To learn about Industry 4.0, Hannover Messe is the place to go! I had been warned before leaving home for the exhibition by several past attendees about how large this venue was. Now having returned after six days of walking the pavillions, I have the sore feet to prove it! This year’s HANNOVER MESSE attracted over 190,000 visitors (up from 175,000 in 2014 as the last event of comparable scope) intent on future-proofing their operations and investing in state-of-the-art technology. The total venue includes 466,100 square meters of covered indoor space, 58,000 square meters of open-air space, 26 halls and pavilions: – it’s the biggest Exhibition Center in the world!
Technology Stacks, Reference Architectures, Consortiums & Collaborations
While walking the booths and listening to the many key note sessions, there were times when I was not sure if I was at a factory automation show, or an information technology conference. I learned all about technology stacks and reference architectures. Richard Soley from the Industrial Internet Consortium facilitated several sessions on technology testbeds as a stepping stone to industry standards development. Most of the industries strategic innovation around connectivity and networks is being conducted by numerous consortiums and collaborations amongst industry players, research labs, universities and other non-governmental organizations.
ICS Cyber Security
Industrial Control System (ICS) Cyber Security was certainly one of the main topics. With Industry 4.0 driving the convergence of front office Information Technology (IT) and factory floor Operations Technology (OT), comes the downside of new cyber security threats. Timo Wege, Technical Consultant from Trend Micro in Germany, discussed the importance of a comprehensive Cyber Security Strategy which includes the aspects of endpoint, network and gateway information flows. Timo also described the somewhat complex ICS Cyber Security Industry Ecosystem involving software solution providers, system integrators, original equipment makers, consultants and others. For a small to medium manufacturing enterprise (SME), it can be confusing to know where to start. Matvey Voytov from Kaspersky and Vaughn Eisler from Symantec also provided overviews of how their endpoint virus protection solutions fit into a comprehensive strategy.
New Business Models
Another big topic of discussion at Hannover Messe was new business models enabled by Industry 4.0.. Exosite is one of the organizations exhibiting at Hannover Messe who is focused on providing solutions to help automation component suppliers identify and create value within the context of “data-driven experiences”. Jim Caraccio explained that Exosite is launching a series of IoT Fusion Workshops to help product managers and manufacturers develop a strategy to transition into the global, connected economy. ARC Advisory Group is another Industry 4.0 expert which has written extensively on new business models enabled by the industrial internet of things. Harry Forbes from ARC Advisors was at Hannover Messe and shared his thoughts about the pace of innovation and standards development occurring at this. Harry feels that it will be only a few more years before the various consortiums and industry standards bodies align on reference architectures which will serve as the basis for market competition globally.
Data Analytics – Many new startups
There were many new Industry 4.0 startups at Hannover Messe and many of them were offering solutions in the white hot space of data analytics. One such startup is Sight Machine. Sight Machine transforms machine, sensor, and part data into actionable insights, helping manufacturers address critical challenges in quality and operations. Sight Machine provides real-time production, quality, and supply chain monitoring; retrospective analysis of product variation and failures; predictive analytics to support process improvement; and benchmarking on the contractor, factory, line, and tool levels.
About Connected Factory Global
Connected Factory Global is a market research and consulting firm which focuses exclusively on the Industrial Internet of Things including technology trends, market applications and the evolving industry ecosystem. Our mission is to “cut through the hype” and help manufacturers, component suppliers, factory automation integrators and software solution providers understand their next steps to successful product development and business model strategies.