How the Pandemic Accelerated Technology Adoption and Automation
With the pandemic forcing most office workers to work remotely, it’s no surprise that there are major shifts occurring in workplace technology innovation and adoption. Irene Petrick and Faith McCreary, both Ph.D. researchers and Intel IoT employees, branch out in this companion piece to their To the Edge and Beyond long-form podcast episode, Grounding Success in the Next Normal. The two share in-depth knowledge of industrial innovation and research findings from the past four years, specifically looking at the outside-in view of technology and manufacturing.
Over the past 24 months, Petrick and McCreary conducted a global study, “The Manufacturing 100,” that both coincided with the pandemic and yielded some surprising results.
McCreary explains, “What really struck me was the shift in their attitudes towards technology. There’s always been this hesitance around technology. Is it going to take my job? What’s it going to do to my work? But with COVID, with remote work, and the stressors that have come with COVID — things like resource fragility and not being able to get production out because they didn’t have enough people — you really saw people shift in how they thought about technology. It became this thing that could actually solve their problems.”
Not only are workers recognizing technology as a key to making remote work and automation possible, but technology is also, according to Petrick, increasing and improving data-centric decision-making.
Similarly, data is something that Petrick saw shifting since the pandemic began. “In 2019, we were worrying if we had enough data, did we have the right data, [and] did we really understand what data we needed,” Petrick says. “And most of our AI projects were exploratory at best. Now I think we’re dealing with a situation where not only do I have a better handle on what problems I need to answer, I know who needs to be involved, and I understand the kind of data that I need to be using to drive it.”
Petrick and McCreary look forward to bringing more updates on their research in upcoming episodes.