In the world of Intelligent Digital Systems, Inside (formally known as ARTEMIS) is a hub of information exchanges, cross-domain fertilisation and large R&D&I projects, helping to improve the innovativeness and competitiveness of both its members and Europe as a whole. As a longstanding member of the community, Professor Jerker Delsing of Luleå University of Technology shares his thoughts on what it means to be Inside.
Understanding your competencies
For Jerker, the foremost benefit of Inside is clear: “The network with other members, not only the organisations but very much the individuals. You find people that you’ll start to call friends, which I’d say leads to capabilities that were never thought about before. What I personally find very rewarding is getting problems from industry and being able to transfer these into more general knowledge. We’re open to discussing it and finding a way forward. Another thing is seeing the students that I had the opportunity to train and foster find their way into these communities. That’s another rewarding part of being here: widening my network but also seeing that my network is helping others.”
As an example of one such community within Inside, the Arrowhead Tools project has brought together 33 large enterprises, 24 SMEs and 31 RTOs to help guarantee European leadership in digitalisation and automation. As the project coordinator, Jerker was recently in the position to communicate several remarkable results on engineering costs for automation solutions, including 20-95% savings along the engineering lifecycle. However, as Jerker also notes, Inside is as much about coming to understand one’s own competencies as it is about developing new ones. “In too many cases, people think they can ask a company to come and help them. This will not work in the long term as you don’t have the core competencies yourself. You have to understand the level of competency your organisation needs to be functional and competitive.”
The language of technology
An important aspect of this is a recognition of the changing role of Intelligent Digital Systems: while most companies don’t sell software, software does create, transform and transfer information which forms a vital part of their value creation. “The automotive industry, for example, has realised that the value creation for automobiles today is largely software-dependent – but they’re still selling cars, not software,” Jerker explains. “How do you value your competences and knowledge about your information architectures so that you invest correctly? Through Inside, this can be further discussed and visualised at different levels: political and corporate but also further down these hierarchies.”
Just as technology platforms can provide interoperability between IT and OT, Inside can offer potential members the chance to connect their competences to domains they had never previously considered. Befitting of an association with members across the continent, Jerker reflects on the connection between language and technology. “Languages were driven by the need to survive and cooperate as individuals. We’re doing the same things with machines, but we’re building them to survive on the market. How do we translate between their ‘languages’ while understanding what we really mean? In Swedish, we have the word ‘lagom’. There is no translation to English; it becomes a sentence or two. This is exactly what happens in technology too. But it’s very rewarding to be a member who is actively engaged in projects because you see that there are fundamental aspects of how things have evolved on this globe and can wonder how we can make benefits out of this which will improve society.”