In France it is termed “Industrie du Futur”, in Japan “Society 5.0 and Connected Industries”, while in Canada it is called “Innovation and Skills Plan”, and the European Union launched in 2016 “Digitising European Industry – Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market”, but the most commonly used term globally is the German “Industrie 4.0”. However, the different approaches to this development give indications on the complexity of the phenomenon. Basically it is directed on the digital transformation of the society and its consequences with special focus on developments in robotics, the industrial application of artificial intelligence, 3D printing technologies and real-time big data analytics. When the Italian presidency of G7 calling to the first meeting September 25-26 it is these questions that are on the table with focus on innovation within the field.
Small- and medium-sized businesses are seen as key-players in this development, and the necessary collaboration with bigger business and higher education requires openness concerning free flow of data and information, interoperability of systems, access to enabling digital infrastructures. Something that have made the Nordic Countries announce that they want to enhance the EU Single Market to besides free movement of people, goods, services and capital, include a fifth pillar of free movement, namely of data. This is already part of the co-operation between the Nordic Countries.
In this spirit, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is launching a new project to promote cooperation between research and industry, called Learning Systems. This is a second platform besides the Industry 4.0-platform that we have written about earlier on eLearningworld. “Learning systems bring a new quality in the digitization. We want Germany to be a leading supplier of learning systems that is adapted to human users. Learning systems should strengthen prosperity and good work.”, says Dieter Spath, chairman of the Learning Systems-platform.
As we are in the pioneering years of this development, and constantly reaching new frontiers, such digital infrastructure remains the key for the necessary innovation within the field. Another field as the internet of things and artificial intelligence making its way is cybersecurity and to never forget that the technology should be working for the well-being of humans and human interaction, and not in any other way.