The world’s leading industry trade fair just wrapped up in Hannover. With more than 220,000 participants from all over the world, 6,500 exhibitors from 75 nations, over 1000 exhibited new product bias and six leading trade fairs combined, Hannover Messe is the industry’s global hotspot. All key technologies, trends and core areas of industry — from research and development, industrial automation and IT to supply, energy and mobility technologies — are discussed here, right in the middle of Germany.
Of course I didn’t want to miss out on that, but rather be part of the discussion. To share my highlights with anyone who couldn’t be there to meet all the smart robots, intelligent machines and industrial pioneers, I gathered my five key takeaways from last week’s Hannover Messe here.
1. Fast, faster, 5G
2019 is the year of 5G, the fifth-generation cellular networks: While 4G is just reaching maturity, the new awaited wireless communication standard is becoming more and more reality already. 5G is expected to be up to 100 times faster than 4G and allows for data to travel almost instantly. Downloading a whole movie will only take a mere few seconds — so you may imagine the impact this superfast internet will have on digital factories who are based on wireless connectivity. The new generation of internet will not only affect how we use our mobile devices, Hannover Messe 2019 made clear that 5G is a real game changer for the industries. It opens totally new possibilities f.e. in the field of connected production processes and automated machines. Thinking of that, most of the upcoming takeaways need 5G to unfold their potential and deliver the estimated value.
There’s just one downside: Nationwide deployment of 5G is still years away. Still, it was impressing to see the scenarios and use-cases that are already present today. I even had the chance to experience 5G for the first time in action.
2. The factory of the future is all about connections
My second takeaway is all about data: Because data is the basis of, well, you could say almost everything. Every factory produces many data, but right now we’re not really using it effectively. The factory of the future though is smart and interconnected — what differs it from today’s factories is that it is not only about generating data of single machines. It’s rather about connecting everything — from linking single machines to another to the connection of the whole production lifecycle.
3. We do need guitar playing robots in industry
Robots have been part of the industry for ages — they are in fact nothing new. However, the robots that were exhibited at the Hannover Messe were a little different. One played ping pong, the other one an electric guitar. You may think this is just fun and wonder how this relates to production industries, but the connection is not much of a leap. These robots didn’t just follow pre-programmed commands but reacted to their environment in real time so precisely. It was fascinating to watch how accurate the robots operate, and how fast they react to (unpredictable) moving objects. I was stunned… which brings me to the next point.
4. Artificial Intelligence will continue to blow our minds for a while
Artificial Intelligence is probably one of the most discussed trends for the future. The technology is constantly pushing the frontiers of our understanding of what is possible. It has the potential to revolutionize so many areas of our lives — industry included. Since machine learning has the ability to independently draw knowledge from experience, this branch of artificial intelligence has found its place in industrial processes. It impressed me to see the variety and diversity of AI cases at Hannover Messe — they went from software testing to intelligent prediction of the future to safe our environment.
5. Pioneering spirit meets drive: Young Tech Pioneers
Next to all the established large industrial companies with huge exhibition stands, there is one hall with a bunch of young people. Hall 13 was for the Young Tech Enterprises — this is where you could find most of the startups. When I first came into the hall it didn’t look like there is much ‘startup magic’ going on. But the more I got in contact with the people, exchanged thoughts on new technologies, trends and business models, I could feel the difference. Young entrepreneurs and founders have a passion, an idea to strive for — to see this is very inspiring. The collaboration between startups and corporates just has their own spirit.
By the end of the week, I had realized that Hannover Messe is still one of the biggest and most important events when it comes to the future of industry. The fair attracted visitors from all around the world and offered a fascinating peek at how technology is already changing global industries.
I left Hannover inspired. There is so much change and diversification going on in the industry world with so much potential to shape a smarter, a more productive, effective, sustainable and connected, a better future.