Digital Transformation of Europe’s industry and enterprises

23 October 2015 Author: EIFonline

Digital Transformation of Europe’s industry and enterprises "Industrie 4.0", "Usine du Future", "Smart Industry", "High Value Manufacturing" and "Fabbrica Intelligente" are just a few of the 20 initiatives that exist around Europe to use advanced ICT to transform Europe's industrial heritage and future. If correctly implemented, this fourth revolution holds huge potential for European businesses and consumers.

However, there is a risk that all these national initiatives are fragmented and therefore the potential will not be fully exploited. How can the European level play a role in coordinating and advancing the "Digital Transformation of Industry"? What are the real benefits for European businesses and consumers? These are the questions that Members of the EIF addressed during this Dinner Debate, chaired by Pilar del Castillo, MEP and EIF Chair.

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Antti Peltomäki, Deputy Director General DG GROW, European Commission, stressed that the digital transformation of European industry is not an option but rather a necessity. Europe needs to capitalize on this process, and reviewed the European instruments that companies can use to accelerate this process.

Carsten Rossbach, Senior Partner at Roland Berger, spoke about the opportunities and risks that European companies are facing from digital transformation and presented ‘The digital transformation of industry’, a study measuring the overall effect of digitization on the European economy. The findings reveal the dramatic consequences of the changes currently in progress: If Europe fails to turn the digital transformation to its own advantage, the potential losses for the 17 EU member states covered add up to 605 billion euros by 2025 – equivalent to the loss of well over 10 percent of the continent's industrial base. But if Europe is able to harness the possibilities opened up by connected, more efficient production and new business models, its manufacturing industry could gain an extra 1.25 trillion euros in gross value- added by 2025.

Alessandro Curioni, Vice President for Research at IBM Europe, also spoke about the opportunities for Europe that the 4th industrial revolution and the Internet of Things will bring: smart products, improved decision making, increased productivity, increased energy and inventory management. He noted that SMEs should be upfront in this revolution.

Hubertus von Roenne, Vice President of Global Industry Practices at BT Global Services, noted that for Europe to embrace the full benefits of this industrial revolution will require a fundamental mind-shift: ‘the 4th industrial revolution is about the technology as enabler but more importantly it is about how the processes and people deal with data’.

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