THE MARK OF INNOVATION
From the cultural touch of the Renaissance to the Digital Touch of Industry 4.0There is much talk about “industry 4.0″. But few of us really know what this milestone in human innovation means, and how many other revolutions – many of them the result of Italian genius – preceded it. With the Renaissance and the discovery of America, western man set out to discover an unknown world waiting to be explored with a new thirst for knowledge: it was a Cultural Revolution which, a century later, would lead to the Scientific Revolution, which would signal a departure from the previous world order and lay the groundwork for the subsequent industrial revolutions. Revolution 1.0 transformed the thermal energy of steam into mechanical movement. Revolution 2.0 saw the development of electro-chemical energy and mass production. Revolution 3.0 brought information technology and automation to manufacturing processes. Now, in the dawn of the third millennium, the next stage is Digital industrial revolution 4.0, which is based on four fundamental principles:
- remote access and sharing (cloud), via the Internet, of huge amounts of data (big data), in many cases available to all (open data);
- the calculating capacity of machines capable of analysing data (analytics), to learn from data and modify processes autonomously (machine learning);
- interaction between man and machine with “touch” interfaces and augmented reality;
- new methods of interactive and interconnected production of goods and services (Internet of things), with additive manufacturing (3D printing), collaborative robots fitted with sensors and visual systems, machine-to-machine processes.