Industrial systems nowadays are very complex entities, which have to perform all the time at the maximum of their performances in order to compete in the global game. It is a very challenging goal and it requires well planned (management-driven) activities to ensure a continuous monitoring of performances and proactive search for their improvement in order to perform better than the competition. Process improvement is usually a costly activity since it requires experts knowledge about the process/domain, analytical skills for finding problems/opportunities and corresponding technical infrastructure for an efficient implementation of innovations. This is especially difficult for small and medium enterprises, who are, on the other hand, mostly “suffering” from the global competition.
Luckily, new industrial revolution (Industrie 4.0) opens new frontiers for improving industrial systems by enabling increased understanding how a system is behaving through advanced sensing of every activity, horizontally and vertically. Indeed, by connecting smart things anywhere and anytime, modern industrial systems generate a huge amount of data (multi-modal, multivariate/high-dimensional and streaming) that reflects almost everything within the complex manufacturing entities. Due to a huge progress in the technology development, the prices of sensors and their deployment have become affordable for any type of companies, opening new possibilities for innovations.