Today the UK Government published MADE SMARTER. Review 2017 a 251 page paper which sets out proposals to equip the UK to be a leader in the next industrial revolution and a global leader in industrial digitalisation by 2030. The review covers multiple sectors and focuses on some key challenges around using digital to make things smarter, better and faster: the increased pace of adoption of industrial digital technologies, the faster innovation of these technologies and a need for stronger and more ambitious leadership to transform UK industry. It puts forward three recommendations, which it describes as 'game-changing':
Adoption - build a national digital ecosystem that will be significantly more visible and effective and that will accelerate the innovative and diffusion of industrial digital technologies. This includes a National Adoption Programme to be piloted in the North West, focused on increasing the capacity of existing growth hubs and providing more targeted support. Critical to the success of the Review's recommendations will be the upskilling of a million industrial workers to enable digital technologies to be adopted and exploited through a single Industrial Digitalisation Skills Strategy.
Innovation - Refocus the existing innovation landscape by increasing capacity and capability through 12 Digital Innovation Hubs, 8 large-scale demonstrators, and 5 digital research centres focused on developing new technologies as part of a new National Innovation Programme.
Leadership - Establish a national body, the Made Smarter UK (MSUK) Commission, comprising industry, government, academia, further education, and leading research and innovation organisations, which would be responsible for developing the UK as a leader in industrial digitalisation technologies and skills, with a mandate to develop the UK's own Industry 4.0 domestic and global brand.
The report presents some compelling data to support this call for greater co-ordination and investment in the UK: "Digital technologies are transforming industry. In a 2017 report, the World Economic Forum identified a $100 trillion opportunity for both industry and society through the adoption of these technologies. Each day, around five million devices link up with each other, with the internet, or with both. There are around 6.4 billion data-communicating objects in the world today. And by 2020, this number is forecast to explode to around 20 billion."
We are still ploughing through this detailed report but already we can see how SYMETA's work might play a role in this industrial revolution by providing the materials and processes to transform electronics manufacture.