Does this mean that data analysis will become more important than the measurement itself in the future?
Arden: Both are important. They are not mutually exclusive. One feeds into another. Sensors are feeding data on a local manufacturing process level whereas big data is analyzing data at a global demand and supply level.
How long will it take until these ideas become reality?
Arden: The ideas of the smart factory are already taking place. Automation is driving factories toward 100% inline inspection with robotic or automated handling. Instead of inventory warehouses, products are being produced on demand and the factory is an orchestration of customer demand input, minimizing inventory through kanban systems, dynamic assembly systems, combined with next day delivery of customized product as output.