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In Category: Innovation and Technology


12/12/2018
As 2018 comes to an end, let's revisit some of our most popular blog posts in terms of page views and social media shares. Over the past 12 months, our contributors have made you think, and, hopefully, inspired you to take action.
By Garrett Babinchak | InfoView Systems Inc. | 12/5/2018
Cybersecurity is something no one talks about unless some big breach is uncovered, like with the Equifax hack. With so much at stake, it's time we stop being reactive and start getting proactive about our privacy, says IT professional Garrett Babinchak of Infoview Systems. Businesses -- and individuals -- need to be vigilant and prevent cyber breaches before they ever occur. This week on the blog, he shares his security guidelines to help keep you and your information protected.
11/28/2018
Think global. Leverage data. Be a lifetime learner. This week on the blog, we take a look back at the 8 most valuable takeaways from Automation Alley's global Industry 4.0 conference, Integr8.
11/21/2018
Digitized production technologies are transforming business models and changing market structures. Concepts like Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things represent a paradigm shift in business and society, generated by a growing number of increasingly connected and automated devices, machines and products. This week on the blog, Fraunhofer USA discusses its Industry 4.0 initiatives as it approaches almost a quarter century in operation.
By Eric Davis | Automation Alley | 11/14/2018
Two years ago, Automation Alley launched its Industry 4.0 Assessment initiative in an effort to help companies with corporate strategy and direction during their digital transformations. In that time, we’ve uncovered some insightful trends from the Michigan tech and manufacturing companies we’ve assessed. During our assessments, we ask pointed questions and present back to the company what we’ve uncovered. In essence, our assessment holds up a mirror to the company. As one company put it, we clean and polish the mirror, so they see their true self.
By Christopher Dole | Soothsayer Analytics | 11/7/2018
As the advanced and connected technologies of Industry 4.0 make their way into our daily operations, companies should consider how the use of Data Science can help them explain the unknown, optimize their business and predict the future. In anticipation of Soothsayer’s Data Science panel discussion and presentation at Automation Alley’s Integr8 conference on Nov. 14, here are 12 questions to consider before embarking on a Data Science journey.
By Anthony Leo | Soft Robotics | 10/31/2018
Anthony Leo, regional sales manager at Soft Robotics, likes to solve problems in new and innovative ways. This week on the blog, Anthony tells us how Soft Robotics is helping companies win new business with their advanced gripper systems.
By Tom Kelly | Automation Alley | 10/30/2018
As with any election year, there’s no shortage of topics vying for attention in Michigan -- and they are all important to the citizenry: roads and infrastructure, K-12 education, healthcare coverage and protection of the Great Lakes, just for starters. What’s not being talked about enough, though, is the seismic shift known as Industry 4.0 taking place in manufacturing - Michigan’s crown jewel of industry leadership.
By Kurt Dykema | Twisthink | 10/24/2018
Nobody wants to admit it, everyone tries to avoid it, and yet we’ll all succumb to it at some point: a business paralysis rooted in fear. And if you’re a seasoned manufacturing company, that fear may be linked to the transformative change driven by the Internet of Things (IoT). Kurt Dykema of Twisthink joins us on the blog to share three steps you can take to move your organization toward embracing IoT.
By Pavan Muzumdar | Automation Alley | 10/10/2018
In Michigan, we have companies that excel in physical technologies such as manufacturing, logistics and agriculture. This entire ecosystem, which is the economic backbone of Michigan, is facing Industry 4.0 head on. This week on the blog, Pavan Muzumdar, Automation Alley’s chief operating officer, explains the seven things your boss wants you to know about Industry 4.0.
By Simon Weallans | Brightly | 9/12/2018
Businesses that adopt Industry 4.0 can stay ahead of the curve while increasing efficiency, streamlining processes and bolstering the bottom line, says Simon Weallans, Brightly’s vice president of sales and marketing.
By Jonathan Kempfe | RSM | 8/1/2018
The decision-making process for managers is not as simple as cloud vs. no cloud. Once an organization is sold on pursuing the benefits of a cloud solution, there are countless factors it must consider in order to incorporate the new platform effectively into its infrastructure. This week on the blog, the experts at RSM discuss public vs. private cloud solutions for business, one of the earliest and most influential decisions to be made when considering cloud migration.
By Noel Nevshehir | Automation Alley | 7/25/2018
In the Detroit News, Noel Nevshehir, Automation Alley director of international business services and Industry 4.0 strategic partnerships, shares his thoughts on the impact AI and big data are having on the health care industry. "From blockchain technology to surgical robots, medical experts worldwide agree that big data and artificial intelligence (AI) will play a key role in vastly improving health care quality and delivery. Aided by advances in sensor capabilities, computational power and algorithmic ingenuity, the pace of medical innovation is accelerating rapidly."
By Kylee Guenther | Spectalite | 6/13/2018
While plastics have given us a lot—everything from lifesaving medical devices to twisty straws for our summer ice tea—these magical materials present a big problem: There’s really no good solution for what to do with them, after we’re done using the product. To make matters worse, the life expectancy of the average plastic product is less than a year, meaning so many of these items are used once and tossed away. Enter Spectalite, a Michigan-based, women-owned, advanced engineering and materials manufacturer, specializing in bamboo fiber composite plastics. This week on the blog, Spectalite CEO Kylee Guenther discusses how her company is making a difference by helping customers find new and sustainable materials for their products while helping reduce plastic waste.
By Eric Davis | Automation Alley | 6/6/2018
For manufacturers today, technological change is coming faster than expected. But for some companies, customer demand for digitization has already reshaped their industry. This has been the case for New York-based reprographics firm A. Esteban & Company. Read about how the company has learned, pivoted and grown to improve profitability and competitiveness.
By Tony Pinho | Duggan Manufacturing | 5/23/2018
Strategic equipment investment is a critical part of staying competitive. Planning a procurement path that will keep your business relevant in an ever-changing landscape can be difficult in the best of times and a truly herculean task during periods of rapid market change like we’re seeing today. In times such as these, even the best laid plans may need to be overhauled. Do you take a chance on a new technology that's heavy on potential, but light on real-world evidence, or stay the course with your current equipment and risk falling behind?
By Chris Cravens | Chubb Insurance | 5/2/2018
While manufacturing today still involves a number of traditional operations, digital technologies are rapidly becoming more deeply integrated into the manufacturing process. Once limited to the four walls of the manufacturing plant, companies are increasingly susceptible to outside variables.
By Jeeva Nadarajah | Pillar Technology | 4/4/2018
We humans are more driven when we understand the value of what we are pursuing. In order to walk through this delivery guide, it is critical to understand the value of Industry 4.0. So, let's rehash the "why" for Industry 4.0.
By Jeremy Steinert | WSM International | 3/28/2018
With the new scenarios created by the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 movements, there is a radical change happening in manufacturing: software. The software component is becoming a core part of products being manufactured and is influencing the adoption of industrialized methodologies and tools for software development. Manufacturers are integrating these methodologies into their businesses to keep up with this shift in scenarios.
By John Bedz | Automation Alley | 2/28/2018
Robotics systems are cheaper and more versatile than ever. Companies automating are seeing an ROI faster than ever. Robots make your shop floor safer and remove tedious tasks from your employees. In fact, we’ve heard the stories about how initially employees have reservations about working with robots. Soon after installation, though, they begin to ask 'what else can the robot help me with?' Employees happy, bosses happy, vendors happy and efficiency, project flow and profits all trending in the right direction. So, what am I missing when I see that not every company jumps in on robotics?" writes John Bedz, Automation Alley's program manager of entrepreneurship and defense. Understanding the obstacles to automation is the first step in helping companies considering this next move.
By David Baumgarten | Novastar Solutions | 2/21/2018
In its 30-plus year history, 3D printing hasn’t offered the scalability, repeatability, or economics (comparable cost per part) to be thought of as a sustainable manufacturing solution. But recent advancements in the 3D Printing industry make the case the technology is en route to disrupting manufacturing as we know it, says David Baumgarten, Founder and President of Novastar Solutions. Speed and design freedom are just two of the most important 3D printing differentiators when compared to legacy manufacturing.
By Waleed Haddad and Jennifer Hudgins | Access-Interactive | 1/24/2018
Just because you are compliant does not mean you are secure. This critical message is not just for the Information Security community, but for all players in the larger business community. Information Security is a balancing act that requires full time attention, resources, and continuous progression. There are number of governing bodies such as GLBA and HIPAA that barely scratch the surface of necessary technical controls required to ensure more secure environments.
12/13/2017
Traffic to Automation Alley’s blog jumped by nearly 50 percent over the course of the last year, due in large part to some fantastic guest bloggers who have shared their insights into the world of tech and manufacturing. We’re thrilled to know our content is reaching you in the blogosphere and is being enjoyed by more business professionals than ever! This week, we’re looking back at our top 10 most popular posts of 2017.
11/22/2017
In case you missed it, Automation Alley Executive Director and CEO Tom Kelly had some very interesting and thought-provoking conversations about the future of technology and manufacturing on Automation Alley's podcast, Factory Reboot, this year. The podcast, which is focused on technology’s role in manufacturing and the Industry 4.0 transformation, featured gusts from the robotics, virtual reality, IIoT and cybersecurity fields, and explored the opportunities and challenges manufacturers face as they rethink, retool and rebuild the way they do business in the smart and connected world.
11/15/2017
More than 500 professionals from the technology and manufacturing worlds converged on Detroit, Nov. 9 for a day of deep Industry 4.0 learning at Automation Alley’s first-ever Integr8™ conference and expo. From smart machines that think and perceive to immersive technologies that can train our future workforce, this global event not only put the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan in the spotlight as a key player in the Industry 4.0 space, but it also taught us several valuable lessons about where advanced manufacturing is headed.
By Franco Bevione | WEDOO | 11/8/2017
If you still have doubts in making investments in Virtual Reality Training (VRT) because it seems too expensive, this blog post will help to remove many of your concerns. VRT solutions can actually be a source of great savings and are well-suited for almost any industry, explains Franco Bevione, CEO of WEDOO. Discover how the right mix of classroom training plus VRT can deliver the optimal solution in creating the best-trained people possible.
By U.S. Senator Gary Peters | 11/1/2017
This week’s guest blogger is U.S. Senator Gary Peters, advocate for Michigan playing a central role in next generation self-driving vehicles and creator of a bipartisan bill that’s taking important steps to help bring self-driving vehicles to our roads. “We need to create updated standards to ensure these ground-breaking systems are operating safely and securely,” Peters says.
By Morris Novello | Nebbiolo Technologies Inc. | 10/25/2017
We’ve all heard of cloud computing, but is the cloud right for every business? In this blog post, Morris Novello, senior director of marketing at Nebbiolo Technologies Inc., explores the many opportunities and applications of fog computing, from connected vehicles and smart grids to Industry 4.0 manufacturing and smart cities. Learn about how fog technology can be a unifying platform, rich enough to deliver this new breed of emerging services while enabling the development of new applications.
By Pavan Muzumdar | Automation Alley | 10/4/2017
While it's impossible to know where exactly Industry 4.0 will lead us, businesses must prepare for the rapid technology advancements taking place around them in order to stay relevant. This week on the blog, we discuss four steps all businesses need to internalize and organize around to manage changes as they navigate the complexities of Industry 4.0.
9/13/2017
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has arrived. What's your integration strategy? Discover how smart technologies are transforming the manufacturing landscape at Integr8™, Automation Alley's global Industry 4.0 conference, Nov. 9 in Detroit. Here are eight reasons you can't miss this new, one-of-a-kind event.
8/30/2017
With nearly 1,000 Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY) events taking place across the nation on Friday, Oct. 6, Automation Alley would like to highlight those happening in our own backyard — specifically, the events being hosted by our member organizations.
By Molly E. Green | Marsh & McLennan Agency | 8/23/2017
The threat of a cyberattack is no longer a case of if it will happen, but when it will happen. How can you protect your organization?
By Elliot Forsyth | Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center | 8/16/2017
The digitalization of business across all industries is happening rapidly, and there is no going back. Imagine knowing when a machine is about to fail before it actually occurs. Or what if it were possible to monitor a customer’s product performance in real time to service it more quickly and efficiently?
By Cynthia Hutchison | Automation Alley | 8/9/2017
In the digital age, the lines are blurred between what is and isn't considered a technology company. The argument can most certainly be made that all businesses today are tech companies. In this blog post, Cynthia Hutchison, Automation Alley's director of Business Development and Government Affairs, offers up advice traditional businesses should consider on their quest to embrace new technologies.
By Tom Kelly | Automation Alley | 8/2/2017
It’s not just cars anymore. The state needs to capitalize on its knowhow and adapt for Industry 4.0. In this Op-Ed, Automation Alley Executive Director and CEO Tom Kelly argues that Michigan has an opportunity to lead the nation in the implementation of Industry 4.0 on our factory floors. One of the advantages Michigan has is a rich supply chain of traditional manufacturers all the way from smaller suppliers to tier 1s and OEMs, a great environment for Industry 4.0 technologies to be vetted.
7/19/2017
Comcast Newsmakers host Laurel Hess chats with Automation Alley COO Pavan Muzumdar about how Industry 4.0 is changing manufacturing and Automation Alley's role in helping Michigan companies transform.
6/28/2017
Tom Kelly, Automation Alley's executive director, chats with WJR's Paul W. Smith about the tremendous opportunity Industry 4.0 technology has created for manufacturers in Michigan. Discover why our state has a competitive advantage when it comes to smart factory automation and learn more about Automation Alley's global Industry 4.0 conference, Integr8™, taking place this fall in Detroit.
Get Off Road | 6/21/2017
In today’s world, technology transforms every part of our lives, and autonomous cars are no different. While self-driving cars may still seem like science fiction to many, they are set to rule the transportation sector in the not-so-distant future. Cars that can navigate without human input will be used by the U.S. government for public transport and industrial fleets by 2025, according to the latest reports. Experts believe autonomous cars will decrease road accidents, improve fuel efficiency and lessen traffic jams, among other benefits. To explain this and other important concepts of self-driving cars, check out this Get Off Road infographic on the growth of the autonomous car market.
6/7/2017
Manufacturing automation and jobs are a hot topic politically, especially here in Michigan. Brooke Allen of WKAR’s Morning Edition caught up with Automation Alley Executive Director Tom Kelly during his time at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference to discuss how technology is transforming our lives and how Automation Alley is helping companies navigate to Industry 4.0. He explains why automation is our path forward to job creation, and where we will be in 2020.
By Godfrey Nolan | RIIS LLC | 5/10/2017
This week on the blog, Godfrey Nolan, president of RIIS LLC, explains why his company infected its old computers with ransomware. As odd as it sounds, he says, there’s no better learning tool for how to stop a cyberattack than having to save a computer nobody wants. “If your first encounter with ransomware is during an attack, then it’s probably going to be too late and you may as well admit defeat.”
By Alexi Antonino | Plex Systems | 5/3/2017
While Industry 4.0 will continue as a long-term vision for the future, it’s important for all manufacturers to recognize that opportunities to leverage data are here now. This week on the blog, Alexi Antonino of Plex Systems discusses what it’s like working as a technologist in a rather extraordinary time in tech and manufacturing. “I’m most interested in how we take the incredible spectrum of data that comes from these new platforms and leverage it for practical business tools today.”
By Tom Kelly | Automation Alley | 4/13/2017
Supporting American manufacturing innovation has never been more important than it is right now. As our world and our factories become increasingly digitized and connected, our country, and particularly our state, has the opportunity to lead the fourth industrial revolution of smart manufacturing known as Industry 4.0. But for small and medium-sized manufacturers, navigating these advancements in technology can’t be done alone. Organizations like Automation Alley and MMTC will play a critical role in this transformation, says Tom Kelly, Automation Alley’s Executive Director. Help us take a stand to support manufacturing.
By Tom Kelly | Automation Alley | 3/22/2017
Manufacturing is at the forefront of the national conversation once again. But what most politicians aren’t discussing is that the manufacturing industry is undergoing a transformation, says Automation Alley Executive Director Tom Kelly. Are you ready for Industry 4.0?
By Tom Kelly | Automation Alley | 2/15/2017
This week, Automation Alley released its 2017 Technology Industry Report, highlighting that the manufacturing industry is moving rapidly to embrace Industry 4.0 technology as a critical part of its processes and plans to make new technological investments in 2017. Despite these findings, the report also found that there are many barriers to Industry 4.0 adoption.
By Bill Rosin and Brian Balow | Dawda, Mann, Mulcahy & Sadler, PLC | 1/18/2017
In 2015, nearly 30 percent of all cyberattacks in the manufacturing sector occurred in the automotive industry. Today, the industry finds itself at a crossroads, as larger numbers of connected and autonomous vehicles begin to reach the broader consumer marketplace. This week on the blog, Bill Rosin and Brian Balow of Mich.-based Dawda, Mann, Mulcahy & Sadler, PLC, a law firm providing legal counsel to clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to other publicly and privately owned businesses, discuss why cybersecurity and the public perception of vehicle safety and brand strength are more important than ever.
12/28/2016
We're closing out 2016 with a look back on our top five most popular blog posts of the year.
12/14/2016
As we near the end of 2016, we invite you to take a look back at some of the moments we were most proud of as an organization this year.
By Pavan Muzumdar | Automation Alley | 11/30/2016
There’s always been a tension between technology and manual labor. With the rise of the fourth industrial revolution, many people fear advancements in automated technologies, artificial intelligence and smart robotics because they may one day make many human jobs obsolete. This week on the blog, Automation Alley COO Pavan Muzumdar weighs in on why we shouldn’t fear technology, and how “conscious capitalism” presents an opportunity for our society to change the world for the better.
10/26/2016
U.S. Sen. Gary Peters paid a visit to Automation Alley on Monday to discuss the future of mobility in Michigan, our opportunity to be a global leader in the development of autonomous vehicles, and the challenges we face with stiff national and international competition.
10/19/2016
Sarah Schmid Stevenson, editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor, takes a closer look at Automation Alley, the progress we have made as an organization since our founding nearly 20 years ago, and how the recent boom in autonomous technology has affected our long-term strategy. 
By Jason Vazzano | Vectorform | 9/21/2016
Business transformation and innovation are key to remaining competitive in the global marketplace. Recent research shows almost half of all CEOs expect their organizations will be significantly transformed by 2020. That’s why companies wanting to succeed need to embrace and implement both disruptive thinking and disruptive technology not only when developing new products and services, but also when transforming their business processes. By doing this, they can increase their agility, as well as drive rapid and cost-effective innovation and growth.
By Tom Kelly | Automation Alley | 8/24/2016
Around the world, Michigan is known as a state that makes things. And the way we make things is about to undergo a massive shift – so massive, in fact, that experts are calling it the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. Automation Alley’s new executive director, Tom Kelly, discusses Michigan’s opportunity to lead the nation as early adopters of factory automation technology and as the launching point for Industry 4.0 in America.
7/6/2016
We know that manufacturers across the country are struggling to find the skilled talent they need to remain competitive. Yet, according to Automation Alley partner Tooling U-SME, 75 percent of those companies say they don’t offer a structured training program on manufacturing skills. 
6/22/2016
School may be out for summer, but that doesn’t mean your tiny geniuses have to stop learning! Here are six ways to keep kids of all ages engaged in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) this summer. 
By ​Eric Shreffler | MEDC | 6/15/2016
Eric Shreffler, managing director for the Automotive Office at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, discusses plans for the American Center for Mobility, based at Willow Run airport, and how the center aims to lead the way in the development of the vehicles of tomorrow.  
By Noel Nevshehir | Automation Alley | 6/8/2016
Today, nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives depends on a secure and stable cyberspace. Noel Nevshehir, Automation Alley director of International Business Services, shares tips for how you can take charge of defending yourself from prying eyes.
By Scott Phillips | The SearchLite | 6/1/2016
When it comes to manufacturing or process automation, very few people are asking about industrial cyber security. Could it be that many don’t know what to ask?
By Vinh Chu | PIXO Group | 5/18/2016
Virtual reality is entering the marketplace at a rapid pace, with technological improvements driving down cost and increasing quality. The barricades to entering VR are not as monumentally expensive or difficult as one might think. 
By Automation Alley Staff | Automation Alley | 2/24/2016
A situation at Yelp this week has shined a national spotlight on the cost of living disparity across America’s major technology hubs, and it highlights the hardships faced by many employees who are struggling to make ends meet while working and living in the country’s most expensive cities. According to Automation Alley’s 2016 Technology Industry Report, there is one major U.S. city where the technology industry is thriving, and its employees can enjoy a high standard of living: Detroit. 
By Kevin Krason | Biznet Digital | 12/9/2015
Kevin Krason, founder of Southfield-based digital marketing agency Biznet, discusses how to be a responsible business leader and marketer in the ever-evolving, fast-paced digital age. 
By Lisa Vallee-Smith | Airfoil Group | 11/18/2015
Innovation is an equal-opportunity phenomenon. The public and the media tend to restrict the term “innovative companies” to startups from Silicon Valley and the Northwest, but business leaders in Seattle aren’t the only ones who go sleepless developing great ideas into great brands. 
By Addie Langford | TechShop Detroit | 10/7/2015
One of my favorite stories told by my father was the only time he recalls seeing his mother in the buff. She flew from the bath at the sight of my father, then seven, who had carved a deep gouge in his neck while shredding her rubber galoshes to craft a slingshot. This toy/weapon would accompany the motorized go-cart, the handmade printing press, an elaborate treehouse, and a basement full of eviscerated toasters and wiring. 
By Marlin Page | Sisters Code | 8/19/2015
Marlin Page is the founder of Sisters Code, a global social enterprise with a mission to educate, empower, and entice women ages 25 – 85 to explore the world of coding and technology. Here she talks about why she started Sisters Code, what goes on at the “Weekend Website Warrior Experience,” and how Sister's Code gives back to the community.    
By David Darbyshire | DASI Solutions | 6/24/2015
David Darbyshire, engineer and co-owner of DASI Solutions, discusses the technical skill, knowledge and methods necessary to successfully integrate and operate 3D printers for business.
By Automation Alley Staff | Automation Alley | 6/17/2015
A wrap up of our hackathon experience. 
 
By Andy Harrison | Utley Brothers Printing | 6/10/2015
Learn how one local company, Utley Brothers Printing, melds high-tech forms of printing with the nearly lost art of letterpress printing under one roof. 
By Beth Niblock | City of Detroit | 6/3/2015
Beth Niblock, CIO for the City of Detroit and #hack4detroit judge, discusses how civic hacking can lead to the development of community-changing ideas.
By Debbie Holton | SME | 5/27/2015
As vehicles become increasingly more connected and electronic, manufacturers are facing significant challenges and opportunities as they try to meet customer demand for more capabilities. SME's Debbie Holton discusses this big data challenge, both on the road and in the factory. 
By Automation Alley Staff | Automation Alley | 5/5/2015
Back by popular demand, Automation Alley is inviting the region’s brightest and best computer programmers and coders to compete in a 24-hour #hack4detroit event in downtown Detroit! If you’re a coder, here are five reasons why you should participate:
By Kelly Kozlowski | Automation Alley | 3/11/2015
Kelly Kozlowski, Automation Alley's senior director, discusses how mentoring a local FIRST Robotics team of high school students has opened her eyes to the  endless opportunities for young women in STEM fields. 
By Automation Alley Staff | Automation Alley | 2/18/2015
Were you unable to attend Automation Alley’s Technology Industry Outlook last week? Not to worry! View video and the full report here.
By Ken Rogers | Automation Alley | 2/11/2015
On the eve of our Technology Industry Outlook event, Ken Rogers, Automation Alley's executive director, shares his thoughts on the state of Southeast Michigan's technology economy. 

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