With each passing year, newer technology trends never cease to amaze us. Advancements in technology have fueled automation in various manual processes, saving time, money, and making human lives simpler. This rate of change and subsequent adoption of technology will continue to ramp up in the years to come. Several recent advances include industrializing some popular consumer technology. This helps boost the ongoing convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) to support digital transformation. In 2018, there will be a rise in the acceptance of and growth of cybersecurity, augmented reality (AR), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-enabled solutions, edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and progress on the Open Process Automation (OPA) front.
Here are the top four technology trends that will have a significant impact on both process and discrete automation in 2018:
Advances in Industrial Cybersecurity Management
This year, we can expect additional advances in industrial cybersecurity management solutions to be deployed to address various requirements of industrial automation equipment, applications, and plants. Though these advances will incorporate commercial-type IT cybersecurity management solutions, it will be in a manner that limits any negative impacts on control system operation.
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Several top companies are increasingly betting on the melding of technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) with the real world to give users and businesses a world of so-called “mixed” reality (MR) experiences. New technologies are fueling the merging of the virtual and physical worlds, enabling the creation of new business models. Manufacturers are introducing new business models under which they sell digital services along with products. For instance, modern companies are attempting to produce digital twins, which are a virtual replication of an as-designed, as-built, and as-maintained physical product.
One of the most exciting technology trends in the age of Industry 4.0 and automation is the increasing presence of robotics on factory floors. While robots have been used in the manufacturing sector for decades, the continued development of robotics technologies has dramatically broadened the potential use cases for smart, industrial robots. Combined with levels of connectivity like never before and communication in industrial environments, the possibilities appear endless. In 2018, continued advancements in AI and automation will further accelerate this trend; however, many manufacturers might not follow suit as they might take longer to understand what type of intelligent robotics application will generate the most value for their organization.
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3D Printing Goes Big
3D printing is not one of the new technology trends. It has been around for over 30 years, but now they are used not only to make jewelry and toothbrushes but also football boots, racing-car parts, food products, guns, human organs, houses and aircraft parts. 3D printing belongs to a class of techniques known as additive manufacturing, or building objects layer by layer. The numerous utility that 3D printing provides is expected to make this one of the most popular technology trends in various industries in the years to come.