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Predictions Then and Now

We show you some of the original predictions around connected devices influencing the Industry 4.0 landscape as well as some key insights and thoughts from leading sources in the market. This has been brought together in a useful infographic to take away.

Predictions Then


The Market for Connected Devices

The market for connected devices has seen some very interesting predictions from many experts. We see the trend dumbed down significantly across the years.

In 2011, industry analysts predicted that, by 2020, the market for connected devices would be between 50 billion and 100 billion units.

In December 2014, industry analysts predicted that by 2020, the market for connected devices would see growth of 20 billion units to 30 billion in total.

20 billion growth

In November 2015, the prediction was forecasted to a growth of 14.4 billion units, equating to 20 billion connected devices overall by 2020.

14.4 billion growth

Finally in February 2017, analysts set their market predictions to a 12 billion unit growth delivering a 20 billion unit total for connected devices.

12 billion growth

What are the Predictions Now?


We’ve spoken to key experts across the industry landscape, from leading Universities to analysts and even our very own Essentra business to get their predictions on what Industry 4.0 will bring in the future.



Industry 4.0 will revolutionise the existing technologies and capabilities within the manufacturing and production industry, making them smart, integrated, connected and digitised.

Scott Fawcett, Divisional Managing Director, Essentra Components


Ed Fagan, Operations Manager, London Museum of Water and Steam

We will see, in my lifetime, the complete, man free automation of manufacturing, where computers manage lower level computers and man checks in over a virtual network.

We will do less and less of the physical elements ourselves. Humanity has always seemed to strive toward a position where we create machines to do work for us, whilst we think about the next best way of improving it, and I hope very much that this situation will never change.

- Ed Fagan, Operations Manager, London Museum of Water and Steam


I feel that the increasing ability of consumers to define their requirements directly with producers will become increasingly important with production schedules dictated by customers.

The difficulties this may create in managing the supporting processes and supplies of constituent assemblies and components will be the greatest challenge.

- Dr James Wilson, Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School

Dr James Wilson, Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School

Dr Carl Diver, Lecturer, University of Manchester

I think we will still need people involved in manufacturing and we will see more collaborative robots supporting workers in manufacturing.

Technology will help with decision making, offer guidance to people, have an impact on minimising errors and will improve productivity and quality. However, people will still be involved in creativity and innovation. As educators, we need to ensure that we equip our graduates with the necessary skill sets to work in an Industry 4.0 world.

- Dr Carl Diver, Lecturer, University of Manchester


What the future for Industry 4.0 holds can be found in research labs and technical universities.

It is a series of advancements to all the traditional sectors that evolve around industry such as manufacturing, with the help of the new technological tools which in general enable higher growth levels, easier optimisation of resources consumption, higher efficiency levels and increased customer satisfaction. The future of manufacturing is massive customisation of products and services, alongside the convergence of the consumer's and the manufacturer's world.

- Christina Patsioura, IoT Research Analyst, Beecham Research LTD

Christina Patsioura, IoT Research Analyst, Beecham Research LTD

Scott Fawcett, Divisional Managing Director, Essentra Components

Industry 4.0 will revolutionise the existing technologies and capabilities within the manufacturing and production industry, making them smart, integrated, connected and digitised.

The advancements in data and powerful analytics mean that the systems in place can trawl through the huge sets of data and produce insights that can be acted upon quickly. Data sharing via the cloud vastly improves efficiency, allowing manufacturers to respond to customers and their behaviours quickly, cost effectively and without ever compromising on quality.

- Scott Fawcett, Divisional Managing Diretor, Essentra Components


If you fast forward five years from now, I think companies will have a much better understanding of what is going on in their production and value stream by leveraging technology.

They will be able to act on it in a much faster and much more sophisticated way. I also think that you will be able to automate the decision making to a much larger degree than we see today. I don’t mean the physical aspect of it like a robot. I mean intelligent computing systems supporting the decision-making and even actually taking the decisions, so the human worker can dedicate and spend his time on higher value add activities like further process improvements.

- Matthias Breunig, Partner, McKinsey and Co Hamburg

Matthias Breunig, Partner, McKinsey and Co Hamburg


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