January 30, 2023


Industry 4.0 has already been at the heart of Italy’s and the world’s economic transformation for a few years now.

In 2016, an ad hoc government plan was launched in Italy, which was subsequently subject to revisions and amendments. We went from Piano Industria 4.0 to Piano Impresa 4.0 and finally to Piano Nazionale della Transizione 4.0.

These innovations proved to be essential in order to counter the crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The concept of Industry 4.0 and its 4 lines of development

Industry 4.0 is a process that stems from the Fourth Industrial Revolution and expresses a vision of the future according to which, thanks to the implementation of digital technologies, companies will increase their efficiency and competitiveness through the interconnection and cooperation of their resources, both internal to the factory and external, distributed along the value chain.

The new digital technologies will have a profound impact within 4 development directions:

  • Data utilisation, computing power and connectivity, and it is declined in big data, open data, Internet of Things, machine-to-machine and cloud computing for the centralisation of information and its storage;
  • Analytics. Once data has been collected, value has to be derived from it. Today, only 1% of the data collected is used by companies, which could instead benefit from ‘machine learning’, i.e. machines that improve their performance by ‘learning’ from the data they collect and analyse;
  • Interaction between man and machine, involving increasingly widespread ‘touch’ interfaces and augmented reality;
  • Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, communications, machine-to-machine interactions and new technologies for storing and using energy in a targeted manner, rationalising costs and optimising performance.

Industry 4.0 in Italy

As anticipated, in 2016 the Italian government included in the 2017 Budget Law a plan for Industry 4.0 with a mobilisation of more than €10 billion, enabling the start of the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The plan includes a few points of interest:

  • Stimulating private investment in Industry 4.0 by bringing in tax incentives for companies;
  • Ensuring, through support for ultra-wideband, adequate network facilities while guaranteeing data security and fostering international cooperation;
  • Stimulate the training of competent personnel and research through the creation of ad hoc training paths;
  • Disseminating the knowledge and application potential of Industry 4.0 and defining the management of the system with both public and private co-participation in the process.

Industry 4.0 in the world

In Europe, Germany is a leader in the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the approach to Industry 4.0. In fact, it represents a forerunner, as it has already been taking a special interest in the development of this sector for several years.

Planned approaches have also been undertaken in Italy, as mentioned above, and in France, while Great Britain, without any major political stance on the subject, risks falling behind the other European countries.

In the United States, on the other hand, the process is being favoured in a different way to European techniques and strategies, but it is still undoubtedly supported with a view to ensuring greater productivity by reducing the impact of costs.

The effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the labour market

Various experts are trying to understand what changes the world of work will undergo and what new jobs will be in demand.

What we do know is that 2 million new jobs will be created, but at the same time 7 million will disappear. Italy comes out with a draw, better than countries like France and Germany.

The losses will be concentrated in the administrative and production areas, offset by finance, management, IT and engineering.

The skills and abilities required will change accordingly: problem solving will remain the most sought-after soft skill, while critical thinking and creativity will start to gain in importance.

A rapidly changing scenario

According to the Scientific Director of the Digital Innovation Observatories of the Politecnico di Milano, Alessandro Perego, precisely because it is a rapidly evolving scenario, it is necessary to evolve in order to reap all the benefits.

“Our country, however, must know how to fully grasp the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, implementing systemic initiatives for the development of Smart Manufacturing and providing workers with the digital skills for the tasks of the future”.

Reaping all the benefits of 4.0, Agrati AEE can suggest solutions for your company with low environmental impact and above-standard energy savings.