I met Çağlayan Arkan, Vice President, Global Strategy and Sales Lead, Manufacturing and Supply Chain at Microsoft, a few years ago. Checking through Microsoft press information recently, I came across his blog reporting from Hannover in May. Here are four trends he picked up.

He begins by citing Microsoft partners at the event: ABB, Ansys, Accenture, Avanade, AVEVA, Blue Yonder, Cognite, C3.ai, ICONICS,o9 Solutions, PwC, PROS, PTC, Rockwell Automation, Sight Machine, Tata Consultancy Services, and Tulip Interfaces.

1. Empowering a diverse frontline manufacturing workforce. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, 63% of manufacturing frontline employees are excited about, and ready for, the job opportunities technology creates. Microsoft continually releases products designed to empower workers at all levels.

Everyone who makes a computing and visualization device is working on this trend. And many (most?) build upon one Microsoft technology or another. Twenty years ago Microsoft spokespeople explained how the company’s products were a foundation for others to build applications atop. That concept exists still today.

2. Fueling the next generation of factories with the industrial metaverse. Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing serves as the foundation for the “industrial metaverse,” which converges physical and digital worlds to bring the factory of the future to life through advanced technologies including IoT, AI, digital twins, mixed reality and autonomous systems.

Are you as tired of “metaverse” as I? However, augmented reality devices exist. I’ve tried on a variety at trade shows. I don’t think this is a technology in search of an application. There are use cases. As soon as they become easier to use, they’ll be everywhere.

3. Designing more resilient supply chains. Dynamics 365 enhances end-to-end supply chain visibility, enables flexible real-time planning and optimizes and automates fulfillment by seamlessly coordinating business processes to mitigate constraints. With Microsoft Teams embedded within the Dynamics 365 supply chain portfolio, collaborating to achieve consensus with internal team members and external partners is more streamlined, and can happen in near real-time.

Everyone who has any brush with news sources over the past couple of years knows about supply chain. And how they can’t get things they desire because of disruptions in the supply chain. Microsoft has products to mitigate problems.

4. Accelerating the manufacturing sustainability journey. Within manufacturing we have a tremendous opportunity to use the power of technology to achieve environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, improve sustainability and deliver long-term value for customers. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, available June 1, empowers manufacturers to accelerate their sustainability journey with solutions that unify data and enable comprehensive, integrated and increasingly automated sustainability management.

Sustainability is on every company’s radar. Need we say more?

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