There is a growing buzz in the crowd at the Smart Industry Conference each year as this digital-transformation trend becomes the norm and real rewards are reaped by end users and solution providers, business owners and plant technicians, marketing professionals, engineers and OEMs. Having served as Smart Industry publisher since our inception four years ago, I have been thrilled to watch manufacturers of all sizes, from all fields, adopt the tenets of digital transformation and optimize their efforts.
And once a year, I am privileged to network with front runners, early adopters and those just getting started in Industry 4.0 at our annual Smart Industry Conference.
This year looks to be the most exciting Smart Industry Conference yet. Here’s a quick look at the components I’m most looking forward to:
- Facility Tours—Always a highlight of the conference, tours this year include the TRUMPF Smart Factory, where the future of manufacturing can be witnessed today, and the Lagunitas Brewing Company, where tour-goers can pick the brain of an engineering/operations specialist during the post-tour sampling session.
- Roundtables—These topic-focused sessions enable small groups to dive deep into topics ranging from predictive analytics to sensor connectivity.
- Suzanne Burns—Spencer Stuart’s own will kick off the presentations with a look at how your culture must change to fully embrace digital innovation.
- Exhibitor Alley—Some of the sharpest minds in Industry 4.0 are stationed in the booths, eager to share with attendees the tools and techniques to optimize their businesses.
- Speed Networking—This was a big hit last year. Lots of introductions. Lots of conversations. Lots of connections. I can’t wait!
- Data & Brewing Case Study—Deschutes Brewing’s Tim Alexander presents the case study of how his brewery is capitalizing on data analytics to satisfy their increasingly discerning customers.
- The Venue—Close to the airport? Check. Modern amenities? Check. A number of high-end steakhouses within walking distance of the front door of the Loews Chicago O’Hare? Check please.
- Stratus Technology’s participation—Solution-providers are key players in this digital transformation, and presenting sponsor Stratus is not only an industry leader in keeping business-critical applications running smoothly, they're also a great resource for Industry 4.0 information.
- Panels—I love when groups of experts gather on a stage to dissect (and sometimes disagree on) topics such as organizational transformation, information abundance and digitalization strategy. We’ve assembled some smart guys and gals for our 2018 panels.
- Receptions—After a full day of learning, it’s always a treat to enjoy a cocktail and a little socializing with conference-goers. Some of my most productive connections at past Smart Industry Conferences have taken place once we’ve wrapped the programmed part of the day.
By Tony D'Avino, Smart Industry publisher