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Business & Economy

‘Society should embrace new digital industrial revolution’, says Juergen Maier

Workers, company bosses and government should work together to embrace a new digital industrial revolution Juergen Maier – Siemens UK CEO and Industrial Strategy advisor – is expected to say at next month’s Northern Powerhouse Business Summit.

Mr Maier will be delivering a keynote speech on the final day of the Summit, which is being held in NewcastleGateshead from 4-6 July, as part of the Great Exhibition of the North. He will be discussing the future of the Northern Powerhouse and the opportunities available to Northern Businesses who embrace – rather than fear – new technologies.

Juergen Maier recently chaired the government’s Made Smarter Review, which called for a national strategy for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The Government has since agreed to create a national Made Smarter Commission and pledged £20m to support a digital technologies pilot in the North West.

Mr Maier said: “More than 200 years ago, the North was the birthplace of the original Industrial Revolution. The dramatic shift to adopt new manufacturing processes was spearheaded by the textiles industry in the North West, ironmaking in Cumbria and steelmaking in the North East which led to building ships that visited every corner of the globe.

“Now in 2018, the Northern Powerhouse has a chance, through embracing tech, to lead the world once again.”

Automation and the use of robotics is set to be a key part of the 4IR, as businesses digitise their processes and increase productivity.

Mr Maier explains: “Information, data and technology are embedded into everything we do, both in business and our personal lives. Embracing the digital age creates more job opportunities for workers, not less.

“For every job that can be replaced by a machine or artificial intelligence, other new ones will be created. And in this new revolution most robots and artificial intelligence will assist humans rather than replace them anyway. And the new technology needs programming and maintaining, so the companies that will benefit most from automation will be those that work with their employees to upskill and train them to be able to carry out these new roles.”

The Northern Powerhouse Business Summit will be the central business event during the Great Exhibition of the North, bringing together ministers, city region mayors, and council and business leaders. A final wave of tickets has today (21st June) been released.

The Summit will focus on how the Northern Powerhouse can be at the forefront of the fourth Industrial Revolution – Industry 4.0 – and the government’s Industrial Strategy, including the role of the North in the ‘Grand Challenges’.

Mr Maier said: “It is my firm belief that the unique characteristics of the Northern Powerhouse mean that this region can and must lead a new Industrial Revolution.

“Our industrial heritage of making, building and innovating led to the North exporting goods all over the world, and we now have the tools to do so again.

“There is no reason why the next tech pioneer, the next Spotify, or WhatsApp, but focused on industrial applications, cannot be created in Sheffield, Leeds, Sunderland or anywhere else in our great region.”

The Northern Powerhouse Business Summit is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and is free to attend. For full details of the programme and to register for tickets, please visit