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Digital Consciousness and the Future

Feb. 27, 2020
In 2070, proficiency with the digital thread will be the governor of competitive advantage.

Part of the series 2070: A Manufacturing Odyssey

The industrial world is transforming rapidly, and digital technology is the enabler. With computing power doubling regularly, it might seem impossible to project how this will impact manufacturing 50 years out, but certain decisions that organizations make today will determine whether they will be around and making things that our grandchildren need and want.

Companies must focus on having—continuously—a technologically savvy employee base, hiring and grooming the talent that will enable them to take full advantage of technology as it emerges and develops. Today this means a workforce with the skills to prove the potential of technologies including cloud computing, edge computing, additive manufacturing, model-based systems engineering and AI.

While the names of tomorrow’s technologies remain unwritten, there is perhaps one prediction that will persist through IndustryWeek’s 100th anniversary: Proficiency with the “Digital Thread” will be the governor of competitive advantage. I mean an organization’s ability to maintain a gap-free, full-fidelity digital consciousness of everything related to its products, processes and customers, and all the intermediate and extensive steps in the value chain. Today we talk about a “digital twin” of product, process and production. This is the necessary foundation. Tomorrow everything is likely to have its digital twin. And I am really very curious about all the things that our grandchildren will learn to do in that environment.

Batra is president, Siemens Digital Industries USA.

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