Running a business in one click: Industry 4.0 is (also) a tablet app
For two years, Roberto Rosanna, the owner of Errici in Sacconago, has been surfing between Iot and Cloud. His next goal is artificial intelligence. Because, he says, “Real progress is eliminating complications from our lives.”
It is easy to say “app”, but that is not what Industry 4.0 is. Roberto Rosanna, the owner of Errici in Sacconago, just outside Busto Arsizio, is well aware of this. In his company, computerisation for the benefit of the business and of its customers has been a reality for two years now. The Internet of things, Clouds and Wi-Fi are commonplace. The company is also gearing up for artificial intelligence. The fact is that, with a tablet, and the right software, you can do everything.
“Twenty years ago, domotics was born, allowing us to provide for latent needs with programming steps instead of system changes. What was an aseptic system at the time, today, with Industry 4.0., is a system that interacts actively with customers and end-users,” said the entrepreneur, who has devoted his life to domotics.
Interpreting data makes the difference
The secret, what even small businessperson should know, is to interpret and manage the data in a person’s life. How to file it but, above all, how to preserve and transmit it, and make it usable in accordance with the preferences of all of us. Could we talk about photos? “Why not?” Rosanna says. “Nowadays, we take an infinite number of photos every month; what if there was something to put them in order, discarding the ones that didn’t turn out right, and selecting the ones that are most similar to our personality? It would all be easier.
Simple and intuitive technologies will save us
And Rosanna has put his bet on simplicity, looking at the 4.0 with great interest, to resolve some problems of company economics. “Today, with a simple interaction tool, here at Erreci, we can manage employees and the financial reporting of our interventions. The real revolution of Industry 4.0 is this: the end user and the businessperson can use these tools without any special preparation. The real progress is eliminating complications from our lives.” And it is these complications that make Roberto smile, when he thinks about his business. “Some domotics systems designed by Erreci were never produced just because they were too complicated. But, five years ago, we also offered the customer software for automatic budgeting in accordance with his needs. In practice, he could ‘build’ his house, on his own, deciding how to do it and what to put inside.”
With a tablet and a program, I can change my life
Rosanna has a tablet in his hands. He switches it on and, with the light in his eyes, he says, “Now, let’s invent a scenario.” This fascinating word recalls a physical, but also spiritual condition, which depends exclusively on who has the right program. An application that depends on the personal choice of the user and that simplifies, which is always the magic word. We entered the sci-fi movies of the Eighties, where each of us chose the perfect environment at a desk. And it was made in a few minutes. With a few movements, like when we flag items in a list, we decide to switch off the alarm when we wake up, to switch on the television to our favourite channel, the stereo with the latest music, to turn on the lights only in some rooms, the thermostat to the desired temperature; raise the blinds, open the curtains, prepare the shower, hot coffee, and so on.
As easy as WhatsApp
But other things can be done. “The scenario depends on the interaction with the object in the house or in the office,” the entrepreneur continues. Giving the go-ahead to these scenarios is nothing new; what changes is “how” settings can be made. Now, Wi-Fi connections are essential and the Internet of Things is something we cannot do without anymore, because it meets an infinite number of requirements. I can even decide to control everything from my phone and tell the system, when I’m thirty metres from my office or from home, that I want the lighting at a certain brightness and the heating at a certain temperature. At the same time, I can keep the gas and electricity consumption under control. In short, these systems are so intuitive that they resemble WhatsApp, which everybody now knows and uses.”
Are systems engineers at risk? They need only adapt
As Rosanna points out, “Some might not like to hear the rest. What I’ve said wasn’t foreign to domotics, it’s true, but changing the conditions sought by the user always presupposed intervention by the systems engineer, who would discuss with the customer, understand his needs and then get down to work. Today, this figure has to adapt.”
This is a challenge for the present and not for the future. “It might appear that these technologies are stealing our jobs, but, in fact, if we enable the user to manage this program himself, we build loyalty. What systems engineers should do is provide services that have high added value, focusing on networks.” In the meantime, Rosanna has presented some “beta tests” to customers and suggested the reporting of work on building sites, by remotely controlling the progress of the interventions, with Cloud management and signing on the tablet. This allows following the cost estimate step by step.
Is this difficult? “Let’s say not everybody is willing to accept new technologies and customers don’t always perceive these instruments as concrete advantages.”
However, there is no going back. “These technologies are simplifying our lives. And I’m sure that they will simplify them even more. Businesspeople, customers and ordinary people will have different lifestyles, with the possibility of satisfying all of their needs more quickly. Maybe with just a telephone call.”