ESMT Update December 2017
Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, wearables, cloud computing – what seemed to be the stuff of yesterday’s science fiction is today’s technology and changing what we expect of tomorrow’s business world.
With the coining of the term Industry 4.0, Germany both acknowledged and welcomed this digital transformation in traditional manufacturing. Rather than viewing the technology as an intruder, e.g., as something separate from and destructive of older business models and processes, firms are embracing the change as an evolutionary step towards a sustainable business future.
“Smart industry” is, by definition, technology driven, but it is also responsive to consumer and market demands in many unprecedented ways. The revelations of big data analytics support a consumer-centric approach. The ways customers engage with products and services – increasingly via mobile technology and internet-based platforms – is generating a wealth of insight into consumer behavior. Beyond revealing how these customers are adopting (and adapting to) technological innovations, data analytics are illuminating the paths that companies should follow to attract, satisfy, and retain customers in increasingly fast-driven, global markets.
In response to the developments of the “New Economy,” the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a piece on the role that educators can play. “The machines and sophisticated ICT equipment are useless without the competence to exploit them,” wrote the OECD. “Nurturing this competence is in part the job of schools and colleges, where the foundations of lifelong learning and ‘technological literacy’ are laid.”
As evidenced by our school’s leadership and social responsibility mission, as well as our commitment to technology management, ESMT Berlin shares this belief. In our degree and executive education programs, we are supporting future leaders who will navigate the future risks and opportunities of smart industry. This includes not only business, but also their role in governance, shaping how business technology can serve the public interest and deliver global solutions for a sustainable future.
In this edition of the ESMT Update, we explore smart industry. How are small and medium enterprises, especially the world’s hidden champions, integrating technology into their traditional structures to become future-ready? In what ways are regulators and consumer groups asking us to be mindful of data privacy and cybersecurity concerns even as technological innovation tests the limits thereof? How will research and education challenge what we believe is “smart” about Industry 4.0 – whether old myths or new ones?
Please join me in flipping the page.