models, 29% of CFOs indicated that they would invest further into R&D. Building and securing a digital future When asked about future areas of investment to ensure continued success, 56% of CFO respondents indicated that they would be investing in warehouse automation, 37% of respondents confirmed that they would investigate migration to cloud-based services and 37% would be exploring SMART technologies including 3D printing, IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence. 47% of CFOs also indicated that they will be investing in ERP to increase visibility, enhance transparency and data-driven decision making. Winning the war for talent When exploring the key reasons behind business disruptions in 2021, it comes as no surprise that 43% of respondents […]
The custom recovery jaws will assist HEART with underwater recovery missions. Blueprint Lab, an Australian robotics manufacturer, has developed custom jaws for their Alpha robotic arm which will allow for greater grip on fabric when resurfacing underwater drowning victims. This tool was developed for the Hutterian Emergency Aquatic Rescue Team (HEART). HEART are a volunteer group of certified divers from Manitoba, Canada who specialise in emergency water search, rescue and recovery. Using a combination of highly-skilled human divers and specialised technology, they are able to recover victims of tragic drowning accidents from the waterways of their region, including arctic underwater environments. The HEART operators have been using Blueprint Lab’s Reach Alpha subsea robotic grabber to assist them in recovery missions but were having trouble with the intense grip stability required to resurface deceased victims. They got creative and temporarily installed a makeshift DIY nail modification to their grabber in the short term, and then approached Blueprint Lab for an engineered solution. Blueprint Lab’s engineering team began developing and testing a grabber upgrade that would fulfil these specific task requirements, resulting in a new tool specialised for Search and Recovery – the Reach Alpha Special Recovery Tool. As well as looking the part, the Special Recovery Tool is strong, sturdy, and sharp making it an effective solution for HEART’s requirements. The Blueprint Lab team are thrilled to have worked with HEART to ensure their continued mission success. Always keen to rise to the operational challenges faced by partners and customers no matter how unique or challenging. “Here at HEART Team we use the Blueprint Lab manipulator on our VideoRay Pro 5 ROV for body recoveries. We had an opportunity to speak with the folks from Blueprint Lab about our work and the need for a grabber that is more suitable for […]
Young Scientists do their thing. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted science’s vital role in society. Science will provide us with an “exit strategy” from the pandemic when a vaccine is finally developed but until then, scientists are helping to understand the origins of the virus, how it spreads, what treatment(s) are most effective and indeed if a cure is possible. Scientists have maximum visibility right now as different groups of people turn to them looking for answers. Covid-19 aside, science proposes solutions to the myriad of other global challenges facing society, from climate change to cybersecurity, poverty to pandemics, and food technologies to fracking. That’s part of the reason why the World Economic Forum created the Young Scientists Community in 2008, to engage leaders with science and the role it plays in society. Science is no longer a specialist concern. It is the driving force behind the highest-level decisions on global governance and policy-making, while also informing the individual choices people make about how they want to live and what changes they want to make. Image: Pew Research Center Today we announce our Class of 2020 Young Scientists, representing 25 exceptional researchers at the forefront of scientific discovery from 14 countries across the world. From chemical oceanography to child psychology and artificial intelligence, these brilliant young academics are joining a community whose aims are to: Communicate cutting-edge research and position science discourse within the context of scientific evidence. Develop leadership skills and a fuller understanding of global, regional and industry agendas. Build a diverse global community of next-generation scientific leaders, committed to engaging in collaborations related to collectively identified issues. What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak? By joining Forum events, engaging in personal and professional learning modules and sharing experiences with each other, we’re looking […]
Hypertherm has released Robotmaster Version 7.4. This offline robot programming software version contains several enhancements designed to further simplify robotic programming, including: Major enhancements to Remote Tool Center Point (RTCP) that allow for an improved end user experience and exploit the full capabilities of any robotic cell. Additions to the surface paths with added strategies and advanced tools for applications such as polishing, grinding, deburring and more. The surface paths are designed to tie-in perfectly with the enhancements to RTCP or traditional configurations for robotic finishing. Faster processing times when saving, loading, and calculating jobs, plus improved real time feedback during simulation for faster part programming times. Enhancement to the Robotmaster Interactive Simulation Environment (RISE), delivering a more realistic simulation for external axes, along with tools to better control motion between the robot and external axes. “With Robotmaster V7.4 we’ve responded to our customer base with features and enhancements that we believe take a big step forward,” explained Garen Cakmak, leader of Hypertherm’s Robotic Software team. “Take the RTCP improvements as an example. These will allow users to realize more value from their robotic cell investment.” Building upon the redesigned V7 architecture, first introduced in 2018, Robotmaster uses integrated CAD/CAM functionality to make robotic programming easy and intuitive for everyone, even first-time users. The software is used by a wide range of industries to program robots for tasks that include surfacing, 3D milling, additive manufacturing, welding, painting, and more.
David Tuffley,Senior Lecturer in Applied Ethics and Sociotechnical Studies, School of ICT., Griffith University We have all heard the dire predictions about robots coming to steal our jobs. Some would even have us believe these silicon bogeymen are coming to kill us. It plays straight into people’s darkest fears about technology. When futurists talk about things that haven’t happened yet, they are free to parade educated guesses as fact. But before we take their word for it, we might remember the adage: … in God we trust, all others bring data. In a recent article, the MIT Technology Review tabulated the results of “every study we could find on what automation will do to jobs”. The results show that the expected impacts depend on what you measure. Many predictions, little agreement Of the 19 reports considered in the review, there was enormous variation. Some predicted that a few million jobs would be replaced, while others spoke portentously of tens or hundreds of millions over similar time frames. Some were decidedly upbeat, others quite gloomy. One futurist went so far as to forecast that a billion jobs will be lost to automation by 2022. Contrast this with the more sober prediction from the research and advisory group Gartner of 1.8 million jobs lost by 2020, but with 2.3 million created in the same period – a net increase of 500,000 over the next two years. Why such a big difference? In truth, no one knows how many jobs will be lost and found in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The situation is too complex for simple answers. Variations in predictions can be likened to the parable of the five blind men encountering an elephant. By touching different parts of the elephant’s body, each came to a different conclusion as to what the beast is. Technology anxiety is nothing new […]
People are concerned about robots. Ever since a computer system defeated chess champion Gary Kasparov 20 years ago, public perceptions of progress in artificial intelligence (AI) research have been defined in terms of high-profile competitions pitting human against thinking machine. Anxiety is high about what the ultimate consequences could be. In the wake of Deep Blue’s triumph, other machines powered by AI have racked up momentous victories against human opponents in the game show Jeopardy and, most recently, against the world champion Go player. The latest version of Google’s AlphaGo software taught itself to play the strategy board game without any human help at all. The debate among leaders, technologists, futurists, employees of all stripes is on the profound impact AI will have on our workplace, our societies, our lives. The scale of this impact is hotly debated. Could machines replace us? Could they actually take over? There are smart minds on all sides of this issue. Some, like Professor Stephen Hawking, believe AI’s rise represents an existential threat. He told a BBC radio audience: “I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Others believe the rise of automation represents a veritable utopia made possible by smart machines. Optimism is a free stimulus in any country. In that spirit, this evolution could create massive potential for the human race. Any way you look at it, one thing is clear: there is nothing to be gained by hand-wringing about a dystopian future that we have the power to avoid. Let’s create the future we want to live in. Even in divisive times like these, we see human qualities such as ingenuity, kindness, innovation, and creativity rise up, take hold and gain unstoppable momentum. It is possible to create a world where AI benefits humanity, […]