15 Nov 2021 |
Research article |
Information and Communications Technologies , Materials & Manufacturing , Infrastructures and Built Environment
Digital Transformation: At the Heart of Economic Recovery
In its 2020 report entitled Restart, Recover, and Reimagine Prosperity for All Canadians: An Ambitious Growth Plan for Building a Digital, Sustainable and Innovative Economy, the Industry Strategy Council of Canada concluded that a data-driven digital economy was crucial for the post-Covid-19 recovery.
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An Essential Step…
Digital transformation in business is viewed as a deciding factor in maintaining Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage and a robust industrial ecosystem. Various studies point in this direction, and efforts related to digital transformation have increased tenfold since the pandemic, accelerating the process even more.
Digital transformation, also known as Industry 4.0, is based on the integration of several cutting-edge technologies—the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems, cloud computing, additive manufacturing, virtual and augmented reality, massive data analysis, and data science. It is defining a new way of organizing factories to better serve customers through increased production flexibility and supply chain optimization. In a way, Industry 4.0 embodies technological advancement, a phenomenon that now makes it possible to connect numerous objects, ensuring equipment and product traceability at reasonable costs. The vast majority of industry sectors are being impacted. However, many challenges remain in making this transition a success.
… Fraught with Pitfalls
At the heart of this transformation are complex technologies mastered by a mere handful of engineers. Projects leading to digital transformation are, at their core, highly multidisciplinary. Their ramifications require a broader vision of the tasks at hand and a clear transition plan, based on a specific and customized diagnosis of the targeted businesses.
These advanced technologies have complexified systems and created challenges with regard to security, reliability, and information integrity. These bottlenecks must be resolved to successfully deploy digital technologies and reach the Industry 4.0 sphere.
The Government of Quebec plans to invest $130 million by March 31, 2022, in projects designed to accelerate the digital shift of businesses and foster innovative SME growth through specialized support. As for the Government of Canada, it has allocated $1.4 billion to the Canada Digital Adoption Program in order to provide, among others, SMEs with grants designed to help them access consulting services.
Needless to say, the demand for well-trained engineers in these fields, which was already significant, is constantly expanding.
Digital transformation necessarily entails the acquisition of new expertise to master all of its aspects. The need for upgrading is all the more pressing in the present context of labour shortage.
ÉTS is offering a multidisciplinary Short Graduate Program in Digital Business, based on industry needs. This program, jointly developed by the five ÉTS departments, presents different views in the field in order to train versatile specialists. It combines the mastery of technology with project management to better meet industry needs.
This training is eligible for the Government of Québec Information and Communication Technology Requalification and Training Program.
Amin Chaabane is a professor in the Systems Engineering Department at ÉTS. His interests focus on supply chain engineering and sustainable logistics issues and on planning and evaluating systems performance.
Program : Automated Manufacturing Engineering
Research laboratories : NUMERIX – Organizational Engineering Research Laboratory for the Digital Enterprise