Looking back on this year’s Hannover Messe in Germany, it’s clear that achieving digital transformation is now the critical goal for all industries

Last year, in our Co-creating the Future series with GE Digital, we explored how the food and beverage industry is ready for digital transformation. We examined the new era of opportunities it will bring, and how manufacturers can prepare for the digital journey ahead. With digital transformation such a hot topic, it’s easy to see why it became the focal point of this year’s Hannover Messe – the world’s leading trade show for industrial technology.

From artificial intelligence and robotics to the new 5G communications standard, lightweight construction, and the future of work in the digital age, a wide range of topics were discussed that put the spotlight on the potential of digital transformation. And with Industry 4.0 gaining increasing momentum, this year’s event was a chance to see just how far we’ve come.  

Artificial intelligence

When it comes to artificial intelligence, many industries are currently focused on machine learning – a branch of intelligence that enables decisions and predictions based on large amounts of data. Specifically, manufacturers are becoming more interested in machine-to-machine communication and a global machine language. To learn more about machine learning and its potential, watch our exclusive interview with GE Digital’s intelligent systems expert, Jeff Erhardt.

5G communications

Another crucial factor for the future of manufacturing is the ultrafast 5G mobile telecommunications standard. With radically higher data transfer rates and capacity, this new standard is set to open up a whole range of possibilities for industrial applications. Robots could be controlled from the other side of the globe, video conferences could be in ultra-HD quality, and virtual reality applications could include increasingly complex infrastructure.

Lightweight design

Reducing materials and saving energy are now standard practices for manufacturers. But to remain competitive, businesses will need to embrace the growing trend of lightweight design and construction. Great strides are being made in developing stronger and lighter mechanical structures with oriented fibres or hybrid materials. Bionics and 3D printing are also revolutionising lightweight construction with complex structures that can weigh up to 50% less.

The future of work

With digitalisation transforming industry, new challenges and opportunities will arise in the way we work. From qualifications and skills to development and planning, the organisation of workers is likely to change significantly. In the past, many industries focused solely on plants and machinery. But in the future, industry experts believe the focus will shift increasingly to workers as we establish our place in an advancing digital age.

Want to know more about achieving digital transformation? Contact us or read about our Smart Factory platform, delivering IoT-enabled systems, solutions and technical services to transform filling plants into fully connected factories.   

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