Victor Sánchez
President
Red OTT México
/
Expert Contributor

Strengthening Tech Transfer to Face Challenges of Industry 4.0

By Victor Gabriel Sánchez | Tue, 03/02/2021 - 15:57

Competitors from different industries have adopted Industry 4.0 technologies to incorporate innovation in their processes, products, or services, which are being revolutionized through smart solutions that either facilitate or automate their previously established methods. The Industry 4.0 market is estimated to reach a value of US$156.6 billion in 2024, growing at a compound annual rate of 16.9 percent between 2019 and 2024 (Markets & Markets, 2019). The growth of the sector will be driven by factors such as the global adoption of the internet in industrial manufacturing units, the need to increase the efficiency of machinery and systems, and the reduction of production costs.

A clear way to recognize the technological evolution within the sector can be observed by analyzing the patent records related to its concept. Graph 1, which shows patent activity as the number of listed inventions in the last 14 years, shows a growth of 58 percent in the number of registrations between 2015 and 2018. The technological leadership in Industry 4.0 is concentrated in the business sector since the main assignees (Graph 2) are companies such as Samsung Electronics, Tencent Technology, IBM and LG.  On the other hand, at a geographical level, China, the US and South Korea stand out as the main protection countries (Graph 3).

Graph 1. Patent activity
Graph 1. Patent activity
Graph 2. Key patent players.
Graph 2. Key patent players.
Graph 3. Geographic protection
Graph 3. Geographic protection

According to the report “Crafting the Future: A Road Map for Industry 4.0 in Mexico,” published by the Ministry of Economy in 2016, Mexico is not recognized as a leading country in innovation in this sector despite possessing mid and high-technology goods. Mexico faces significant deficiencies in terms of innovation capacity, investment on research and development, government procurement for the acquisition of advanced technology, and availability of talent.

To address the gaps in innovation within Industry 4.0 in Mexico, Red OTT México AC, with the support of the Ministry of Economy through the PROSOFT Industry 4.0 MX program, launched the LinkMe platform at the end of 2019.  This reliable and dynamic platform fosters technology transfer activities and facilitates the link between the actors of the national science, technology and innovation ecosystem. Through the interactions among the different actors that partake in the platform, LinkMe seeks to increase the integration of 4.0 technologies in Mexico and, consequently, support the strengthening of the country's innovation indicators.

During its first stage, LinkMe has integrated Industry 4.0 technologies into three subsectors: information and communication technologies (ICTs); manufacture of molds and dies; and textile industry.

Interactions within the platform are conducted by three types of actors:

  1. Technology seekers.  Organizations that require the adoption of Industry 4.0 solutions for their activities. These entities either publish their technology requirements on the platform or search for solutions in the database.
  2. Technology generators. Organizations that own a technological portfolio, can develop technological services for Industry 4.0 participants, or look for needs that can be met using their capabilities or technological infrastructure.
  3. Technology enablers. Organizations that promote the interaction between technological supply and demand through activities such as communication, identification, assessment, investment, incubation and acceleration.

Currently, LinkMe collects information from three major topics: technological capabilities; industry needs; and specialized services.  Graph 4 summarizes the platform’s key metrics.

4

Red OTT México is committed to connecting and strengthening the innovation ecosystem in various sectors. For Industry 4.0 members, the use of LinkMe will facilitate the promotion of technologies and services; the publication of specific needs; and the identification of key allies.

Some of the major activities that will be carried out during 2021 to strengthen the link between Industry 4.0 and LinkMe include:

  • Engage high-technology companies.
  • Support low and mid-technology companies in assessing the needs of Industry 4.0 players to strengthen their activities.
  • Increase the communication of the platform with technology providers to expand the portfolio of technologies and services available in Mexico.
  • Collaborate with universities, research centers and other knowledge-generating institutions located in Mexico to link their applied research projects according to the needs of the industry.

 

Photo by:   Victor Sánchez