What if your organization’s inventory and delivery systems autonomously varied order size in real time, depending on requirement, to reduce waste? What if sensors could detect changes in strain and temperature to assess structural wear and tear? The advent of smart systems means these situations are no longer hypothetical.
In recent years, rapid technological development has dramatically changed the way we live our lives. Also drastically changing is consumer behaviour, along with shifts in consumption and delivery platforms. Innovation, and not mere invention, at the intersection of technologies is crucial to capitalizing on these shifts. A constant and pressing challenge to industrial innovation, however, has been the adaptation of human knowledge acquisition to the machine world. But we are now at a stage of development where technology and manufacturing capabilities have enabled us to create smart systems – capable of decision making, contextual data awareness, and self learning.
Smart systems combine segments of human cognition with machine accuracy. Bringing applications ranging from manufacturing, construction, and healthcare to aerospace and ICT, they are dynamic and versatile. The increasing adoption of smart systems in all these sectors can be attributed to the fact that smart systems can alleviate pressing global challenges like waste, medical care, and man-induced climate change. For instance, a self-improving, smart manufacturing line can rectify mistakes and build processes based on real-time data to optimize resource consumption through an organic learning process. From artificial organs to drug dispensing devices that communicate with hospital networks remotely and autonomously, the healthcare sector is leading the adoption of smart systems. Smart devices in healthcare allowing chronic diseases to be monitored in real-time for well-informed, timely treatment are freely available in the market today. In fact, reports suggest that the healthcare and fitness sectors will account for over 50 percent of the smart devices shipped this year. Furthermore, smart systems also greatly reduce our impact on the environment. Smart cars that are virtually emission-free and smarter homes that are designed to minimize their ecological impact are examples of smart systems that progressively reduce environmental damage.
The reducing size and increasing power of sensors and other smart system components is paving the way for smart system integration – where a combination of various smart systems is deployed. This will increase the viability of the Internet of Things, where every object and person on the planet is connected to the Internet. The proliferation of smart systems will have a profound effect on talent acquisition and management too. As evidenced by history, when systems get smarter, people need to follow suit. By automating repetitive tasks such as reporting, data collection, and maintenance, these newly streamlined, multidimensional business processes will also mobilize the workforce into adding value. Aside from the ability to track every aspect of consumer and device behaviour, organizations can now eliminate waste, decrease costs through predictive maintenance, and focus on innovation through structural efficiency and robust processes.
Analytical ability, adaptability and predictive prowess are now as important to the business process as efficiency and productivity. Once organizations are able to extract valuable insights from the data they gather, the possibilities for personalized, data-focused decisions are limitless. Have you taken any steps to make your organization ‘smarter’? Do let us know by using the comments section below.