The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation has issued a report on how Cloud Computing (defined as the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer) enables modern manufacturing. Calling it “a key platform technology” that plays “an essential role in enabling the next production revolution,” the reports summary declared:
Cloud computing—the provision of infinitely scalable computing resources as a service over the Internet—is in the process of transforming virtually every facet of modern manufacturing. Whether it’s how manufacturing enterprises operate, how they integrate into supply chains, or how products are designed, fabricated, and used by customers, cloud computing is helping manufacturers innovate, reduce costs, and increase their competitiveness. Critically, cloud computing allows manufacturers to use many forms of new production systems, from 3D printing and high-performance computing (HPC) to the Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial robots. Moreover, cloud computing democratizes access to and use of these technologies by small manufacturers. This report describes how cloud computing enables modern manufacturing, provides real-word case studies of this process in action, and recommends actions policymakers can take to ensure cloud computing continues to transform manufacturing and bolster America’s manufacturing competitiveness.