Digitizing industry

New Rules of the Game

industry 4.0 whote background dpa
New drive for unity.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Brussels must step in to help Europe create a fully networked production future, or it will continue to fall behind the United States.

  • Facts


    • Industry 4.0 is part of the German government’s strategy to digitize commerce, especially manufacturing.
    • Germany’s car, plant and machine manufacturers demand Europe-wide data and security rules.
    • There are calls for a European cloud, independent of the United States.
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Having Germany ask for more regulation from Brussels happens about as often as winning the lottery jackpot.

But the new networked digital future and drive to automate factories – or Industry 4.0 as it is called in Germany – is a wide-open field that requires new ways of thinking.

“We are not calling for more regulation to shackle us,” Reinhold Festge, president of the German Engineering Association, told Handelsblatt. “But we need Europe-wide rules for data security and for liability law, to advance the digital networking of industrial production.”

Matthias Wissmann, president of Germany’s automotive industry association, has made a similar argument. “It is Europe’s duty to ensure common development of the law in the areas of data and liability,” he said in Brussels.

Currently, there is a constant stream of industry representatives at the E.U. Commission trying to make their cases about Industry 4.0 to the digital commissioner Günther Oettinger and industry comissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska.

And the clock is ticking as the U.S. is racing ahead in this area.

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