The Digital Future is Now

How the internet, bluetooth, sensors and GPS are shaping our industry's future

The State of the Industry issue always takes a hard look at the current situation of our equipment markets and economy while also taking a look ahead at what is yet to come. This year it was not difficult to see how prevalent the digital age has become and been incorporated into the long-term plan of our OEM and component suppliers.

The topics of coverage include several major digital technology movements, including the Industrial Internet of Things (starting on page 20), the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (starting on page 28) and the Technologies of the Future. Even though many companies are cutting costs through downsizing, product reduction, industry exiting and factory consolidation, there is still a positive view of the long-term investment in mining as a market of opportunity. As I sit in presentations at MINExpo 2016, I hear nothing but talk of investments in the digital space, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the down market.

This is the perfect cross section of technological demand, market acceptance, and performance delivery coinciding with an industry in desperate need of further optimization that can't be found by simply updating a fleet with new machines. These machines must do more than every before in terms of productivity and profitability, and it can't always be realized in an optimized powertrain; that comes from the type of understanding and efficiency gains that can be obtained through digital technology integration and data analysis.

You will notice that we have reconfigured the format of our State of the Industry to compile our participants' responses by topic instead of by company. We want to make sure that the information we are providing is able to easily demonstrate any macrotrends or significant differences of opinion dependent on a company's position in the marketplace. Each company's complete interview can be found online if you want to read about a specific company's perspective.

We look forward to any feedback about this new organization of the same great information provided by industry leaders and experts.

Be sure to head online at to see highlights and product announcements from the show!