One of the greatest innovations in all computing this century is the pinch-to-zoom. Twenty years ago, touchscreen gestures were not much of a problem. Most touchscreens — we remember the old digital mall map kiosks back in the 1990s that always seemed broken — were limited to keyboard-like taps. But then came the smartphone revolution. Soon, multitouch gestures were all the craze. Surfing the internet on those little 3.5-inch screens demanded the ability to zoom. Surely there was a more elegant way to do so than using an icon of a magnifying glass with a plus or minus to be pecked away at. That’s when pinch-to-zoom came along. It’s so simple and ingenious. Admit it, at least once in your life you were looking at a photo print in a picture frame, and you reflexively wanted to (or physically tried to) pinch it to zoom in. That’s how ubiquitous pinch-to-zoom has become. But of all multitouch gestures — the taps, the scrolls, and the swipes — it’s pinch-to-zoom that’s embedded itself so deep into our psyches. Why? It’s because zooming in to and out of the data on our screens is indispensable to the experience.
The same applies to manufacturing processes across the supply chain. Most manufacturers have sensors gathering important data, but those sensors live across a myriad of systems. Systems that operate independent of one another, each trickling a stream of data that exists independently from every other system. It’s helpful, but not the interconnected symphony of operational intelligence that one would envision for such complex operations. Feeding all of those data streams into one big lake, and being able to see all of that data in the greater context — the zoomed-out view — is the holy grail of manufacturing.
Well, that’s what we mean when we talk about Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing
Manufacturers have accomplished data collection. Congratulations. But what they do with it is the next frontier. That’s where Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence, or EMI, comes into play.
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