The only workable vision for economic transformation is Industry 4.0, people are our greatest asset


The National Centre for Industry 4.0 in cooperation with almost 60 authors is preparing a publication Industry 4.0 – the basis of economic transformation, which follows the key book on the topic published in 2016 Industry 4.0 – a vision for the Czech Republic. During the Open Day, which took place at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics and in cooperation with RICAIP Testbed Prague, five guarantors of the individual chapters – Vladimír Mařík, Jiří Holoubek, Jana Polášek Filová, Eduard Palíšek and Miroslava Kopicová – discussed the topic. Moderator Robert Keil, Director of the National Centre for Industry 4.0, focused the panel on topics such as the impact of digitalization on the labour market, sustainability of industrial production including energy management or new business models. All seen through the practical lens of the current situation and in line with the necessity of the economic transformation of the Czech Republic.

The basic thesis, on which the discussion panel unanimously agreed, was already stated in the introductory lecture by Professor Vladimír Mařík, Scientific Director of the CIIRC CTU and also the editor of the publication. The current economic situation in the Czech Republic is linked to the state of the economy in Germany, where stagnation is currently perceived. Energy prices are also crucial. The model of the Czech economy based on cheap labour has also been exhausted and we lack a vision for the future and a strategy. „The only truly technology-based and functional vision for economic transformation is Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 is not just about technology, but especially about people, new business models, legislation or cyber security. There is no other alternative comprehensive concept at the moment,“ Mařík stressed.

Jiří Holoubek, member of the Board of Directors of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, added: „Industry 4.0 is not a purely technological opportunity. Companies often do not realise that it is primarily an economic opportunity. Unfortunately, we cannot explain well, especially to small and medium-sized companies, that Industry 4.0 solutions bring quality results very quickly.“

Jana Polášek Filová, Digitalisation and Innovation Coordinator, Škoda Auto, explained why we should be very interested in new business models: „New business models are a way to create value for customers. Thanks to Industry 4.0 technologies and digitalisation, every company today has access to be able to use the information and data it has effectively.“

„We can imagine a really big breadth of opportunities here, what is important is the change in the optics of the view from savings towards opportunities and solutions for customers,“ adds Polášek Filová, an important aspect of the economic potential of new business models.

Miroslava Kopicová, Director of the National Training Fund, focused on the prediction of the labour market development, as she sees the decline of the working age population as very important. In sectors such as healthcare, education or IT, we will already be short of tens of thousands of qualified employees by 2028. By 2045, we will have 400 000 fewer people of working age. „The problem is that we will be missing the cutting edge if we want to be a technologically advanced country and become leaders. And we won’t produce them in a day. We need to open up our country to capable people.“

„The problem with the lack of people is a big one, but it is solvable, we need to work on it now,“ says Kopicová, stressing, „People are our greatest asset and we need to get people for Industry 4.0.“

Eduard Palíšek, CEO of Siemens ČR, presented a conceptual view on sustainability and resilience of the company in the discussion: „Geopolitical pressures, increasing attacks on intellectual property in digital form, disinformation, manipulation, unstable and volatile global markets – these are just some of the challenges that we must be able to respond to, anticipate and set up effective defence mechanisms against. This is why sustainability and resilience are important themes that permeate all areas of Industry 4.0 and digital transformation today. Companies that do not have a long-term vision and the need to develop in line with sustainability principles have no place in the competitive arena.“

Sustainability is also linked to the important topic of energy management, which, according to Professor Mařík, must necessarily be included in the search for meaningful integrated solutions for the future. „However, according to a survey by the Confederation of Industry and Transport, only 10% of companies are considering including energy management in their digital strategies,“ said Jiří Holoubek.

Often we see the term Industry 4.0 next to Industry 5.0. „It has to be said that we have not currently completed the Industrial 4.0 revolution. Talking about 5.0 at a time when what 4.0 offers has not yet taken place does not bring anything new, just a new buzzword, let’s avoid it,“ appeals Prof. Vladimír Mařík, who also draws on the joint statement of the Industrie 4.0 Research Council and the Industrie 4.0 Platform, i.e. the highest authorities.

„It is not only topics such as visions for the future, sustainability, the labour market, energy or new business models that will be addressed in the publication Industry 4.0 – the basis for the economic transformation of the Czech Republic, which will be published in autumn 2024. The discussion at the open day offered a sober vision based on truly workable principles, data and solutions. It should not escape those who care about our future and prosperity,“ concluded Robert Keil, Director of the National Centre for Industry 4.0.

Záznam panelové diskuse je k dispozici zde.


Foto: Jiří Ryszawy, ČVUT

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