We are all experiencing the impact of the digitalization. Name any tech buzzword – be it artificial intelligence, Fourth Industrial Revolution (4.0), big data, Internet of Things (IoT) – and you will see a ripple effect on different industries, opening up new opportunities, rethinking new business models, but also creating new challenges for societies. In other words, digitalization is one of the most fundamental shifts that the world has ever seen and that society has ever dealt with. Should it scare us? I think it shouldn’t. And here is why…
In the industry sector, we are experiencing the full impact of digitalization – a sector that accounts for 70 percent of the global exchange of goods. Industry 4.0 enables manufacturers to create a “digital twin” of the entire manufacturing environment. Manufacturers can design, simulate, and test sophisticated products in the virtual domain before making the first physical prototype, before setting up production lines and before starting actual production. Once everything works in the virtual world, the results are transferred to the real world.
To put it simply, Industry 4.0 and digitalization are helping manufacturers to be better, faster, more flexible and to do more with less. And with the integration of new technologies such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence into industrial processes, the possibilities are expanding even further.
Slowly, we are starting to see some of the digital innovations in industry being applied to infrastructure. Advanced data analytics are being used to optimize infrastructure services. Digital twins and simulation software are helping design better buildings and more resilient grids. Transport service providers are being integrated to optimize capacity. All in all, IoT technologies offer huge potential to address infrastructure challenges, but ready access to resources and expertise will be essential.
Here IoT platforms can help as well. Our open, cloud-based IoT operating system is already being used by almost a million devices around the world. It connects industrial plants with the cloud. There, data can be securely collected, evaluated and used by a large variety of apps for various needs. All of this allows plant operators to, for instance, engage in predictive maintenance, as mentioned earlier as well as energy data management and resource optimization.
In the energy sector, we are seeing better outcomes for electricity producers, end consumers, the economy, and the environment through digitalization. For example, the digital transformation of utilities can improve the efficiency of power generation and the transmission and distribution of electricity, all while providing consumers with more capabilities and choices around their energy use. All of this accelerates decarbonization because less fuel is needed to produce the same amount of power. Digital tools also enhance operation throughout the electricity value network. This increases grid reliability and security, and reduces the cost to generate, transmit, and deliver electricity. These outcomes are possible because digital technologies can help physical systems to be more productive and autonomous. In short, our energy infrastructure is getting smarter and the main beneficiaries are people and the planet.
Equally important, digitalization should not only be a boon for large companies, but also for others. Small and medium-sized suppliers need to benefit as well. Today, no company is an island; no company produces everything from scratch. Rather, we operate in ecosystems that include customers, suppliers, government, service providers and companies big and small. We can use digitalization to strengthen these ecosystems.
The fact that Egypt has embarked on ambitious reform programs and the country’s keenness on modernizing the local industry, we see a lot of development potential for digitalizing Egypt’s manufacturing sector. Digitalized infrastructure and industry can drive sustainable and increasingly diversified local economy, and drive sustainable growth in new sectors. Egypt is a relatively new player in global engineering and digitalization, able to swiftly implement new tech and build skills.
As Siemens we have signed a MoU with the Egyptian government to improve the competitiveness of Egyptian industry, by providing digitization and automation solutions, as well as upskilling Egypt’s industrial workforce.
The challenges ahead are great, but the opportunities are even greater. It’s up to us to ensure that this revolution will benefit our companies, our economies, and above all, our societies. It’s up to us to shape the world of tomorrow. It’s up to us to make a difference. So, let’s work together!
This article was written by Emad Ghaly, the CEO of Siemens Egypt