More than ever, cloud compute and intelligence platforms should be as close to the source of data at the outer ‘edges’ as possible. The importance of cloud-edges is further highlighted in their relationship with 5G, which forms a symbiotic association with cloud-edge as a technological evolution of the cloud. Cloud-edge implementations promise new growth for the telecom industry. Revenue from cloud-edge AI chipset sales is set to grow from US$2.6 billion in 2020 to US$12 billion in 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36 percent , finds global tech market advisory firm ABI Research.
The synthesis of cloud-edge and 5G presents an opportunity for communications service providers (CSPs) to provide complete end to end solutions for enterprise verticals. For example, with their robust connectivity and 5G assets, the likes of AT&T, Telefonica, Verizon, and Vodafone could move up the value chain to service enablement layer for IoT, analytics, and other horizontal capabilities. “A combination of cloud-edge compute and 5G ultra-reliable low latency connectivity is going to be the bedrock to propel post-COVID-19 growth. This growth is not just for telecoms, but also for a multitude of asset-heavy industries as they embrace digital-first processes and operations,” says Don Alusha, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.
At present, there is no “right” business model for cloud-edge deployments. A key strategy for vendors like MobiledgeX, Ericsson, and Nokia is to target their products at the circumstances in which enterprises find themselves, rather than to enterprises themselves. In other words, the critical unit of analysis must be existing operations and associated commercial circumstances, not the customer. There is a mass of enterprise requirements that must be satisfied with cloud-edge implementations that do not fit the ‘one-size-fits-all’ profile. The ability to deploy edge-clouds across dispersed sites and supply chains in a uniform fashion is bound to be the defining feature to accelerate edge-cloud diffusion. This is particularly significant in a post-COVID-19 world where local compute, 5G, and fiber will continue to be the foundation for continued innovation and value creation.
As telecoms look closely at current market dynamics for cloud-edge opportunities, the key is to understand where it stands in terms of existing assets and complementary control points. The market for cloud-edge deployments promises growth, but it is composed of a plethora of players and technologies which must be intimately understood. At present, the industry does not have all the answers but should realize the choke points in the near term to obtain growth in the long run. For example, CSPs need a clear sense of the industry or industries) they currently serve and what additional opportunity falls within the boundary of cloud-edge as they take the lead to rejuvenate the global economy post-COVID-19.
“Lastly, hyper scale providers like Amazon and Microsoft are taking advantage of their lean operations to launch their cloud-edge offering. They have the vision to build capabilities close to the edge, but they do not necessarily have the penetration and distribution of network capabilities that CSPs have. Clearly, there is an opportunity to be addressed by somebody, but the jury is still out on who captures what parts of the emerging cloud-edge and 5G ecosystem,” Alusha concludes.
The global smart manufacturing market is expected to reach $573 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 13 percent during the 2020–2027 forecast period, according to Acumen Research and Consulting.
Smart manufacturing is a method to automate manufacture of products and transaction processes. Intelligent manufacturing requires the use of automation devices and the purpose of this phase is to use information technology (IT) to support the global economy. This output reduces the workload and makes the process more efficient.
The smart manufacturing network enables the usage of integrated equipment for automated processing of the manufacturing company. These development markets are growing due to various sectors, like automobile or process manufacturers, such as chemicals and oil and gas. Smart manufacturing reduces depletion and increases manufacturing performance significantly—thus increasing productivity and resulting in long-term cost advantages.
The key driving factor in the growth of the smart manufacturing market is the advances in technology and the development of more innovative technologies and products, including cloud computing, sensors, robots, 3D printing, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), among others.
Another major factor that is having a significant effect on market growth is the significant developments undertaken by technology suppliers as well as businesses to introduce innovative technologies to maximize productivity minimize manufacturing errors and automate processes.
Some of the most important factors for smart manufacturing development are the positive influence of policy programs and investments in supporting smart manufacturing. It is anticipated it will continue to boost growth in both developed and developing economies. For instance, the China 2025 Made in China Plan will spend more than $3 trillion in advanced manufacturing.
Another significant factor that is projected to fuel the demand growth of smart manufacturing is the increasing emphasis among manufacturers on real-time data analysis. This is to increase visibility in terms of predictive system maintenance, in order to prevent repairs during operations.
Here’s a look at how cloud computing is transforming metalworking. Article by John Young, EU Automation.
Metalworking has played a pivotal role in the evolution of mankind, so much so that there are entire periods of history named after metals. While the Iron and Bronze Ages are behind us, society is framed by a whole other frontier of technology — The Information Age. But can the legacy of metalworking and the evolution of digitalisation work in unison?
Despite its deep-rooted history, metal fabrication remains an essential process in modern manufacturing. Rising urbanisation and industrialisation, burgeoning automotive and aerospace industries and new advancements in metal forming are just some of the many reasons why metalworking faces increased demand and expanding production.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) hits the shop floor, insight into its vast network of communicating machinery is accompanied by an ever-increasing access to the internet. The more machines ‘talk’, the more information they produce and as we enter the dawn of a data-driven era, managing this information is integral to its value.
Up in the Air
Also called ‘The Cloud’, cloud computing refers to software applications that run on remote servers instead of a user’s onsite IT infrastructure. The on-demand computing resource is gaining significant traction across industries that are looking to easily manage and access their data from anywhere in the world.
Regions all over the world are beginning to adopt the technology—and the Asia-Pacific region is no exception to the trend. In fact, the APAC region has been keen to reap the benefits of cloud computing across many of its industries.
Established in 2010, the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) represents the stakeholders of Asia’s cloud computing ecosystem and works to accelerate the growth of the technology across the region. According to ACCA’s 2018 Cloud Readiness Index (CRI), Singapore is APAC’s most cloud-ready region and, alongside Hong Kong, is a global leader in cloud readiness. Far ahead of larger economies such as the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, Singapore represents the APAC region’s swift adoption of the technology.
Blue Skies Beyond
Effective implementation of cloud computing goes beyond connecting your shop floor devices to the sky—it means connecting your shop floor to the rest of the business. With one accurate record on hand, employees, suppliers and partners can all refer to a single source of reliable information to increase consistency.
The innate scalability of cloud computing means that manufacturers can easily accommodate changes and growth to their projects. Resources can be leveraged on a pay-as-you-go or on-demand basis, which gives access to additional assets when required and without the need to invest in an expensive network of internal infrastructure.
Cloud computing can also accommodate product development with ease by facilitating collaboration with engineers and other members of the product development team much earlier in the design process, reducing the time frame from conception to launch.
Pass the Test
Quality often overtakes quantity in metal working, as errors can jeopardise both the function and appearance of products. One hurdle that manufacturers in the metal industry need to overcome is passivity.
Stainless steel doesn’t rust—in theory. Stainless steel is often corrosion resistant, but that doesn’t mean that it is completely impervious to rusting. To combat corrosion, the metal undergoes a treatment process known as passivation, which involves using an acidic solution to remove the free iron from the metal’s surface.
Once the surface iron is removed, the other components of the alloy—namely chromium and nickel—are left behind as a surface layer over the steel. Once these elements react with air, they form a protective oxide layer that prevents the steel from rusting.
More frequently, customers are asking for a passivity guarantee to ensure the quality of their steel. But measuring, verifying and reporting on an invisible layer of protective coating can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. During testing, a section of steel that has undergone the same treatment as the end product is sent for verification from an independent lab.
However, concluding that the results from this sample are the same as those of the finished component is little more than an assumption—leaving manufacturers with little choice but to hope that the product passes the test. What’s more, receiving the test results can take hours, which could delay shipping if correction is required.
Cloud computing can provide a solution. With the help of a wireless tester, smartphone and cloud-based technology, data can be captured and reported from any location. Not only can IoT-enabled remote testing speed up the passivity process, but uploading the results to the cloud means that they can be shared with other departments and customers in an instant.
One surface technology company has already developed a cloud-based solution to streamline passivity testing. Walter Surface Technologies helps machine shops and fabricators leverage IoT technology with its cloud-based passivation app, which allows technicians to chart oxidation levels of stainless steel to measure its passivation state and seamlessly communicate it with the company’s customers.
Perhaps one of the best uses of the cloud is as part of asset maintenance. Sensors that collect data on the health of equipment can send this information to the cloud for analysis. There, a streaming data processor transmits the sensor data to storage, otherwise known as a data lake.
The data is still raw at this point, so may contain irrelevant items. To turn the data into insightful information, it is sent to the big data warehouse where it is analysed with machine learning algorithms. These algorithms reveal correlations in datasets and detect any abnormal patterns.
This data collected can then be fed back into planned predictive maintenance (PPM) schemes and remote monitoring of equipment. Unlike reactive maintenance, which involves waiting for a piece of machinery to break, PPM can be used ahead of time to prevent breakdowns and downtime.
For example, a brake press used to bend sheet metal into complex shapes requires accurate control for precise bending. To maintain a high level of product quality, it is crucial that all the machines’ components are in perfect working order.
Let’s say a motor in the brake press is running at an abnormally high temperature. Data in the cloud would be able to flag this abnormality to prompt plant managers to get in touch with a parts supplier such as EU Automation before a breakdown occurs, drastically reducing the amount of associated downtime.
The days of the Bronze Age are long gone—but there’s no questioning that we’re in the golden age of digital manufacturing. Cloud computing boasts several benefits that allow the technology to deliver a scalable and insightful solution to a variety of industries. Metalworking may be one of society’s most ancient processes, but cloud-based solutions can help breathe life into the sector by monitoring its core processes, improving product quality and providing workers with actionable insight to increase efficiency.
Outlook For Cloud Computing Market Based on findings by Allied Market Research, the global cloud services market was valued at USD 209.9 billion in 2014 but by 2020, it is expected to hit a value of USD 555 million with a CAGR of 17.6 percent for a forecast period of 2014-2020.
Briefly, cloud computing refers to the use of remote servers which are hosted on the internet to manage data rather than on a local server or a personal computer and it is used to refer to a common storage space through which all devices in a network can access data simultaneously. This means that cloud computing provides manufacturers with a cost effective means to access data at any time and from any location and it has been observed that companies can save more than 35 percent of annual operating costs when cloud computing is deployed.
Thus, the major driving force for the cloud computing market is cost effectiveness although factors such as functional capabilities and the increased adoption of cloud computing among small and medium enterprises have also contributed to market growth. However, the adoption of public and hybrid models of the cloud are lower due to the threat of data breaches and data leakages and this brings into effect the importance of cybersecurity in ensuring continued market growth.
CHINA: Amid the economic strain that the US-China Trade War has caused, it has also resulted in unique business transformations and immense Chinese technological evolution. An example of which would be Jack Ma, co-founder and executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Holding’s vision of New Manufacturing. A novel concept that utilises the Internet Of Things (IoT), cloud computing , artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to mass create highly customised consumer products in a market that is fast leaning towards personalisation.
Additionally, through the integration of New Manufacturing and New Retail, online and offline retail experiences can be connected to and funneled towards the manufacturing pipeline to ensure that consumer feedback are quickly relayed to manufacturing operations, outputs and inventory stocking. A proposition that Ma predicts will drive the Chinese economy forward and reinforces his statement that “If we use machines and data, to integrate and digitalise, we will change the economy”.
Hence, in the face of rising tariffs from the trade war, Ma’s vision alongside the Chinese government’s “Made in China 2025” industrial master plan aims to reduce the digital gap between China and the West and ultimately, minimise China’s dependecy on imported technologies. A goal that Alibaba is striving towards through strategic partnerships, the establishment of new technology companies as well as acquisitions – as most recently seen by the company’s progress in semiconductor R&D and its production of its own CK902 series of smart chips. A “core technology” that Ma strongly believes should be made locally as China has the largest number of internet users in the world.
What are some key concerns for adopting cloud computing platforms for manufacturers? By Thomson Matthews, software product manager, Anca
There is lots of buzz around the cloud, a key technology driving a new era of smart manufacturing. Some potential adopters have questions about the justifications for and security issues around adoption, but these can be easily addressed.
The cloud computing megatrend has been hard to miss for consumers or businesses. Cloud-enabled platforms have transformed everything from transportation to accommodation, and helped create some of the world’s most valuable companies. As a matter of fact, 1.65 million business people rely on cloud data day-in and day-out.
Adoption by enterprises has been swift. Technology research firm Gartner published a report in February predicting the pace of growth in public cloud services would reach its peak this year at 18 percent, with a total value of US$246.8 billion. Companies were pursuing cloud strategies, said the firm, due to the “multidimensional value of cloud services, including values such as agility, scalability, cost benefits, innovation and business growth.”
Despite these and other benefits, manufacturers appear to be slower adopters than those in other sectors. An Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report published last year notes that “manufacturing appears to have something of a late start in cloud”. Adoption, however, was predicted to increase “significantly and rapidly”. The report’s respondents predicted that this reluctance will fade, and 71 percent expected cloud would be a major factor within manufacturing in five years.
In CNC machining and other types of manufacturing, the adoption of cloud computing —collecting data from many devices at one point—will be transformative, allowing intelligent, autonomous decisions throughout supply chains.
The cloud is one of the “nine pillars” making up Industry 4.0, and critical for the “Internet of Things” trend, which McKinsey predicts will create nearly five trillion US dollars in value in business-to-business settings annually by 2025.
Benefits Of Cloud Computing
Networked production comes with a number of benefits. A connected bank of CNC grinding machines, with real-time analytics presented through a browser, enables operators to see which machine is doing what and where there might be bottlenecks.
Capacity can be optimised through floating work orders, enabling a company to get the most out of their investment and to juggle smartly.
With collected data, we can use machine learning algorithms to analyse machine performance, learn when and how a machine will fail, and trigger preventive maintenance actions before failure occurs. Downtime can be minimised, with maintenance notification software-based alerts telling an operator when there is a problem and allowing them to intervene early. Predictive rather than reactive maintenance brings obvious benefits.
Cloud-based communications can help alleviate the burden by eliminating maintenance, IT workload, and some of the costlier internal infrastructure, including servers and storage systems. Manufacturers do not have to worry about data backup in case of system failure and power consumption can also be cut.
There are some enduring negative ideas that are inhibiting cloud adoption in manufacturing.
Intellectual property security is high on this list. However, it is easy to get alerts in cloud systems on potentially problematic activity based on behavioural analysis, for example if a worker is attempting a forbidden download from a machine.
Secondly, cloud vendors provide data centre-grade security to customers. The credibility of a company like Amazon as a vendor depends on—among other things—the integrity of data security they can provide. Also, if you already share workplace data using, for example, Dropbox, then guess what? You are already using a cloud service.
There might also be concerns around viruses, though this should not be a problem where there are only outbound flows of data.
Another reservation might be around cloud or vendor exit strategies. Both will be clearly covered in the terms and conditions when subscribing to a new service. Cloud offering from companies such as Anca, for example, allows customers to export data at any time from on-premise to cloud or vice-versa.
Many of the concerns around using IoT cloud services have been seen previously in the world of cloud-based mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) software, and these have faded over time. Nowadays, offering MCAD in the cloud is pretty much essential for vendors, and it has driven benefits to customers including but not limited to performance, scalability, and cost.
Making Informed Decisions
The value of cloud-based connectivity on the factory floor will continue to grow as the Industry 4.0 movement accelerates. Right now, users can immediately gain from better planning, based on informed decisions, based on data.
The EIU report mentioned above cites three waves of adoption for transformative technologies.
First comes cost reduction. Then there is doing what has been done now, better.
The third wave, though, “is the most fascinating—the creation of unforeseen, wholly new opportunities that no one planned for or expected.”