Is the digitalization of industry fast enough?

I stopped for a moment to think about communication technology, mobile technology and how significantly they have changed my everyday life at home, but especially in my work in the process industry.

I start this story from the beginning of my studies in 1994. At that time, the use of e-mail on Unix machines was quite new. In 1996, at my summer job at a paper factory, foremen primarily used pagers and landlines to communicate information. E-mail already existed, but it was not yet used much to transmit information. Reporting was mainly done on paper or orally. Documents and memos were kept in folders, and they required a lot of shelf space.

I got my first mobile phone in 1996. You could make calls and send text (SMS) messages with the mobile phone. When they became common, cell Phones significantly changed the way we communicate. One big change was that the flow of information and communication became real-time, as it became easier to reach people. The first mobile phone-based industrial support applications began to appear; e.g., at the end of the 1990s, the printing house could use a SMS to check whether the magazine had been printed, and thus the truck drivers could better aim for the loading dock at the right time. This brought significant savings.

When I started working permanently at the mill in 2001, mobile phones were already widely used and e-mails were common. Information was already quickly transferred from one person to another or even from one country to another. A little later, the spread of remote connections enabled e.g. remote support for equipment suppliers.

However, let's jump in time to today. In my opinion, the most significant inventions are still mobile devices. With touch screen phones and tablets, our everyday life changed with an even bigger leap. Network connections have become faster and application development around mobile devices has been really amazing. We can make video calls and handle money transactions with mobile devices. This seemed like a distant thought until a while ago. Nowadays, there is an app for almost every field and every topic.  

Industry is talking about the time of digitalization Industry 4.0 which as a entirety contains a lot of possibilities. Many new and interesting solutions are available to make work easier and more efficient. Real-time task management and intelligent remote support devices can bring significant savings, improve occupational safety and reduce the carbon footprint. 

The current pace of the industry for testing and introducing new solutions is not sufficient. It is not enough to update a new ERP software with old specs and processes.  In my opinion, there is a lot of potential in several industrial sectors to increase productivity with new innovative modern digitization solutions 

I myself actively follow new technologies, because they make everyday life and working a lot easier. I want to be involved in the development myself. I am happy to boldly try different inventions and solutions. Digital solutions and tools are now developing at a fast pace, so it's worth getting involved now!

- Lasse Kauppinen