If, like me, your work heavily revolves around manufacturing, you have no doubt seen the phrases disruptive technologies, Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality batted around.  I am looking forward to next weeks Smart Factory Exhibition in Liverpool, to get a more well rounded view on these latest innovations.

The government has recently commissioned a review on industrial digitisation, fronted by Jurgen Maier, UK CEO of Siemens.  Long story short, he has concluded that there is a huge opportunity for UK manufacturers if there is a serious uptake of fourth revolution technologies (with the potential to add 3% annual growth to manufacturing).

We have been through water and steam power with the first; the onset of mass production via the use of electric with the second, with digital being widely used as the third to automate production; the potential with AI, virtual reality and 3D printing is huge.

In the report Mr Maier principally outlines three key action points.  Firstly he outlines the need to build a national digital ecosystem in the North West, allowing for SME's to experiment with advances in manufacturing technologies and processes (similar to what BRE has done for construction and associated materials).  Secondly he recommends the creation of 12 digital innovation hubs, allowing start-ups to work with universities in driving forward ideas.  Thirdly he outlines the need for a new national body (Made Smarter UK Commission), with representatives from government, industry and academia to help safeguard the longer term commitment to this new way of working.

Mr Maier concluded that there is the opportunity for the UK to unlock some £445bn and in doing so create thousands of skilled work, whilst also putting UK manufacturing at the forefront of manufacturing innovation. 

Good news for a ever-so-slightly battered manufacturing sector, what with its inherited pressures associated with brexit, cost of materials and decreasing margins.