The term ‘Big Data’ is used across a wide and growing variety of industries and application areas. In recent years we have seen the use of big data by major retailers to track and better understand customer behavior and buying patterns, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare organizations to predict the spread of viruses and disease, and security and policing bodies to fight and prevent crime.
Now, big data is set to revolutionise manufacturing as the industry embraces Industry 4.0 and the factory of the future.
Big Data and the Factory of the Future
What big data effectively does is provide a company with the ability to analyze very high volumes of different types of information at very high speeds. For this reason the term is often characterized by the ‘three Vs’ of Volume, Velocity and Variety. And what is helping to make big data solutions commercially viable for budget constrained manufacturers is the combination of steeply falling prices of digital storage, the growing trend towards the integration of sensors into every aspect of the production process, advanced digital connectivity solutions that connect the two, and sophisticated software algorithms that mine and analyze the data that is subsequently collected.
In the factory of the future, big data will enable early and realtime insight into each and every aspect of the production process. It will be used to identify end-to-end manufacturing trends on a single production line, across multiple production lines and, indeed, across multiple manufacturing facilities. It will also provide better information on more localized issues such as the efficiency of a particular machine or even the wear of an individual tool.
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