Read more about the different challenges below:
Growing demand for materials and raw materials
The process of automation, digitization and integration of devices connected to the internet poses two challenges. First, many existing devices become obsolete and need to be replaced. This will result in an increased flow of end-of-life product, which need to be disposed or recycled. Second, new demand for equipment and devices puts pressure on the demand for raw material, metals such as lithium and other rare earth elements. Circular models need to be developed and put into practice to address this challenge.
Ecological footprint of digital technologies
The implementation of innovations brought forth by the smart industry is accompanied by an increase in energy demands. For example The integration of IoT, IoS and CPS in smart production facilities requires massive data centers to be built, accompanied with an increasing demand for energy. The digital transition, as it is implemented at this moment, results in an annual growth of the energy footprint of digital technologies of 9 to 10%. This has to substantially come down for the solutions to really contribute to a more sustainable world.
The ultimate goal of automation and digitization is to make sure that all the information is processed within different organizations within the value chain as quick as possible. This means that many different aspects of the production chain are linked to each other. And that poses a cyber security problem. Connecting all these different links within society through IoT (Internet of Things) and IoS (Internet of Services) poses a challenge where one vulnerable node within the network could disrupt entire networks.
Impact of virtual service platforms
The transition towards mass customization is accompanied by a focus on digital technology is driving a surge on big data. This will result in an increase of large virtual services platforms. The current growth and influence of these platforms has exceeded all expectations. This requires society to reconsider its understanding of ownership, learning and social relationships. This is accompanied by a shift where intellectual property will become more important than material property. This requires an industry-wide response to prevent a situation where all value is capture by a few organizations.
Pressure on employment due to robotics and shortage of technicians
The smart industry and increasing robotization will make up to 800 million human jobs obsolete by 2030, posing a challenge to employment worldwide. The population that is above 35 years old or with relatively little access to technology will have to learn to work with systems that use the IoT, blockchain, AI, quantum computing, and other unknown digital technologies. This same population did not grow up using the internet, nor were they taught anything about the internet in school. Developing their technical capabilities in the coming years will pose a challenge. A second challenge is the shortage of technically schooled workers.