Author: Salvatore Corradi – FM Chairman
Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, has taken root in all respects, for this reason industries need to aim for digitalization if they want to remain competitive, agile and efficient. Industry 4.0 takes the emphasis on digital technology from recent decades to a whole new level with the help of interconnectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT), a concept that refers to connections between physical objects like sensors or machines and the Internet. But not only that, the new digital approach also affects access real-time data, and the introduction of cyber-physical systems, all to lead to a fully automated and interconnected industrial production.
The new digital technologies have a profound impact in terms of data use, computing power and connectivity, and are expressed in big data, open data, machine-to-machine and cloud computing. Once the data have been collected, however, it is necessary to derive value: today only 1% of the data collected is used by companies, which could instead obtain advantages starting from “machine learning”, that is, from machines that improve their performance by “learning” from data gradually collected and analyzed.
It is a challenge that is also cultural, to which the entrepreneurial fabric of small and medium-sized enterprises together with public and private subjects is called transversally.
The attitude and requirements that are required of 4.0 professionals are also changing: they are called upon to handle these recent technologies and, at the same time, to transform themselves into analysts to develop innovative formulas capable of benefiting from the mass of big data which will constitute the “collective memory”. The knowledge and skills required to face these challenges are increasingly high and engineers must face scenarios of increasing complexity: it is their task to guide and accompany entrepreneurs in the process of growth and change.
Drawing hasty conclusions on how much this new revolution will benefit is perhaps premature, but one certain fact is within everyone’s reach: during the COVID19 pandemic, the new industry and the technologies connected to it proved to be fundamental to counter the crisis. Being 4.0 in times of pandemics is no longer optional, in fact investments in digital technology have guaranteed industrial continuity even in the presence of a health emergency. Companies that have implemented technologies for the digitalization of the process have had a sort of competitive advantage, an acceleration towards a new normal in terms of productivity and competitiveness.
In light of this analysis, one thing is certain: the ideal company of today combines the excellence of industrial engineering with technological innovation. The most attractive candidate is the one who has mastered the computer applications that govern the machines and automatic systems intended for the most diverse types of production of the companies involved in the innovation of Industry 4.0.