Industry 4.0: Championing Europe’s fourth industrial revolution

Written by Adina-Ioana Valean, Vice-President of the European Parliament

Adina-Ioana Valean, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Romanian MEP member of the Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (European Parliament)

Adina-Ioana Valean, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Romanian MEP with EPP, member of the Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (European Parliament)

Historically, the European continent has been at the forefront of all major revolutions that have radically reshaped and refocused the advanced global economies. From the financial-agricultural revolution of the 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout the continuous industrial and technical progress of the last 200 years, Europe has been the birthplace of technical innovation, efficiency and productivity.

The digital revolution has, however, caught the Old continent off-guard. Most of the digital products and services we are using today are being bred in high-tech laboratories in either the United States or Asia. There are hardly any European names among the big global tech brands in online platforms, social media services or smart devices. We didn’t make it happen – on the contrary, the digital revolution has happened to us.

Moreover, the implicit rapid growth of the data economy is set to further surge, driven by the development of advanced cloud computing facilities, big data applications, as well as the Internet of Things (or IoT). Taking into account that it won’t only be your smartphone or your laptop that will have the capacity to connect to the web, each other and the cloud, but that a whole other set of tools are being developed to link your home, vehicle and workspace to your mobile devices, we are witnessing a series of massive changes triggered by the internet.

It is in this context that Europe stands the biggest chance of retaking the reins in driving innovation and productivity through its industrial sectors. The Internet of Things has the ability to increase the agility of the production process, with intelligent factories, machines and products communicating with each other and cooperatively driving production. Considering that industrial manufacturing stands for more than 15% of European Union’s GDP, is the main source of export, as well as a major driving force for employment, it goes without saying that the sheer benefits of embracing the digital tools are significant.

We have seen the power of disruptive business models to change the way the market works, consumers behave and companies produce and sell. Europe has the resources and ability to take that to the next level. Imagine that a majority of machines operating in a factory will have the ability to predict autonomously failures in the production system. Then picture maintenance or reparations triggered automatically, faster and more reliably than human judgement. And then how about packaging services that are able to predict and react to possible changes in the production process? Add to that the increasing number of related tools, such as big data, and sooner rather than later traditional industrial sectors will have the ability to not only upsurge productivity and quality of outputs, but also to predict and make use of competitive advantages in one sector or another. Championing ‘smart manufacturing‘ could then be the key element not only for growth and high-tech jobs, but also for Europe’s competitiveness on the global stage.

Of course nothing of such magnitude comes without its challenges. Disparities in digitisation among various industrial sectors and also among Member States, education systems still unable to equip our youth with the necessary digital skills, or the lack of appetite or knowledge among SMEs in adopting advanced digital tools, all these are real obstacles that should be duly taken into account and tackled.

It is up to us to create the right legal framework and to eliminate unnecessary red tape for the European industry to have the room and power to digitise, innovate and compete fairly on the global markets. Encouraging traditional industrial sectors to create intelligent networks along the value chain may mean that the next global tech champions will come from Europe.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

ILO’s Bureau for Employers´Activities to publish new study on women in business and management

MEPs adopt revised rules for road haulage operations in another EU country

Cholera surges, children in urgent need one month after Cyclone Idai slammed southern Africa – UNICEF

MEPs adopt new Fisheries Partnership with Morocco including Western Sahara

‘World’s deadliest sea crossing’ claimed six lives a day in 2018: UN refugee agency

Commission issues guidance on the participation of third country bidders in the EU procurement market

Draghi to lay his print on long term ECB policies prior to exiting next year

MEPs to grill Frontex director on agency’s role in pushbacks of asylum-seekers

Inequality in the delivery of health services

‘New tech’ business model threatens decent work conditions, warns UN

Risks rising in corporate debt market

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

These are the countries with the highest inflation

Islamophobia is driving more US Muslims to become politically engaged, suggests report

5 ways to go green in your own kitchen

This is what different countries are doing to stop coronavirus from spreading

Central Asia: the European Union matches political commitment with further concrete support

Data and the future of financial services

UN agency chief calls Ethiopia’s revised refugee law ‘one of most progressive’ in Africa

An electric motorbike could help tackle big game poaching. Here’s how

The relation of deforestation and respiratory diseases

Central Mali: Top UN genocide prevention official sounds alarm over recent ethnically-targeted killings

How women are transforming the Arab world’s start-up scene

Fifth-generation cyberattacks are here. How can the IT industry adapt?

Terrorist content online should be removed within one hour, says EP

MEPs: Access to adequate housing should be a fundamental European right

FROM THE FIELD: Faces and Voices of Conflict

Why the world is not as globalized as you think

Solidarity Fund: €823 million in EU aid for eight member states

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commission’s Vice President Šefčovič accentuates the importance of innovation to EU’s Energy Union

Trade: EU and 16 WTO members agree to work together on an interim appeal arbitration arrangement

Draghi’s negative interest rates help Eurozone’s cohesion

Gender Science: A sneaky healthcare risk factor

Stage set for successful 2020 Burundi elections, Foreign Minister tells General Assembly

Use space technology to build a better world for all, urges UN chief

‘Preserve, revitalize and promote’ indigenous languages, or lose a ‘wealth of traditional knowledge’, UN chief says

HPV vaccine: the silver bullet that saves women

Top UN officials sound alarm as Yemen fighting nears vital hospital in port city of Hudaydah

The city of Quito just made commuting quicker and safer

These 4 Nordic countries hold the secret to gender equality

Jo Cox’s murderer believed the ‘leave’ campaign leaders that the ‘remain’ vote is treason

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Catalan Pro-Independence vote: how many hits can Brussels sustain at the same time?

In wake of ‘collapsed’ agreement, new wave of violence threatens millions in Syria’s Idlib

LGBTQI+ and medicine

Why carbon capture could be the game-changer the world needs

Christmas spending: Who can afford not to cut?

Promoting Health in the Brazilian Amazon: one nation but many cultures

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

How young people can help respond to the coronavirus outbreak

The Great Reset requires FinTechs – and FinTechs require a common approach to cybersecurity

How curiosity and globalization are driving a new approach to travel

Political consensus critical ahead of Somalia election: UN mission chief

MEPs call for sanctions against Turkey over military operation in Syria

Will technology connect or divide us? The challenge for leaders in Globalization 4.0

COVID-19 threatens the developing world’s small businesses. This is how to save them

Is the ECB ready to flood Eurozone with freshly printed money?

EU–US: What is the real exchange in a Free Trade Agreement?

The world needs a circular economy. Help us make it happen

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s