Technology trends

Altair Engineering: Analysis of post-pandemic digital technology trends

If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, it’s the accelerated adoption of innovation-driving technologies in manufacturing. COVID-related disruptions in supply chains, production and workplaces are testing business agility and pushing manufacturers to step up their digital transformation efforts to stay competitive. With wider access than ever to rapidly converging technologies – artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), predictive analytics, high-performance computing and cloud computing, physics-based simulation, digital twins, and more. – manufacturers have a unique opportunity to improve their business and engineering practices.

To learn more about the speed and direction of innovations taking root in the industry, Altair partnered with consulting and research leader CIMdata to survey more than 500 participants from the executive and corporate ranks. manufacturing engineering. The research is a stronger follow-up to a 2020 joint study and includes data on production and staffing affected by the pandemic. For most questions, participants provided two answers: one describing the present (2021) and the other projecting the future (“five years from now”).

Manufacturing Trends and Key Findings

AI and ML application usage will more than double over the next five years as managers rely less on old favorites (Excel, business intelligence (BI) and data analytics) for product decision making. And while current use of AI and ML is limited, 70% of managers say they are “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with the technology.

In five years, managers think hybridcloud solutions will remain the essential data analysis and simulation tools in their companies. At the same time, the data shows a significant change over five years when comparing current and future use of “mostly” or “all” cloud computing. According to the research, 13% of executives and 9% of technicians characterize their current platforms as cloud-dominant, but those percentages jump to 28% and 31%, respectively, in five years.

Survey participants also predict a rapid increase Double digital deployment throughout the product life cycle. According to the results, the number of companies with digital twins “in production” will quadruple in five years. And, compared to 2020 projections for pilot or production use, the data shows a 16% year-over-year increase.

The primary expected benefit of digital twins is greater product understanding, followed by greater consistency in applying that knowledge. The most commonly cited barrier to the use of digital twins remains the lack of simulation skills needed in the job market.

Studying the lingering effects of COVID, research shows a significant one-year drop in expectations for office work. In 2020, 67% of organizations believed that most of their employees would return to their pre-pandemic desks. A year later, more than 50% plan to switch to “most” or “all” work-from-home policies.

The survey also shows that almost three-quarters of companies are below pre-COVID-19 production capacity. The persistent low workforce is both cause and effect of this reduction in volume. The good news is that 62% expect to exceed or reach pre-pandemic staffing levels in six months.

To see the full survey results, get more information, and read the full trend analysis report, click here.