As the implementation of Industry 4.0 takes place, and virtual and physical worlds slowly intertwine, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are starting to get used in various sectors and contexts - from consumer applications to manufacturing.
According to a survey conducted by PwC, AR and VR solutions are seen as the key elements of an overall digital manufacturing strategy in Industry 4.0. More specifically, AR and VR will play the fundamental role in system maintenance, service, quality assurance as well as self-learning and training.
Using simulation models and AR can help manufacturers speed up the entire production chain, virtual design processes or enhance the testing and digital prototyping. Likewise, consumers can also benefit from AR/VR experiences or products, such as special AR/VR glasses or headsets that will enhance their user experience.
As this trend continues, marketers are also expected to catch on and offer new solutions that highlight the prestige and wealth of a company or a brand that uses AR/VR technologies, e.g. luxury car brands.
According to a briefing from the European Commission, Europe, USA and certain Asian countries (Japan, China, South Korea) are currently the leading regions in terms of the development of AR/VR technologies.
The European VR and AR production value accounts for one quarter of its global value, and in the past years, a growing number of new start-ups focusing on these technologies have emerged. It is thus expected for the European share in the global AR/VR industry to increase in the upcoming years.
European Startup Network
Other source(s): https://www.i-scoop.eu/industry-40-virtual-reality-vr-augmented-reality-ar-trends/
The implementation of Industry 4.0 and the businesses who are increasingly using connected technologies to innovate, transform and modernize their internal processes are creating the need for constant assessment of cyber risks and improvement of information systems’ security.
As cyber risks in connected technologies and systems grow, cybersecurity should become a fundamental part of any Industry 4.0-driven initiative in order to prevent serious disruptions or data losses.
Digital supply networks and smart factories should be secure and resilient, and it is imperative to predict possible risks and cyber attacks, instead of trying to fix the issue at the end of the strategic process. As Deloitte stated in their report, two main cybersecurity objectives of digital supply networks are ensuring private sharing of sensitive information and secure vendor processing.
Smart factories, for their part, should ensure the safety of their employees, continuous production, protect the brand and reputation of the organization and ensure overall process reliability.
According to a briefing from the European Parliament, cybersecurity has only partly been included in relevant EU policies. So far, the key European strategies and legislation on cybersecurity have been focused on attaining the following goals:
● Protection of personal data;
● Security of operation of large scale and publicly accessible information networks;
● Protection of operation of key infrastructures.
The next objective is to embed cybersecurity in the future EU policy initiatives from the beginning, especially regarding new technologies and emerging sectors such as connected cars, smart grids and the loT.
European Startup Network
Apart from significant technology trends, there are various socioeconomic and cultural trends that provoke changes and affect the implementation of Industry 4.0.
Urbanization & Megacities
Although urbanization is not a recent trend, it is expected to continue rapidly in the next decade. According to ESPAS, approximately 2.5 billion people are expected to be added to the urban population by 2050 with Asia being the continent with the highest number of megacities.
It is important to take into account such concentration of inhabitants in certain areas in order to properly organize and adapt both global and local manufacturing and supply chains.
Healthcare in Industry 4.0
Growth of global, ageing population is expected to put strain on healthcare and related industries. Various Industry 4.0 and its technological solutions could help reduce costs of medical care and introduce medical help and practices in remote or poor areas while keeping high quality of services and delivering personalized care per patient’s requirements.
Industry 4.0 is also expected to introduce digital hospitals and propel manufacturing of customised implants, innovative tools and instruments for the medical field.
Greater work-life balance & remote working
Employees are taking their work-life balance more seriously than ever before, and since 2020 introduced remote working on a global scale, more and more people are seeing it as a great opportunity to improve their work-life balance.
Apart from spending more time at home, remote working helps cut transportation-related costs, saves time to people who otherwise have to travel long distances to their place of work and, in overall, helps them be more productive while also having more time to spend on other activities and family time.
European Startup Network
Innovations in technology, software, and hardware have been driving change and leading towards the implementation of Industry 4.0 for years, even more so since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. The world has seen significant advances in human-machine, machine-machine, and human-human connectivity that have a great impact on production systems and global processes.
Current and upcoming technology trends in Industry 4.0 trends are crucial in achieving the expected levels of (inter)connection and communication between machines that will lead to creation of smart and autonomous factories.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are the key trends driving innovation across all industries with AI-specific hardware being developed in order to optimize manufacturing. More and more factories are beginning to implement AI systems in their production processes with the aim of conducting predictive maintenance and implementing context-aware computing, smart machines and hardware accelerators.
Enhanced network and connectivity are two fundamental factors in enabling significant technology developments such as edge-to-cloud, 5G, machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and IoT framework. Innovations in this area are expected to increase not only speed, but also security and efficiency of data transmission and overall connectivity.
Advanced robotics make the processes in Industry 4.0 much faster and efficient, while also enhancing safety in manufacturing. Some of the most promising robotic technologies include collaborative robots (cobots), autonomous vehicles and drones, humanoids, mobile robots, cloud robotics and pick and place robots. Using robots means higher precision and agility, as well as freeing up the time for the human workforce to concentrate on other tasks.
The EU funded project UpskillingLab 4.0 kicked off in Sofia in December 2019. The main project goal is to provide skill improvement opportunities to companies’ staff (managers and employees) in order to connect international start-ups, scaleups, and established companies operating in specific verticals with focus on modern technologies and innovation (Industry 4.0).
The consortium delivering the project is composed of:
● Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), leader of the consortium
● Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club (KISMC), from Bulgaria
● Chamber of Craft & Small Business of Slovenia (CCSBS), from Slovenia
● University of Deusto, from Spain
● European Startup Network (ESN), from Belgium
● Inqubator Leeuwarden (INQ), from the Netherlands
The two Bulgarian partners Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), represented by Lora Lyubenova, and Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Club (KISMC), represented by Milena Koleva, in the video below share the achievements of the project to date and what could be expected in next project period.
Despite the disruptions and challenges caused by COVID-19, the project is being very well implemented due to the experience of all international partners and the actions taken to mitigate any risks associated with the pandemic and other external factors.
Watch the video now for updates on the Upskilling Lab 4.0 project:
For more information about the project, please read here.
Industry 4.0 enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) allows for the integration of people, assets and applications within a company. It also contributes to the integration of a company with its wider ecosystem, which probably consists of customers, subcontractors, suppliers and R&D partners.
Major trends that encourage Industry 4.0 are shorter product and service lifecycles and therefore the need to speed up time to market. Thus, the need for innovation will be increased. It might bring organisations to their limit in terms of innovation capacity and capabilities internally. Open Innovation can be an approach to master the innovation game and to stay competitive in fast-changing markets.
The term Open Innovation was coined by Henry Chesbrough, a professor at UC Berkeley`s Haas Business School. In his definition it is “the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation and to expand the markets for external use of innovation”. This is based on the acknowledgement that knowledge and experience within an organisation is limited and that internal regulations/processes might even cause further limitations to evoke innovation.
The most prominent challenge that comes along with Open Innovation is how to handle the intellectual property (IP). The collaboration with third parties in innovation could create conflicts about IP ownership and raise the question of which part of the innovation will be owned by whom.
Thus, it is a good idea to have a contractual regulation between the organisations for the processes of open and connected innovation fostered by Industry 4.0. There could be also a framework agreement between the organisations, that will set the rules under which joint innovation will take place.