The notion of increased industrial automation is nothing new and is a subject followed with keen interest by many of my colleagues.

Today, CapGemini announced the findings of its Smart Factories report for 2017 and some of the numbers make you sit up and take notice.

As part of the findings, global manufacturers surveyed expect that their investments in smart factories will drive a 27% increase in manufacturing efficiency over the next five years, which would add $500 billion to the global economy. That's big.

However, offsetting this excitement is the verdict that the UK, whilst getting into the swing of automation, is expected to be behind the global average adoption rates for use of the Internet of Things, advanced robotics and Big Data.

Currently, only 8% of UK manufacturers are satisfied with their progress in smart projects, with 31% declaring themselves to be ‘struggling’.

There will no doubt be UK companies and industry subsectors that will lead the way, but given the potential economic benefits, the UK as a whole cannot afford for its efforts to run out of steam.