By: Brian Moore
What is the “smart factory?” Many in the automation technology marketplace are asking – and B2B marketers are challenged to bring clarity and relevance to the issue.
There is a major technology shift underway in the automation technology marketplace – one that offers big challenges – and opportunities – to B2B marketers in that space.
One of the challenges is what to call this technology shift: “Smart Factory,” “Connected Industry,” “Industry 4.0” and the “Industrial Internet of Things” are all attempts to label or brand a series of fundamental changes in different types of manufacturing technologies and processes.
Another challenge is to define this technology shift. One automation supplier uses this explanation: “A merging of the virtual world of information technology, the physical world of manufacturing machines, and the power and potential of the Internet. Ultimately, these changes center on the integration of all areas of industry made possible by Information Technology.”
OK, that sounds pretty cool. Only what does it really mean?
Some in the automation industry question whether there’s actually a revolution going on at all. They argue that recent technology changes are simply the next step in machine-to-machine communication and automation system enhancement.
B2B marketers in this space need to clarify and build a stronger case for the premise that a new and significant era in automation technology is underway. We must help audiences throughout the automation marketplace get useful and productive insight into what is different and, more importantly, what it means for their markets and businesses.
Target audiences – technology and software providers, automation OEMs, discrete machine builders and manufacturing end users – seek to separate practical ideas from hype, so they can make forward-looking and productive decisions for their businesses.
Over the next several weeks, we will dive into several “smart factory”-related topics and potential B2B storylines. Topics we’ll discuss include:
Our goal is to provide insight and practical suggestions on ways B2B marketers can help clear up areas of confusion and drive development of relevant content to their customers.