Hannover Fair 2019 - Melting pot of digitalization and industry
The Hannover Fair is probably the largest industrial fair in the world. In addition, since 2012 it has become the venue for the international competition for Industry 4.0 launched in Germany. There are presumably only a few places where you can see the information technology and the automation of the manufacturing industry currently merge into a new ground on which the Internet is evolving into the Internet of Things (IoT).
Anyone who has visited the Hannover Fair in 2019 and has also been there in recent years did not have to wonder anymore. Manufacturers of drives and control devices are here alongside machine and plant manufacturers, and in all halls, there is a rapidly growing number of exhibitors with either software for use in industrial processes (i.e. Dassault Systèmes, photo Sendler) or tools for the use of artificial intelligence or platforms for the supply of industrial apps or other tools and infrastructures for digital transformation. And also, in almost all halls more and more network, discussion forum, platform (i.e. Forum Industrie 4.0, photo Sendler).
Apparently, there are the small IoT offshoots of German family owned companies in automation and drive technology (i.e. PROTIQ from Phoenix Contact, photo Sendler) on par with cloud providers and software giants. But one should not be fooled. The latest and most interesting products are exhibited here. Of course, everyone is trying to score with their eye-catchers. But even a conversation with the sales people shows that the main sales is of course still made with the conventional products and based on the well-known business models. It is perhaps this both-and-also, this already-there and still-not-real-running, which now conjures up the danger of waning in the effort to go back on the old paths rather than dare the new.
That would be fatal. Those who have driven the development in the connecting people over computers and smartphones in the past decades, are almost all there, just waiting to also dictate the business model in the industry and the Internet of Things. Above all the Internet companies from the US, from Amazon via Google and IBM to Microsoft, but equal with them the Chinese competition with Haier and Huawei (photo Sendler).
The industrial location of Germany is at a fork in the road. Either a new kind of industrial business model with data is going out from here, or the still very strong industry here will become an extended workbench for stronger forces, for example from the USA and China. It is mainly due to the German industry and here at its strong small and medium businesses, which direction gets the upper hand. And a promising industry strategy of governments in the country would be helpful.