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Making Industry 4.0 real in Kaunas

DIGINNO Industry 4.0 conference under the motto "Making Industry 4.0 real" took place in Kaunas, Lithuania on 20th March 2019. With almost 400 participants, the practice-oriented conference offered 20 highly-professional presentations from international speakers coming from Germany, Estonia, Denmark, Latvia and other countries.

The panel discussion of the day put the focus on the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), where one of the future key growth drivers are digitalization and Industry 4.0 related transformation of manufacturing. Under the title "Industry 4.0 in the Baltics: Competition or partnership" the panel session was kicked-off by DIGINNO project partner Niels Koefoed from Aalborg University presenting the main findings from the business needs assessment conducted by the DIGINNO project.

Niels Koefoed pointed out that it is surprising that technologies such as Machine Learning, Big Data and Block Chain are not considered by the SMEs in the Baltic Sea Region as important. Furthermore, the business environment for the SMEs needs to be improved when it comes to taxation, regulation and legislation, financial instruments and access to workforce. Niels Koefoed stressed that Baltic Sea Region countries have a huge opportunity in collaborating in projects which have the potential to distrupt existing world markets by using new technologies such as Machine Learning and Big Data.

Doris Põld from Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications added that BSR countries have similar challenges and it is important to tackle them together as one economy. Future leaders will be the countries and regions who invest in ICT and traditional industries cooperation today.

It was agreed that in a context where SMEs will be significantly affected by digitalization and Industry 4.0 related transformation of manufacturing, transnational collaboration and creation of cross-border value-chains is of the utmost importance for Baltic Sea Region countries. DIGINNO project is one good example of transnational collaboration between countries in the same region.

The conference also benefitted greatly from speakers representing big German enterprises, like Hella, which is steering the transformation process and IoT applications in the automotive supplier industry, or Festo AG & Co. KG which shared their experience with adapting and shaping Industry 4.0 in the company. Most of the presentations introduced the audience to real examples from companies’ activities and business solutions, showing what challenges and transformations they faced, how much investments they needed and what returns are already gained or expected in the future by those who adapt and keep pace with the development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Next year the DIGINNO Industry 4.0 conference will take place in Sweden.

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