We are more ready than ever to put 2020 behind us. Despite all the challenges that we all faced, this year was also a year for improving processes, workflows, and product developments that will enable us all to have a more prosperous new year in 2021.
The Microsoft Hololens 2 is a mixed-reality headset that allows a user to touch, grasp, and move holograms or virtual objects that respond like real-life objects.
In Smartforce Development at AMT, we will end this year with a new e-learning version of MT Sales Fundamentals; a newly updated e-learning version of the Certified Manufacturing Technology Sales Engineer (CMSTE) Certification program; new, fun, and engaging educational content for students; a new “Smartforce Developments” section on IMTS spark focusing on education and workforce development issues; and a fresh, new vision for Smartforce policy direction that will become part of AMT’s Manufacturing Mandate 3.0.
Steve Lesnewich, Catherine Ross, and I returned from Chicago on March 11th from the last in-person MT Sales Fundamentals (MTSF) course of 2020. We had already recorded the entire workshop in preparation for converting the content of MTSF to our e-learning platform, and following months of instructional design and development, MTSF is now available for your new salespeople to learn at their own pace from their desktops. MTSF will still be available in its traditional in-person format as well, but the e-learning version means that it is available on demand to AMT members when they need it.
The Smartforce Development department teamed up with AMT’s Technology department for a priority project to educate and engage the industry on transformational technologies, including additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, augmented reality (AR), automation with a focus on robotics, digital twin, and generative design. A great deal of the content of that project will translate over to an update of the CMTSE program along with other updates on fundamental technologies, and the CMTSE program will be delivered 100% via e-learning.
A byproduct of the transformational technologies priority project was the development of the “Tech It Out!” game show that we aired on the IMTS Network. A further derivation of “Tech It Out!” will be available as a fun and engaging learning experience for teachers to assign their classrooms, especially while students are still learning from home.
The Student Summit at IMTS was completely re-imagined as the online Smartforce Career & Education Experience featuring the addition of a smartphone AR application. The digital platform allows teachers and students to engage with our industry exhibit partners, their machines, robots, software, technology, and measuring devices along with 3D models of cool parts right from their smartphones or tablets.
The aptly named “Smartforce Developments” section of IMTS spark features interviews on what’s happening around the country with regard to advances in educational technologies like using AR in the classroom along with interviews of subject matter experts on the state of school re-openings. There are also interviews on developing new industry-recognized standards and credentials around technology advancements in multi-axis CNC machining, smart manufacturing job functions and dimensional measurement, and discussions on the launch of new Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship programs.
AMT’s Manufacturing Mandate 3.0 wraps up our thought processes on all of these developments and adds guidance and recommendations for policymakers on using 5G technology to increase and improve nationwide access and using blockchain-style online badging, especially as job duties change to address new technology evolutions and revolutions. This would allow us to track credentials that individuals have earned and possibly match them to employers who have a specific workforce need in that area, where and when it is needed, allowing our industry to take a bigger dent out of the skills gap.