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Area 1: Industrial Transformation through sustainable digitalization

Assessing the strategic and operational considerations in the next generation digitalisation with a focus on competitiveness via circular/shared economies.

Image: Conny Schneider, Unsplash.

About the research

Industrial transformation is the result of two distinct set of triggers and enablers: on the one hand a significant set of technological shifts collectively known as the 4th industrial revolution, and on the other hand the sustainability driven challenge to profoundly transform products, production, and business models. In detail, this area investigates how available digital technologies can be applied at different level in industrial context and support sharing of resources and shift towards circular economy.

The convergence between digitalization and sustainability has been surprisingly neglected during the early stages of the fourth industrial revolution, but their convergence is now receiving increasing attention. The initiative is positioned at the research forefront of this new domain and focuses on the following sub-areas that are at the intersection of the two main trends:

  • Technologies related to the broad areas of internet of things, cloud computing, and machine learning, have the potential to enable more resource efficient production and logistics systems as well as advanced energy infrastructure.
  • Techniques for visualization, 3D-printing, and digital twins enable new product designs and challenge the logics of the traditional product development process.
  • Technologies for connectivity, remote analytics and upgradeability enable increasing functional sales, where sales of physical products are replaced with provision of functional services.
  • Sensor technologies in combination with big data analytics enable optimization of systems and better understanding of stakeholders' behaviors.

Key areas

  • Application of digital technologies in industrial contexts, e.g. for data collection, data transfer, cloud computing, data analytics, and machine learning.
  • The impact of digital technologies on incumbent businesses and emerging industries
  • Industrial processes enabling transitions towards circular and sharing economies

Research projects