On July 1 the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) in cooperation with the Knowledge, Innovation and Strategies Management Clubs (KISMC) organized an interactive event called “Games for Entrepreneurs” – skills laboratory in Industry 4.0. The event was hosted on-site in the new building of BIA.
The purpose of the event was to present the results achieved within the Upskilling Lab 4.0 project, funded by the European Union's Erasmus + Programme, and namely:
The conference was opened by Radosvet Radev, President of BIA, who shed light on the growth of companies in Industry 4.0:
"There are about 400,000 enterprises in Bulgaria, of which 15,000 are large and medium, and all the others are small and micro. Among these 390,000, there are 10,000 companies with double-digit annual growth rates. All of them are part of Industry 4.0, and I am glad that we are all gathered today at this forum to talk about them - about the new economy and the economy of the future", opening words by Radosvet Radev.
His speech was followed by a presentation by Mihail Balabanov - Executive Director of the National Erasmus agency, who introduced the participants to the funding opportunities under the new Erasmus + programme.
The second half of the event kicked off with an interactive game, engaging all participants, followed by a panel discussion on the topic: “The place of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Industry 4.0”. Kristina Eskenazi and Svetlin Penkov from AI Cluster Bulgaria discussed examples of AI in the production and supply of goods and services. Furthermore, they outlined both successful practices, as well as reasons for failure in the implementation of AI.
The conference was closed out with a presentation by Vladimir Danailov - Executive Director of the Fund of Funds, who introduced the participants to the funding opportunities for Bulgarian companies at different stages of their development.
The conference was attended by 44 participants. There were journalists from the National radio, Bloomberg TV, printed and online specialized media.
Photo gallery from the event can be found here.
The EU funded project UpskillingLab 4.0 and its outcomes were presented and tested on the 22nd and 23rd April 2021. The main project goal is to provide skill improvement opportunities to companies’ staff (managers and employees involved in innovation), so as to empower them to foster open innovation between startups, scaleups, and established companies operating in specific verticals with focus on modern technologies and innovation (Industry 4.0).
The meeting saw the participation of representatives from the whole project consortium, which is composed of:
The meeting continued with an overview provided by Tontxu Campos from University of Deusto on the Upskilling Lab 4.0’s Skills Development Framework (Output 2), followed by a closing Q&A session.
On Friday, the 23rd, the meeting began with the presentation of the toolkits, followed by their testing and evaluation.
Jan Bormans from ESN guided the testing and evaluation session for the Training toolkit for start-ups/scale-ups (Output 3/A1), while Milena Koleva guided the one on the Training toolkit for start-ups/scale-ups (Output 3/A2) and presented the ongoing work on the Gamified platform (Output 4).
The meeting closed with a discussion on the evaluation methodology for the tools and the training led by Tontxu Campos and with a wrap up by Sasha Dijkstra.
When the concept of Industry 4.0 was first announced in Germany, this industrial revolution started growing from the theoretical concepts to real-word applications.
The change that this industrial revolution will bring will affect most of our lives, therefore many countries are preparing for it through policies, national strategies and research and development plans that will help overcome the challenges, but also grab the opportunities that are coming our way.
Since the concept on Industry 4.0 is still quite new there are no clear standards according to which it could be implemented. Therefore, each country is implementing it differently based on the needs of its market and industry specifications.
The European Union is also encouraging research into the field of smart technologies with research programmes that offer funding like “Horizon Europe”.
There are certain issues and challenges that are coming with Industry 4.0 and they mostly concern the lack of autonomy in many current systems, lack of bandwidth in a majority of the current network protocols, the need to ensure the quality and the integrity of the data recoded, making modelling and analysis satisfactory for practical purposes and the need to adjust current production routes.
And let us not forget the critical issue of cyber security (which will be approached in one of our next articles).
With all these issues in mind, most of the developed countries are investing in research and development either though substantial government founding or through incentives for the industry to invest in its future.
If you are interested in knowing how countries are preparing for the Industry 4.0 revolution and what are their programs and plans for the future, you should read this article.
European Startup Network
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.