Strenghten and Expand Infrastructures to Enable Future-Oriented Manufacturing

Strenghten and Expand Infrastructures to Enable Future-Oriented Manufacturing

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Physical infrastructure has been the backbone of industrial societies for the first and second industrial revolutions. With new technology and progress, digital infrastructure has become the backbone of the third and now Fourth Revolution. Now, both physical and digital infrastructure are equally important to enable future-oriented manufacturing and maintain pace with innovation. While nations have a wide-array of infrastructure capability, domestic policies should aim to support physical improvements until needs are met and then scale up to develop a robust digital infrastructure. 

Well-developed physical and digital infrastructures help to prevent a digital divide from occurring. Digitalisation is an enabler of progress and industrialisation and therefore decreases the divide between nations, regions, and socio-economic standing. When implementing new physical and digital infrastructures, cultural and geographic aspects must be considered in order to advance progress. 

Strengthening and expanding digital infrastructure not only happens at a national policy level but also at a more localised company level. Digitalisation is a driver of competitiveness in the manufacturing paradigm and helps to push future-oriented manufacturing forward. As a result, digitalisation should be present in all stages of the product life-cycle from development to final delivery to consumers. By strengthening infrastructures, particularly with regard to digitalisation, companies remain relevant in a competitive market and help to enable future-oriented manufacturing which in turn will help to improve and transform industry. 

Further, digitalisation is a driver of servitisation which helps to bolster the new shared economy. Servisation is a key element of modern economies and works in tandem with manufacturing to help create more jobs and spur economic progress. Servitising products helps to create more efficient and effective practices that are beneficial both to manufacturers and consumers. In order to continue to servitise products, infrastructure is necessary and therefore must be strengthened and expanded. 

Additionally, digitalisation should be perceived as a means for the wide adoption of the circular economy paradigm. Digitalisation and digital infrastructure help to make processes and products leaner and greener through material reuse and zero-waste manufacturing. Incorporating digital processes into production and design help to eliminate waste and help manufacturers make more environmentally-friendly decisions that are sensitive to societal needs. Thus, digitalisation is necessary for the prevention of environmental harm, natural resource over-exploitation and in order to promote social wellbeing. By incorporating digital infrastructure into production, future-oriented manufacturing is enabled and driven forward through improved processes and impacts. 

Finally, it is key to note that as physical and digital infrastructure are being expanded and strengthened in both the public and private sector. Since digital and physical infrastructure are now highly intertwined, cybersecurity must be considered in all elements of expansion and strengthening of new and current infrastructure in order to maintain safety and integrity of systems. In order to advance and enable future-oriented manufacturing, cybersecurity must be considered to allow for safe and efficient systems that help to promote progress and wellbeing. Without proper security measures in place, both physical and digital infrastructure risk being compromised.