4 Powerful Trends in Product Design

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What will the factories of the future look like? Energy-efficient buildings and advanced production technologies are part of the plan, but what about product design and development? For technology futurist Jordan Brandt, four manufacturing trends will change how designers do their jobs. Is your company ready for meta materials, more powerful platforms, greater personalization, and hyperconnectivity?   
First, Brandt predicts that data will drive the design of next-generation materials with properties that aren’t observable in nature. Today, processes such as casting, molding, forming, and machining are used to produce materials with uniform bulk properties. Thanks to additive manufacturing, however, product designers are already excited about meta materials such as metals that shrink when heated.
Second, Brandt predicts that designers can expect even more powerful platforms for communication and collaboration. Today’s tools don’t just include Google Drive and Dropbox. Distributed teams of designers are using cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) products such as Autodesk PLM 360. As applications for the cloud grow and spread, engineers can look forward to even more robust solutions.
Third, Brandt foresees greater product personalization. From Coke cans to clothing to medical implants, buyers are already learning that they can find more than just mass-produced goods. What consumers are willing to pay for, however, isn’t just about individual preferences. In a weak economy with job insecurity and stagnant wages, novelty items may lose their marketing power.
Fourth and finally, Brandt focuses upon the future of connectivity. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) isn’t just about robots, smart manufacturing, and sensors. Ultimately, manufacturers need to analyze all of that Big Data. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) coupled with so-called “hyperconnectivity” can advance decision making, productivity, and profitability.
Image Credit: © connel_design/Dollar Photo Club


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