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Predictions 2022: Intelligent industry

Graham Upton
14 Jan 2022

Our forecasts of what we believe will shape the intelligent industry sector in 2022

Industrial companies have already undergone significant transformation in the recent years, especially within enterprise management, with digital technologies resulting in new customer experiences. However, we’re now seeing a greater focus on how they can digitise the key industrial parts of their businesses, which will allow them to rethink their products and processes as well as invent new services.

This is giving rise to intelligent automation, where everything a firm does becomes digitized and thus more platforms and portfolios, and ultimately more profitable and sustainable businesses are coming to the fore. But what specifically can we expect to see in this sector in the year ahead? We hear from Graham Upton, our Intelligent Industry expert, to find out.

Sensors and IoT will be bigger than ever

IoT is a £25 billion market but is still seeing huge growth due to an increasing demand of people wanting to gather more data and get better insights into how their businesses are operating.

A major part of this growth is within the utilities market, especially around the water industry, thanks to a wider use of IoT technology with sensors. For example, by putting advanced sensors into a plant, equipment, machinery and even products, a water company can start to use this detailed information to make better and informed decisions. It offers greater insights, allowing businesses to plan ahead, provide accurate performance information directly to the engineers which could ultimately stop major events happening in the form of preventative maintenance.

This is something we’re going to see more of in the year ahead and while the technology already exists, the gap in the market is putting them together and integrating into the customers enterprise systems. Industry is crying out for better business insights to increase productivity, reduce waste and ultimately justify the return on investment.

5G and connectivity as key enablers

5G connectivity is available up and down most of the country, but what we’ll begin to see is progressive transformation to these low latency networks by default, as businesses need greater bandwidth and faster connections in order to run the growing number of IoT devices and higher data volumes.

Expect to see big companies making use of their telecoms networks, to start bringing in new technology and integrating Intelligent Industry solutions to support this shift. The focus will be on transporting and carrying information from the source into data enterprise systems, which can ultimately be securely stored in the cloud. Utilities companies in particular, represent a huge growth area in this upgrading connectivity.

A spotlight on the Nuclear energy industry

There’s going to be an increased focus on nuclear in 2022, with industry looking to make some positive steps forward in this domain. Expect to see increased focus on innovations such as Small modular reactors (SMRs) – mini nuclear power stations – which can offer a lower initial capital investment, greater scalability, and siting flexibility for locations unable to accommodate more traditional larger reactors.

Conversely, we might see more developments within the field of nuclear decommissioning, restoring power station sites to an agreed end-state ready for some form of re-use.

The joining forces of Intelligent Industry and the supply chain

Another trend that we are likely to see in the advent of 2022 is the coming together of Intelligent Industry and the supply chain. This will be fuelled by businesses who are becoming increasingly desperate to better understand how their operations are performing and want to inject this information into the supply chain to give them greater, more intelligent insight. Major enablers of this include IoT, the cloud whilst moving from an ERP/ siloed solutions towards an end-to-end, integrated and agile customer centric architecture. Future benefits include smart forecasting / inventory management, dynamic resourcing/allocations, routing optimisation to AI-based event monitoring and complex process automation. Additionally, operating on collaborative platforms, visibility through supply chain control towers to location-driven execution and end-to-end track and trace are competitive advantages where the building blocks already exist.

A major focus on Digital Twin

A major focus for 2022 will be the use of Digital Twin, which refers to creating a virtual representation (or “twin”) of a physical object or system to create a highly complex virtual counterpart.

Increasingly, businesses will use more of their connected sensors positioned on these physical assets to collect data that can then be mapped into the virtual models. This will mean that anyone looking at the digital twin can now see crucial information about how the physical product or system is performing out there in the real world. This will benefit businesses tremendously, as they’ll be able to update processes, in real-time, use simulation, artificial intelligence and machine learning with reasoning to help make better, more informed decision-making and improved problem solving.

For more information download the Capgemini Research Institute reports here,