Future Factories

Industry Must Set Own Digital Destiny

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  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany hopes its Industry 4.0 plans will result in another industrial revolution within 20 years.

  • Facts


    • Industry 4.0 is part of the German government’s strategy to digitize commerce.
    • A major component is to promote the computerization of manufacturing.
    • Smart Services, the provision of digital services rather than products, is also key.
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Digitization will bring fundamental change to society and the economy. It’s not something we can vote out of office, but we can structure it to suit our purposes. It’s time to take action – entrepreneurially and politically, but also in very personal ways.

To do so, we have to look at the big picture instead of discussing the various facets in different contexts. This big picture can also provide direction to economic policy discussions of investment programs, so that we don’t just repair bridges but also build bridges for the future.

Digitization changes almost every aspect of everyday life. For example, we are constantly carrying at least one microcomputer with us. When we sit down in a modern car, we are getting into a highly networked multi-sensor with about 150 computer chips inside. There are networked rooms in most new office and residential buildings. Smart grids form the infrastructure of Germany’s transition away from nuclear power and toward green energy, known as the Energiewende. In healthcare, smart systems provide the sick and the elderly with more independence and improve their quality of life.

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