Industry 4.0 is not about introducing new advanced machines, but in knowing how to combine different technologies and in this way integrating machines, people and information systems to create smarter products, services and work environments. Industry 4.0 is a change of what industry is, a way to bring a bit of innovation within Italian companies.

These new production technologies are the 9 enabling technologies:

_ Advanced manufacturing solution: advanced production systems. These technologies include automatic material handling systems and advanced robotics.

_ Additive manufacturing (3D printing).

_ Augmented reality: vision systems that to support operators in carrying out their daily activities and prototyping.

_ Simulation: simulation between interconnected machines to optimize the processes.

_ Horizontal and vertical integration: integration and exchange of information, horizontal and vertical, between all the actors in the production process.

_ Industrial Internet: communication between the elements of production within the enterprise, but also outside thanks to the use of the Internet.

_ Cloud: implementation of all cloud technologies such as “online storage” of information, the use of “cloud computing” and external services of data analysis, etc.

_ Cyber-security: guarding the security of information and systems that must not be altered from the outside due to new interconnections.

_ Big Data Analytics: management techniques of large amounts of data through open systems that allow forecasts or predictions.

These new technologies will have a profound impact on four lines of development:

  1. The use of data, computing power and connectivity and therefore from Big Data to IoT (Internet of Things).
  2.  The value that emerges from the data,  today companies are able to use only 1% of it.
  3.  The interaction between human being and machine;
  4.  The transition from digital to “real”.

Many are worried that this way of changing the company could result in a major loss of jobs. But this is not the way to face a change that is still taking place and that, if managed in the right way, can represent, rather, a huge opportunity. The real problem is: the current workforce in the companies do not have the adequate skills for new production processes.

The central theme is that we don’t need new rules of work, but a digital education, to update the workforce. Do we really understand what does agile and intelligent work mean? Are we thinking about the digitization of work, about how jobs, production processes, productivity, training change? Jurists and economists believe that some figures will disappear, as the machines will perform the executive and repetitive works.

What companies will really need will be creativity. Creative people, however, do not respond to orders and directives, but must be motivated. Even the difference between workers and managers is bound to change, and probably even the managerial figures will undergo changes because more and more will be needed.

What will be the key figure of these processes, the one that will lead and assist companies in the control, decisions and interpretations of this new reality? It will be a figure with creativity applied to different aspects of the job, able to generate contexts of exchange and innovation: it is a leader who brings change and who can read innovation. Industry 4.0 can bring risks, conflicts, tensions, and low inclusion, but it is also a challenge to be seized, to increase productivity and efficiency, but more important to ensure that these are focused on the enhancement of people, territories and skills.