How is manufacturing changing? What is the 4th Industrial Revolution and what are the future challenges? These are the main topics that have been discussed at MIP during one of the latest MBA Days, the events organized by the MBA Recruitment Team and dedicated to the next generation of Growingleaders who want to visit the campus and live the experience of the business school.

In addition to the presentation of the MBA programs, professor Giovanni Miragliotta, Director of the Observatory on Internet of Things (IoT) of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano, and Fabio Moioli, Head of Consulting & Services in Microsoft, discussed the challenges that manufacturing is facing in the new digital era.

Living in a fast changing environment, “Industry 4.0 is a vision of the future of manufacturing in which Information Technologies are going to boost competitiveness and efficiency by interconnecting every resource (data, people and machinery) in the Value Chain” claims professor Miragliotta.

But is manufacturing still alive?

Italy is the second European manufacturing country and the manufacturing share of GDP is still relevant. There is a need of finding the right tools to guide the Industrial Revolution. The Internet of Things is the answer and there are some necessary tools that the “manager of the future” has to deeply understand.

The global market of the Internet of Things is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 33.3% from 2017 to 2021. Microsoft, one of the leading companies in the technological environment, is at the forefront of digital transformation and can answer very well the crucial question: what are the challenges that manufacturing has to face and how are big IT companies reacting?

Mr Moioli offered his privileged insights: “Microsoft is leading the current digital transformation, a revolution that allows customers and partners to create new ecosystems of intelligence that improve the way we live and work”.
Microsoft is developing new tools to improve the information workflow and the machine-human interactions.
“It is essential” says Mr. Moioli “how information flows between departments, IT systems, engineering and different enterprises. Companies must connect a broad range of manufacturing equipment and software that span decades of investment, take into account the threats of cybersecurity, and foster collaboration between humans and machines”.

Mr. Moioli offered a concrete example, as Microsoft helped a leading industrial company, Innse Berardi, to deliver breakthrough machineries empowered with Internet of Things. “The company launched a software platform for predictive maintenance” explained Mr Moioli “enabling customers to streamline maintenance operations, to cut costs and avoid downtime. Thanks to Microsoft Azure cloud platform and Cortana Intelligence Suite, data can be turned into intelligent actions and insights to improve plants’ efficiency and productivity”.

The right way to make the most out of this Revolution is then to understand how new technologies are changing, how products are becoming different and the importance of creating new and effective entrepreneurial models.

What is the future setting aside?

Artificial Intelligence is a powerful mean, that as such, must be well understood and developed. The impact of AI “has the potential to improve society in ways that we can’t even imagine, with impact as profound as the invention of the wheel, or the creation of the printing press”.

Innovation brings modernity and growth, but also new challenges and responsibilities. This is probably the most ambitious goal of Microsoft and of any manager of the future: let humans and machines interact to shape a great future.