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34 SMT007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2021 e first three industrial revolutions have brought us automation of physical tasks through adoption of mechanical and electrical machines, the benefit of which has been quite easy to appreciate. Industry 4.0 automation, however, is driven almost exclusively from the digital realm, representing a whole new world of intangibility. With manufacturing being rather averse to unplanned change or risk, un- less there are very compelling reasons, how do we get to fully trust digital technology need- ed for our businesses today, taking us toward manufacturing digital transcendence? Wouldn't it be amazing to have god-like powers, to be able to look down across the completely automated factory that simply, ef- ficiently, and perfectly, making whatever prod- ucts are required, whenever needed, and with- out human dependencies? All actions and ac- tivities would be automated in the mix of me- chanical and soware automation, lights out. is is the extreme and potentially obtainable goal, but with quite a few challenging steps to be taken in getting us there. Several steps have already been taken. Data captured from machines and operations can be more instantly transmitted and contextu- alized for various uses today than ever before. We can remotely monitor machines and oper- ations from the other side of the planet, if we so wish. Soware has been evolving, not only to bring us, as humans, holistic factory infor- mation, with which we make operational de- cisions in a faster, smarter, and more reliable Digital Transcendence: Fear of the Unknown Smart Factory Insights Feature Column by Michael Ford, AEGIS SOFTWARE

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