Startup and Industry 4.0: seamless innovation and technology.

The same happened in the fintech world: a sector so profoundly disrupted by innovative startups that at a certain point banks were no longer able to ignore them. In several cases they have made alliances and partnerships with them, while in others they have simply incorporated them. Whichever the form, banks have increasingly crossed their paths generating a progressive change of mentality in the sector.

In the world of Industry 4.0 we are facing a similar situation. Perhaps with a slight delay if compared to the scenario described above, but the die is rolled.

Large corporations are gradually embracing the Industry 4.0 paradigm with a growing trend of industrial automation to integrate new technologies in order to improve working conditions, create new business models, increase plants productivity and the products quality.

Three components characterize a smart factory:

• Smart production: the new production technologies promoting collaboration between all the actors such as operators, machines and tools.

• Smart service: the IT “magic” that allows integration between systems, companies (supplier – customer) and third party objects  (roads, hubs, waste management facilities, etc.).

• Smart energy: with a careful eye on energy consumption, the data analysis required in order to create more performing systems and reduce energy waste according to the typical paradigms of sustainable energy.

The crucial point, before being methodological, is above all about technology.

The Industry 4.0 Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano provides a classification of 6 enabling technologies, the so-called “intelligent technologies”, distributing them between the two well-known categories: information technologies (IT) and operational technologies (OT).

The first group (IT) includes:

• Industrial Internet of Things: technologies based on smart objects and smart grids

• Industrial Analytics: technologies capable of exploiting the information hidden in big data

• Cloud Manufacturing: application in the manufacturing field of cloud computing

The second group (OT) includes:

• Advanced Automation: technologies related to robotics, with reference to the latest automated production systems

• Advanced Human Machine Interface (HMI): wearable devices and new human / machine interfaces

• Additive Manufacturing: additive manufacturing systems that increase the efficiency of the use of materials

The contribution of startups plays a key role in pushing the existing limits: one disruption is the result of many tries and fails, and who in the market is more prone to risk and experimentation than a young startup ready to jump in the market? Boldness is the spark for true disruption.

The impact that Industry 4.0 startups are bringing is truly impressive: it is estimated that the sector will be worth almost 200 billion euros in 2 years, almost tripling by 2030.

In this scenario, Keethings is an emblematic case of a startup innovating the sector through a skilful combination of new technologies and new paradigms. Keethings was built with the idea to reinvent the Industrial User Experience through its Digital Coworker and Conversational Interface: getting things done should be easy for workers, even in the most complex scenario.

The Digital Coworker is the core of the platform, assistant and advisor, the one to turn to get things done or, in some cases, anticipate needs. Through the Digital Coworker it is possible, via natural language, to interact with machines and software systems, get guidance on problem resolution and get repetitive tasks automatically completed.

Keethings’ Digital Coworker will remind workers of pending tasks and notify meaningful alerts and critical situations promptly. Whenever needed, he will be a bridge towards the company knowledge base as well as subject matter experts (SMEs) in the plant to assure that all available resources are at users’ disposal when it comes to issues resolution.