Which professions should our children go into?
How do we deal with the disappearance of jobs due to automation? Which degrees should our children study for? Will people even work at all in the future? We are all asking these questions, employees and employers, works councils, politicians and us, of course.
We think that concepts such as a machinery tax or an unconditional basic income are worth discussing as ideas towards securing the livelihood of society, but they can only ever be interim solutions. There is already a shortage of specialists for the implementation of digital solutions, so we can already see that there will not be less work, it will simply change greatly. Since we actively support these changes, we monitor where these new forms of work are being created, which qualifications are required for the work force to be able to fill the jobs of tomorrow and how training programs and courses can be devised to prepare employees for change. Passing our findings on is part of our exchange with our customers, and of our understanding of society.
Why the „German“ in Germanedge?
Is there even still such a thing as German know-how? Is German a locational advantage? Isn’t “digital” and “local” a contradiction in terms?
Of course, the „German“ in our name isn’t there by accident. Our product partners are German companies and Germany is internationally held to be a leading place for industry 4.0. This is no coincidence since Germany looks back on an impressive history of technical and technological inventions and developments. If we want to draw on this history, we are committing to carry it on at the same time. While our solutions are digital and independent of location, they are “Made in Germany” and this is still a mark of quality by which we profit. This is why we feel obliged to strengthen Germany. Do you?
Will digital twins create overpopulation?
What do we need these digital twins for? What are they even? Will there be a virtual image of everything, even people?
Any layman asking what a digital twin is will usually get a simple explanation: a digital twin is the virtual image of a real object. While this is true, it doesn’t even come close to describing all the possibilities of this concept in driving digitalization forward. The simulation of production processes and virtual putting into operation of machines enables not only smooth processes in existing production, but also helps to explore the feasibility of planned production changes. But if the digital twin is so good, will this mean that we might not need real machines anymore at some point in the future? Will there no longer be any difference between real and virtual world?
Is reality really expandable?
How can virtual and real worlds be connected? And which of them gains the upper hand?
The connection of real and virtual worlds can broaden our view on reality but it also holds challenges: developments take place in both worlds, but they do not necessarily run in parallel. The software might for instance be able to do things for which the appropriate hardware does not exist yet. The idea, that the entire workforce of the production floor might wear AR-glasses as of tomorrow might be nice but it isn’t really feasible while the glasses limit the field of vision in real space and become a safety risk. And until the perfect AR-glasses have been designed, the situation of application might have changed again. Obviously, nobody wants to conduct an arms race with software and hardware, which ends up producing cost and not really serving anyone. For this reason, it is vital for us to interconnect with representatives from both worlds and to plan on the basis of real use cases, together with our customers – because the decision on if and how it might be expandable still lies with reality itself.
Who needs all this data?
What kind of data is being collected in production? Is it really all needed? Who controls how the data is handled, how important is an awareness for data protection?
An observation from our booth at the Hannover Messe 2018: To illustrate the concept of the digital twin, we offered to take pictures of visitors and turn them into "digital twins", which we then showed on a large screen. Many joined in and were happy to participate – hardly any of them asked what would happen with their photo afterwards. Future production is inextricably connected with data collection. Which data will be collected, how it will be evaluated and used is not always clear at the beginning and much data remains unused. Do you know what data you need? Which percentage of the data collected in your production processes do you use? Do all persons involved need to be aware of data protection or does the responsibility lie with individual people in charge? Incidentally: we deleted all portraits of the trade fair visitors.
Is it ok to be afraid?
Why are people afraid of digitalization, of change and of the future?
It is possible to meet fear of the future with rational argument. The most important can be seen in evolution: change means adaption to external conditions and thereby ensures continued existence. The future is change and change means security. But if we want to promote a positive image of the future, we cannot condemn fears but should instead enable discussion about them – because suppressed feelings will only be strengthened and become immune against arguments. And we must promote a positive language. An example? Our MES-solutions lead to time savings and higher efficiency. From an entrepreneurial standpoint this is positive but for the employee these words can connote stress, performance pressure and control. The opposite is true: thanks to our solutions they can manage their working hours more flexibly and improve the quality of their results. A positive attitude is also transported by positive language. Let us bear this in mind when we enter into dialogue.