The coronavirus crisis has added to the competitive disadvantage and technological deficit that is dragging the industry down in almost every country in the world, thus creating a situation that will lead to a slower than expected recovery.
The industry has to address this post-COVID phase by attacking multiple fronts and challenges at the same time and technology can help.
If, in addition, we are able to include the industry 4.0 as a fundamental pillar within the company strategy, we can emerge stronger from this crisis and better prepared for the next ones.
Current situation and forecasts after the Coronavirus crisis
The economic crisis caused by the effects of the coronavirus is going to be serious.
The Bank of Spain recently published a report in which it spoke of falls in the economy of between 6.6 and 13.6% in 2020 with a subsequent recovery no longer in V but slower and with very pronounced effects on unemployment which will be between 18.3 and 21.7%, on debt which is estimated to increase to levels of between 110 and 122% of GDP and in general on all macroeconomic parameters.
In the rest of the world, apart from the particularities of each country, the situation is very similar. The need has arisen to reinvent ourselves in order to continue working, learning and studying, in short, to continue with the normal pace of life so that the economic crisis does not worsen.
The concept of teleworking, which was first coined in the 1970s in the USA, is becoming a current topic of interest in the media in recent days and weeks.
In view of the evolution of the coronavirus, the number of companies that are taking a step forward to implement teleworking and thus avoid a possible contagion of their employees when they travel to their different companies continues to grow.
This is a difficult situation, since we are witnessing a health, economic and social crisis, but it is also an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that remote work is a viable alternative, just as productive as face-to-face work.
At this time, technology is presented as an ideal tool to improve communication between work teams and also between teachers and students.
In particular, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can greatly facilitate the work of companies as well as universities. While VR uses smart glasses to immerse the user in a computer-generated environment, with a sense of total presence, AR technology superimposes digital layers (such as text, graphic elements or video) on the real environment.
What are the benefits of immersive technologies?
- 1. They enable distance learning. Teachers and students can connect to the same virtual space without having to move.
- 2. Carry out meetings at a distance. Virtual reality allows participants to interact with their colleagues natively through virtual avatars.
- 3. Improve the maintenance and repair of industrial machinery. Through mixed reality (MR), the operator can be guided by the technical service expert in the resolution of incidents, without the need for the latter to travel.
To promote the industry 4.0, incorporating it in the strategy of the companies of the region and taking the technology in our fields of activity to all those companies that have trusted us.
But now, in addition to this, it is time to focus on a shorter level, on helping companies to alleviate the effects of the coronavirus crisis. And here technology and industry 4.0 can also play a critical role if we think about the main challenges that companies face in this situation.
Main technologies and motivations to be taken into account in new business strategies
The measures of physical distancing and even the impossibility of working on site in certain periods and the difficulty that the security measures imply for the development of certain tasks will lead to an increase in the level of automation and robotization of the operations. Mobile robotics, autonomous systems or collaborative robotics are fields of work with which we can contribute to this challenge.
Process and supply chain reengineering
Difficulties in the supply of components from certain markets and barriers to transport have led to the need to redefine complete supply chains and even entire production processes in companies.
The tools and capabilities available for the development of digital twins of processes, plants and even complete supply chains can help make informed decisions and evaluate different alternatives for design and planning.
The need to work remotely and in decentralized collaborative environments has highlighted the power and advantages that simulation can offer for the design of components and complete systems.
The tools, capabilities and technologies we have available, allow the development of digital twins of complete systems with multiphysical effects being able to simulate the behavior of systems in service and even their manufacturing processes.
This may be an issue with a longer-term impact, but the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of reducing negative impacts on the environment and it is clear that this will be a key to future technological development.
Changes in demand, the need for product customization and the cost pressure that new post-covy times bring, are going to demand higher levels of operational efficiency. Technologies associated with improving OEE (operational efficiency) such as advanced quality control systems, predictive maintenance technologies to reduce unplanned machine downtime and systems for monitoring and automatically adjusting operating parameters to improve productivity will be particularly relevant.
Therefore, incorporating technology and industry 4.0 in the company strategy are key to mitigate the effects of the post-covid crisis and of course to establish the position of Spanish companies in an increasingly complex world.
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