The Start 4.0 Competence Center, the public-private association created by the Ministry of Economic Development to support the digital transition of small and medium-sized enterprises, is strengthening internationally. In fact, only one year after its birth, Start 4.0 is the winner of a first Horizon 2020 call, the largest research and innovation program in the world, funded by the European Union.
An important achievement, especially in this phase in which, in the face of economic uncertainty and the inability to evaluate the long-term effects of the pandemic, research and innovation are the right lever to guide SMEs in the restart. The digital transition is central to stimulating growth and competitiveness.
The winning project is called DigitBrain and Start 4.0 has been selected as partner of an international consortium of 36 subjects, capable of bringing together companies and partnerships from Italy, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic, Holland, Denmark, Russia, Finland , Romania, Estonia, Austria and the UK. Among these, the Fraunhofer company stands out for the development of applied research, the German organization that gathers 60 institutes of applied research on the most advanced technologies, a concrete bridge between research and businesses, which has been a virtuous example for our country for years.
The project will have a 9.5 million loan to improve and enable the results already achieved with previous European projects such as I4MS CloudiFacturing and the FIWARE and IDS industrial platforms, implementing the concept of Digital Twin, called “Digital Product Brain” (DPB) and an intelligent business model called “Manufacturing as a Service” (MaaS).
The goal of the DigitBrain project is to develop a highly technological and modular digital brain depending on the context, an evolution of the Digital Twin concept, an OpenSource tool therefore available to manufacturing SMEs, to allow them to access advanced production to collect and exchange data in maximum safety and speed, in order to acquire and evaluate the data of the life cycle of a product. Manufacturing capacity thus becomes a plug and play commodity, like software, thanks to an integrated tool on sensors, industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices, cyber-physical production systems (CPPS), data, models and algorithms.
The development of a “DigitBrain”, inspired by the principles of technological innovation and circular economic sustainability, is dedicated in the project to the manufacturing sector but many other domains are applicable for characteristics, starting from complex infrastructures such as a port, an airport, a viaduct. highway.
Digital Europe will be the first European program dedicated to supporting the digital transformation of the European economy and society through investments in strategic digital infrastructures, improving advanced skills and modernizing the interaction between governments and citizens.
For the 2021-2027 period, the European Commission proposal foresees 5 priority areas:
1. High Performance Computing;
2. Artificial intelligence;
3. Cybersecurity and trust;
4. Advanced digital skills;
5. Implementation, optimal use of digital capacity and interoperability.
Within the proposal establishing the new Digital Europe program, the European Commission assigns a central role in the implementation of the program to the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH).
In the Commission’s design, EDIHs should play a role of one-stop shops to stimulate the diffusion and wide adoption of advanced digital technologies, from high performance computing (HPC), to artificial intelligence, to cybersecurity. The goal is to increase the competitiveness of industry (including SMEs) and public organizations by improving their business / production processes, providing information and support services for finding loans and facilitating access to advanced digital technical skills.