Some call it ‘Project of the Future’, others ‘The Future of Productivity and Growth in Manufacturing’. Some praise it allows ‘technologies to reshape the way things are made’, others fear it shakes up global industrial players and leads to a loss of jobs. So, what’s really behind this mysterious Industry 4.0?
The dawn of a new industrial revolution is on its way. Innovations such as the steam engine in the 19th century, electrification in the 20th century, or the digitalization in the 21st century have not only changed the nature of industries but also transformed our way of life. Today, the Internet of Things, a world in which sensors, machines and IT systems are connected and seamlessly communicate with each other, has triggered the fourth industrial revolution. With that, the vision of smart factories has become a reality and disrupted business models, factory and process designs, and skill requirements for the workforce.
Dealing with the changes has become a top priority for business and government leaders, „because otherwise, those who are the leaders in the digital domain will take the lead in industrial production”, stresses German Chancellor Angela Merkel. How can German companies innovate in the digital world? What are lessons from the U.S. start-up culture and what needs to be done to strengthen transatlantic economic cooperation?