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CMTS Day Two Focuses on Tech, Manufacturing’s Future

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — The second day of SME’s CMTS event focused on how technology is affecting manufacturing’s future.

A morning keynote session dealt with how manufacturers need to concentrate on the use of data and intellectual property.

“The basis of wealth and power is based on the control of data and intellectual property,” Jim Balsillie, chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators, said during an address at CMTS.

Intellectual property, or IP, traditionally has covered patents, trade secrets, copyright and trademarks.

Balsillie labeled IP as an example of “intangible assets,” and said it’s growing more important for manufacturing.

“This shift is happening,” he said. “It’s separating winners from losers. Get the message this is strategically important. Push it into your organization.”

Some manufacturing companies aren’t aware of the intellectual property they already have, Balsillie said.

“If you don’t protect your IP, you’re boxed in and you don’t even know it,” he said. “I’m sure if you talked to these businesses, you could find a couple of patents to file today.”

Growing Tech Expertise

At a separate afternoon address, an executive of software company Salesforce.com said manufacturing lags other industries in adopting digital technology.

“Customers are expecting more from you,” said Andrew Witherspoon a Salesforce vice president. “The ability to adapt is critical. All this technology coming at you.”

The executive said manufacturing companies likely will have trouble hiring technology personnel from the outside.

“There is little digital expertise in manufacturing organizations,” he said. “You want to grow that expertise internally.”

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