In the first general session, Tuesday February 11 at the ARC Forum in Orlando, ARC President Andy Chatha made a comprehensive case for the rapidly becoming familiar concept that the Internet of Things (IoT) is the center of opportunity for humanity in general and manufacturing in particular. Chatha's presentation, "Information-Driven Enterprise in a Connected World," touched on many topics – intelligent assets, devices, products and machines; data communications and infrastructure, including the cloud, big data, and the value chain; analytics and software for asset and system optimization; and connecting people, processes and systems to deliver "intelligent information when and where people need it."
The event included multiple program tracks of sufficient interest justify listing them all:
- Additive manufacturing and mobile robotics
- Analytics for industry
- Asset lifecycle management
- Cloud computing solutions
- Collaborative automation systems
- Cybersecurity solutions
- Energy optimization solutions
- Industrial internet of things
- Mobile and social collaboration
- Risk management for industry
- Workforce development and training solutions
Program sessions typically included short presentations by end users describing their challenges and levels of success, followed by extensive Q&A sessions – on the surface, unremarkable but at ARC Forum these sessions effectively highlighted the capabilities and limitations of existing technologies and methods, thereby showing both vendor and user attendees where they might focus their efforts to gain competitive advantage. Multiply one reporter's experience by as many as five concurrent sessions and add the networking opportunities provided by generous breaks with high-quality attendees and on-target exhibits, and it's easy to see why so many folks have made ARC Forum a must-be-there annual event.