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  • Published on 20 Mar 2015
  • External News

Software Innovation and Cyber-Physical Systems: the key to smart manufacturing

The future of smart manufacturing and the impact of software innovation in Smart Industry, or Industrie 4.0., provided the theme of the Co-summit in Berlin, organised by ITEA - the EUREKA Cluster on Software-intensive Systems and Services - and by the ARTEMIS Industry Association on Embedded & Cyber-Physical Systems. The overriding conviction was that software innovation and Cyber-Physical Systems are the enablers of the new smart industry era.

Over two days a diversity of projects, presentations and discussions demonstrated the central and crucial role played by ITEA and ARTEMIS projects in the creation of new, smart manufacturing and processing. In her keynote address, Jutta Schneider, Director of eDrive and Software Technologies at Daimler AG, underlined the importance of "software innovation as a key driver", a view that was resoundingly echoed by other prominent speakers from the German government, the European Commission and industry. During the panel discussion on the Co-summit theme, TNO’s Egbert-Jan Sol suggested that "it is not simply software innovation but also business innovation and social innovation" that are keys to the evolutionary process that is revolutionising industry. Importantly, Thomas Lagerberg of ABB put the question: "We have all these big data and connectivity but it is important to ask what’s in it for me, how can I make money out of it? We have to demonstrate the benefits to people."

Examples of precisely such benefits were being displayed all around the exhibition floor: ARTEMIS and ITEA projects that not only captured the imagination but actually showed to more than 700 visitors and participants the tangible impact of their work. Like the R5-COP autonomous WALL•E-looking robot wandering around the exhibition floor, an example of a smart solution for dirty and dangerous jobs, or the BaaS project leaders in their hardhats and hazard warning vests that attracted interest in the use of novel value-added services and applications for smart commercial buildings – both winners of the Exhibition Award.

Speakers corners offered insight into smart industry trends, such as the future of automated driving with a focus on secure connectivity and the role of Cyber-Physical Systems as a key technology in the connectivity. Or the dilemma of financing healthcare in which Philips believes that by cleverly linking Cyber-Physical Systems the costs of realising requirements for the healthcare system chain can be reduced. Speakers from as far as Canada and South Africa underlined the global dimension of the Co-summit and the European programmes.

This Co-summit set its sights firmly on demonstrating the impact – technological, business and societal – of the seventy-plus projects exhibited. In the ITEA and the ARTEMIS Community sessions the excellence and achievements of the projects were highlighted. Philippe Letellier, Vice- Chairman of ITEA, reflected not only on the exceptional standards achieved in the past year but also on the significant and tangible business impact generated by the projects. Three stood out: EASI-CLOUDS for having developed a real federated cloud-computing service, MEDIATE whose image-guided intervention techniques enable minimal-invasive surgery and thus less patient discomfort, and SAFE that has been instrumental in raising the functional safety standard ISO 26262 in the automotive world. Alun Foster, Head of Dissemination for the ECSEL Joint Undertaking, paid tribute in the ARTEMIS Community session to the many completed diverse projects whose industrial and societal impact has been considerable. As an example he cited the Reference Technology Platform developed by the MBAT project that helps Europe gain a leading edge in affordable and effective validation and verification technology. He also made special mention of IoE, whose focus was connecting the internet to energy grids to create an electric mobility infrastructure, and High Profile, where better imaging of the central nervous system and the head/neck area will improve diagnostic treatment of neurological diseases and be extendable to the whole field of advanced medical imaging.

In the Co-summit theme speech Heinrich Daembkes, President of the ARTEMIS Industry Association, stated that "software is increasingly influencing the entire value chain and software is even defining the features of products and thus their competitiveness – it determines whether or not you will succeed in the marketplace." With a need to focus on driving digital technology to further exploitation and the creation of some 150,000 jobs annually in Europe, he added that, as ARTEMIS, "we are actively supporting the industry to address the public authorities with their insights to ensure priority is given to investments in Cyber-Physical Systems."

Rudolf Haggenmüller, ITEA Chairman, underlined how ITEA "projects are at the heart of business, one in which software innovation has a huge impact. We are witnessing the merging of the real world with the virtual world and the smart industry as a result is characterised by strong customisation of products, high flexibility, integration of customers and suppliers. Industry is being challenged to do many conflicting things all at the same time - increase productivity and reduce energy, increase flexibility and reduce costs, cut time to market and satisfy demand for high quality and variety of products. Without software innovation this would be inconceivable."

The end of this Co-summit signalled just the beginning of a new phase of impactful projects that will help support European industry and benefit society worldwide.