It was recently presented the first edition of the Smart Manufacturing Observatory, realized by the School of Management of Polytechnic in Milan. The Observatory has examined a sample of 43 Italian manufacturing companies (including household appliances manufacturers) and 55 foreign companies to understand the major trends in the application of smart technologies for the manufacturing sector. The expression “smart manufacturing” includes those technologies that increase the competitiveness and efficiency of the manufacturing industry through the interconnection of the resources (physical assets, people, information), both internal to the factory and distributed along the value chain. The technologies in question are: Cloud Manufacturing, Industrial Internet of Things, Big Data Manufacturing, Advanced Human Machine Interface, Advanced Automation and Additive Manufacturing. According to the Observatory, the smart manufacturing in Italy shows a certain vitality albeit with different levels of diffusion and maturity. Most of the applications of these technologies regards the Smart Execution area (production, logistics, maintenance, quality and safety & compliance). In this area, the Internet of Things and Big Data are particularly applied, while the Cloud Manufacturing and the Advanced Human Machine Interface technologies seem to be the next reference technologies. Even the 3D printing is reaching more and more space in the development of new products and in the production. Moreover, the survey conducted by the Observatory on a sample of 55 companies in the world reveals that the smart manufacturing is a well understood phenomenon abroad. In particular Germany, the United States and UK have already established national programs to support the development of the smart manufacturing, considering it a key factor for the competitiveness of the companies. Even abroad there is a prevalence of applications in the Smart Execution area. IoT and Manufacturing Big Data are technologies now ready to enter in the processes of the companies, while the Cloud Manufacturing appears the most versatile technology both in terms of application areas and in terms of sectors.