Back From the Future: Learnings From Hannover Messe 2023

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Hannover Messe is the ultimate playground for industrial innovators and tech enthusiasts alike. With over 6,500 exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge technologies, such as next-generation automation powered by artificial intelligence, energy-saving breakthroughs, and smart production techniques, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been magically transported into the future of industrial innovation.

Every year, this gigantic trade fair brings together the biggest names and smartest minds in the industry to transform how we manufacture, distribute, and consume all manner of goods. But Hannover Messe is not just about showing off shiny new gadgets. It’s also a melting pot of ideas, where industrial pioneers and inventors gather to create the future for industries by discussing trends, sharing insights, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

These are the top themes we discussed at this year’s Hannover Messe.

Addressing both sides of the energy equation

It’s highly likely that the energy crisis will accelerate the energy transition. The two go hand in hand. One of the greatest challenges we face today is balancing the short-term problem of energy price volatility and security with the medium-term imperative of cutting carbon emissions. By taking a holistic view of energy investment, we can address both sides of the issue: reducing energy consumption and waste while transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

Increasing energy efficiency requires digitalization, automation, and electrification, which presents a unique opportunity to achieve carbon neutrality. The International Energy Agency (IEA) suggests that addressing energy efficiency with existing technologies can eliminate 70% of carbon emissions (most as energy waste). Light industries, which generate 45% of the emissions, have the most to gain in terms of decarbonization, not to mention energy cost savings.

A more electric and digital world

Electrification, once again, is revolutionizing the industry. Proven to be three to five times more efficient than other sources, electricity is the most efficient energy and the best vector for decarbonization. By 2040, electricity is projected to double its share across all sectors, reaching at least 40% of total final energy consumption.

Meanwhile, industrial software, smart devices, apps, analytics, and services powered by artificial intelligence and the industrial metaverse are helping us to harness untapped potential hidden in unstructured data, the key to energy savings and emissions reduction. Electric and digital industrial innovation is the key to building a sustainable and resilient future.

Converging data to create business value

Many people we spoke with brought up the issue of data fragmentation and scalability. To overcome this challenge, industrial enterprises need access to a powerful, integrated data hub that acts as a single source of truth and enables real-time visibility — a true-to-life digital twin for energy, process, and carbon performance across the lifecycle of an asset. By bringing together all data sources and software applications into one data hub, industrial businesses can enable something truly unprecedented and extremely valuable: open collaboration across their enterprise and their entire ecosystem.

Universal automation is a game changer

Legacy-closed automation systems that prioritize vendor lock-in over innovation are holding the industry back. Like many industries before us, our future is in interoperable, universal applications. Imagine how much we could achieve by standardizing the data exchange between information technology and operational technology systems. Digitally connecting entire ecosystems of suppliers and partners will improve planning and reduce risk by allowing better cross-collaboration and data sharing.

By implementing universal automation, companies can mix and match hardware and software, regardless of brand. This is a game-changer. With universal automation, we can fully unleash the potential of Industry 4.0 and achieve productivity levels that we could only dream of a decade ago.

We are in this together

The industry is undergoing a genuine transformation motivated by energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Hannover Messe 2023 was a reminder of what’s possible when we come together to tackle big problems head-on. An exciting future for industrial innovation lies ahead, but we must persist with digitalization, automation, and electrification to ensure that the sector thrives and that our planet stays healthy for generations to come.

Check out our on-demand content from Hannover Messe 2023 here.

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