UK business leaders have gathered in London today in an effort to shape how new technologies – including artificial intelligence and 3D printing – could boost industry.
The Industrial Digitisation review was announced by government in January as part of a wider industrial strategy which in part seeks to boost UK productivity. The first meeting was held today in London and chaired by Siemens UK and Ireland CEO Juergen Maier. He met with fellow businesses leaders from firms including Atkins and GSK to begin developing a plan for what new technologies could be applied and in which sectors for maximum effect, along with the policy interventions that government could use to encourage industry to invest in them.
“Our review is about defining how the UK can best adopt radical new technologies that will boost productivity and create new high tech jobs across manufacturing and industry. We want the end result to be a sector deal for manufacturing that makes a real difference to companies regardless of their size or market,” Maier said.
The team will engage with companies (of all sizes) and academics to review how technologies including automation, augmented reality, data analytics and Big Data could increase national productivity. Sketching out the government’s vision for the UK’s modern industrial strategy in November, Prime Minister Theresa May decried the UK’s historic weaknesses, including its relatively low productivity.
Maier said: “It is not yet too late for the UK to take the global lead in this space, but we are in danger of falling behind if we do not take up the challenge now – so our aim is to position UK manufacturing and industry at the heart of a new global industrial revolution.”
Paul Smith, chair of Cisco UK and Ireland, said: “If we can shape a sector deal that helps the UK compete with world leaders in this space, notably Germany and the US, the jobs payoff could be substantial. At the forefront of our minds are the new tech jobs for Britain underpinned by the new technologies driving changes in the labour market.”
Alongside how to boost productivity, the review will look at the challenges of increasing high value jobs; promoting competition and innovation; commercialising research; facilitating long-term investment between suppliers and large companies; and increasing exports.
The review leadership team is set to complete its work in the summer of 2017 and will report interim findings in the coming months.
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