Thursday, 5 March 2015

Smart Industry - Driving Industrie 4.0 for all of Europe

It is almost two years ago that I published a blog post on Industrie 4.0 seeing it as a major challenge and new area for Europe to be addressed. Since then the topic of Industrie 4.0 got a lot of traction in Germany. There are reports about Industrie 4.0 in the German media almost every day.

Also a lot of excellent work has been done. The German Platform Industrie 4.0, which was initiated and supported by the three main German industry associations for Industrie 4.0, BITKOM, VDMA, and ZVEI, did major pioneering work in defining architecture principles, use cases, producing market insights. All future work in Germany and beyond is well positioned building on this work.

Regarding standardisation,  in Germany the DIN/DKE steering committee on Industrie 4.0 coordinates the ongoing work and gives key guidance. Moreover, globally many activities have started or strengthened in Internet of Things and M2M standardisation.

In the meantime a number of activities are also taking place in other countries in Europe as well as globally. The Industrial Internet Consortium, which was founded in the US and rapidly grew into an influential and highly agile global network, is moving on with high speed creating markets and preparing the ways for technology development and adoption.

The new European Commission has now also taken up the topic and is decided to promote it as a major area of interest for Europe. Following this strategy the topic of Smart Industry was one of the four major selected topic areas under discussion at last week's stakeholder forum DIGITAL4EU organised by DG CONNECT.

I had arrived in time in Brussels to follow the discussion which was excellent and much to the point. There was unanimous agreement in the room about the relevance of the topic for Europe and the need to lead. From my perspective: smart industry is clearly one of the main areas for the next decades for policy makers, industry and society. And will further transform the way we are working and operating in production, manufacturing, automation, down to consumer behaviour and opportunities regarding customisation of products and individual choice.

I am all excited about this to continue. The next step is to get things right: identify needs on the policy level so that industry can flourish and drive things based on identified market requirements. And for standardisation: the environment for successful global standards is available and good work is under way. All promising ... let's jointly work to make it a success for Europe.

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