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Bit by bit, the Industrial Internet of Things is changing the face of manufacturing and opening up major opportunities for growth and efficiency. The first companies to upgrade their factories to Industrie 4.0 technology are reporting productivity gains of up to 50 percent. The Industrial Internet of Things does, however, raise a number of challenges and concerns that call for well-considered responses. "That is where the Forum Industrie 4.0 comes in. It’s a key information sharing and discussion platform," says Marc Siemering, Deutsche Messe’s Senior Vice-President responsible for HANNOVER MESSE. "And we’re running it in partnership with the VDMA and ZVEI industry associations and the IIC, so it will feature all the big movers and shakers of industrial integration. The benefit for visitors is that they will be able to gain a global overview of strategies, standards, business models and data security issues in the Industie 4.0 space."

The discussion at this year’s forum will focus, among much else, on standards for communication in the Industrial Internet of Things. That’s because Industrie 4.0 enables interconnectivity and integration across company boundaries and across multiple value networks, so proper norms and standards of communication are essential. Another key discussion point is security, because robust IT security is vital to the integrity of production processes which span multiple companies. The 2016 Forum Industrie 4.0 will therefore explore a range of cloud solutions, as well as options for safeguarding the business data used in those solutions. For users, i.e. manufacturers, Industrie 4.0 offers significant potential for improved efficiency, quality and flexibility. This is especially true for companies that make to order and frequently have single-unit production runs. But that’s not all. Many observers see the analysis and aggregation of data generated by IT-controlled production processes as the key to completely new business models. These potential new business models will also be on at agenda at the Forum Industrie 4.0.

Forum Industrie 4.0 will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on each day of HANNOVER MESSE 2016 and is organized by Deutsche Messe in cooperation with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), and Germany’s Industrie 4.0 Platform. In terms of official patrons, it is endorsed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). It will be formally opened by the Minister of Education and Research, Professor Wanka, at 10 a.m. on the first day of HANNOVER MESSE.