The Engineer’s Data Week highlighted how data acquisition and data analytics are at the forefront of a digital revolution that is presenting commercial opportunities and operational challenges.
Whether the data is collected on the shop floor or in space, the overarching message revolved around embracing the digital transformation to improve productivity and increase efficiency across the entire value chain.
As noted last week, engineering companies might invest in data in many ways, such as making sure enough people in an organisation are competent at handling and understanding data and the systems where it is gathered, stored, analysed and used. Others will focus on hardware – such as sensors, “smart” systems and robotics - in becoming data-driven.
But what about the companies where Engineer readers work? For 41 per cent, there has been no significant investment in data technology, followed by 27 per cent whose companies have started building in-house skills. Just under a quarter (23 per cent) have seen investment focussed on investing in software systems/analytics, and the remaining nine per cent have seen investment in hardware.
In the comments that followed, Peter Spence said: I think that the use of data is what matters; it is the quality not the quantity. Too often masses of data is gathered and little is done with it – because it is not really useful; it is most likely more useful to gather a little valuable data and use that. It is true that there are fields (such as satellite imaging) in which a great deal of data is gathered but for production equipment it is most likely more useful to understand the processes and what (data) is needed to make them better (reliable, faster, cheaper,…,stable). Perhaps there is a lot of vague hype about “data technologies” and similarity with “data analytics” – or the hype that used to exist around robotics or rapid-protoyping – rather than a realism of application and what is required to actually get the benefits (and what they are).”
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