Faith Kendagor: Give us a brief background of your research
Nicola Melluso: I am a PhD student in Data Science for Business and Industry. The main topics of interest are natural language processing, product design and innovation management. In particular, I developed text mining tools to assess worker's hard & soft skills 4.0 and to detect technological convergence. I am currently a member of the B4DS Lab (Business Engineering for Data Science).
FK: How will industry 4.0 technologies aid in the post-covid crisis recovery process ?
NM: Covid-19 has rapidly redefined the agenda of technological research and development both for academics and practitioners. In particular, Industry 4.0 technologies are the main actors of such a “rapid” innovation process. The first wave of this pandemic showed a fast repurposing of technologies that leads to innovative applications. This will not foster a “recovery”, defined as the process of becoming successful or normal again after problems, but a “re-engineering”, that will show the radical emergence of new disruptive technologies.
FK: What gaps have been identified during the Covid-19 pandemic and how can technologies solve these gaps?
NM: The main gap that this pandemic has shown is the large adoption time of smart technological applications. The covid crisis is fostering the adoption and diffusion of certain technologies. In the pre-covid scenario, many businesses had the right level of technology readiness but not the right willingness to change.
FK: Why should companies invest in industry 4.0 technologies in the post-crisis paradigm?
NM: Industry 4.0 is defined as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Its name suggests the occurrence of a revolution of the processes and of the way people work. Before this pandemic, the motivation for adopting smart and digital applications was market-pulled. The competitive scenario was the main reason to foster technological innovation. The covid-19 crisis introduced a new boost. Businesses need to satisfy new needs; internally, such as the safety in the workplace, and externally, such as competitive products and processes. The smartification and digitalization of business processes is the way to achieve these objectives.
FK: What does the future look like for the labour market post-pandemic?
NM: Industry 4.0 had, and currently have, a strong and heterogeneous influence on the labour market. A change in organisational activities and competences was a consequence to this phenomenon that clearly spreads differently worldwide at an exponential speed and with an uncertain impact. For example, workers are becoming more independent and it is required to master new technologies, with additional cross-sectoral skills decisive for a market that seems to project towards digitalization.
However, the advent of this pandemic emergency brought a change to the way workers deal with their daily life and work. The key example is the spread of the “smart working” paradigm. This is having a strong positive impact on the job community. The possibility of working from home guarantees a workflow necessary for society. If we think of the key enablers of this paradigm, it is not possible to not mention the industry 4.0 technologies.
Catch Nicola Melluso together with Scientist Mika Salmi Ph.D and Economist Piergiuseppe Fortunato Ph.D on our upcoming webinar, Thursday September 24th 4pm CEST, as they delve into the industry 4.0 paradigm, its application to pandemic control and the future of global economic activity. Register here for the webinar.