Manufacturing’s Digital Future

Nov 25, 2015

“Whether your product is steel or computers, or paper or automobiles, the true lifeblood of your business is not things. It’s information …”

Everywhere, it seems, anyone interested in manufacturing is talking about the Internet of Things, the cloud, data analytics and a host of other technologies that herald a new industrial revolution. Predictions for the number of connected devices soar into the billions, warn of the dire consequences that await those too slow to act, and tell of the competitive advantage—and untold riches—that await early adopters.

For many executives, the sense of déjà vu is palpable—and for good reason. The quote that opens this column was published in 1997, in the heat of the Internet boom. IndustryWeek magazines of that era are filled with the possibilities of leveraging IT and the Internet to, among other things, connect “value streams from the supplier’s supplier to the customer’s customer.”

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