Enabling and easing digital transformation across different sectors is one of the reasons to be thrilled to be part of Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe where the aim is to actively explore technologies and methods for digital workplaces and workflow optimisation. According to Gartner, by 2020 the number of connected objects could be around three times greater than the human population of the world. Hence, a deep understanding and investigation of technological domains and applications may contribute to enhancing the effectiveness and the usability of digitalised and connected products into social and production domain.
The implementation and introduction of digital and connected products challenge businesses and organisations in terms of: production efficiency, activities and processes, and sustainability. These challenges invite a large number of practitioners and technology players to come together to discuss technological trends such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, and the Internet of Things. The IoT Week is an annual occasion during which the participants combine IoT debates and exhibitions with a variety of application domains such as manufacturing, energy, agriculture, and many more.
I cannot hide it, I am genuinely intrigued by environmental and relational enhancement between humans enabled by digital technologies, and I appreciate gatherings in which stakeholders, practitioners, experts get together for and sharing their experiences. And so, I was glad to join the IoT Week, held from 4th to 7th June 2018 in Bilbao, Spain, and I must say, it was a great chance for me to articulate and review five wishes for triggering digital transformation:
- Think Sustainable. Sustainability is the ultimate goal from a high-level perspective. The design of connected technologies should include serious thought around the quality of interactions and improvement of contextual relationships. A sustainable approach enhances the technical potential that limits material waste and reduces socio-economic threats and consumption. Therefore, the design of new technologies should aim at reducing complexity both within and across sectors.
- Make it secure. Security is one of the paths to take when reducing complexity is just impossible! Since our world has an incredible number of threats, we should improve security and create the conditions that enhance the level of trust amongst end-users. In this direction, technologies such as blockchain can ensure traceability and the protection of products and secure the safety of services.
- Design it interoperable. Over the last few decades many systems and products entered the market and a big challenge today is the ability to keep existing technologies alive and facilitate the transitions across versions. Integrated and interoperable systems would reduce users’ anxiety and frustration in using multiple and mismatched products.
- Consider the ecosystem. Any technology is rarely an island (never, really), even less when it is a connected technology. Depending on the way technological components are linked to each other, and with the context, the shape of the ecosystem transforms and moves to accommodate the connections among the elements of the ecosystem. Hence, we must recognise that every ecosystem is different and unique in the way it combines its features.
- Include Diversity. It is not a big secret that the more a technology is used the greater is the probability of its success. So, considering differences and orchestrating advanced and connected technologies, contextual needs, everyday problems, with humans diversity is a resourceful action. A design-approach that aims towards diversity enables the fulfilment of multiple and, often unexpected, needs.
To sum up, Digital Transformation, especially in complex domains as the manufacturing is, is an occasion to rethink production systems and processes to tackle challenges such as technological variety, quality, and safety, and to develop useful and adaptable solutions.