Industry Reborn: How Tech Is Changing The Way We Make Things

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As information technology remakes the modern factory, forward-looking companies are creating virtual worlds to optimize real-world manufacturing. The rewards include improvements in business value and sustainability that would have been almost unimaginable just a few years ago.

Among the most important domains in which data-driven approaches are helping manufacturers boost innovation and performance are:

A digital twin is a computer-based replica of a physical object or system.

More specifically, it’s a digital representation of the information embedded within the system. And it’s something that industrial managers can easily study and comprehend—in a way that they can’t, say, a functioning container ship or sprawling manufacturing plant. Managers can use digital twins to predict problems before they occur or to run experiments, exposing the twin to stresses and different inputs without disrupting the real-world system.

The use of duplicates to manage systems dates back to NASA’s Apollo program—more precisely, to 1970’s ill-starred Apollo 13 mission, which almost ended in disaster. The space agency deployed mirrored systems to diagnose the imperiled spacecraft’s problems and devise a plan to get its astronauts back to Earth.

The combination of model-based systems that represent the attributes and behavior of business processes in manufacturing with the recent ascendancy of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is letting digital twin technology come into its own. The IIoT uses sensors and smart components embedded in machines to allow those machines to communicate with other systems—and to feed data back to managers for analysis. That data and the model, together, constitute the material from which the digital twin takes shape.

Digital twins can also guide sustainable manufacturing, letting companies test out different approaches in a virtual environment. That lets them see how they can best eliminate potential waste, whether in inventory, energy use, equipment efficiency or anywhere else.

A digital twin’s most powerful application, however, may be in the design and planning of manufacturing processes and even entire factories. Eric Green, vice president at Dassault Systèmes, cites the case of a company that Dassault Systèmes helped to create a digital model as a starting point for a new plant.

The company realized that it could improve quality and reduce costs by self-manufacturing parts that it had long outsourced. Working with the digital simulacrum, the company simulated different production volumes and flow rates for the parts it wanted to make in-house.

The state-of-the-art plant worked efficiently from day one—the digital twin eliminated the need for a shakedown period. As a bonus, the company now has nearly identical virtual and real environments. This allows managers to more efficiently shift production around various lines.

“They can simulate and optimize for production rates as they grow their business and understand what they need to do before they actually make changes on the factory floor,” says Green. “They’ve now saved a lot of money and become very efficient.”

Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE tech goes further. A 3DEXPERIENCE twin is a virtual model of business processes, with digital continuity from engineering to manufacturing. It’s generated from a single data model on a unified platform—an advantage no other twin can claim. A 3DEXPERIENCE twin also ensures unmatched accuracy and fidelity. When these powerful simulated environments are used for analysis in real time, the result is an unparalleled ability to experiment in the digital world. That in turn creates a flawless experience in the real world.

Organizations are also putting twin-based IT platforms to work to create more value within their supplier networks. A supplier may notice, for example, that a different material is more suitable for a component and suggest its use. The twin can then confirm whether that alternative will meet expectations.

The drive to squeeze more value from networks often starts with a market opportunity. A company might detect a shift in the marketplace, and want to capitalize on it. By mapping a network’s complexities in the virtual realm first, managers can model the entire value network—determining how best to acquire and distribute resources before taking real-world steps.

Ultimately, Green says, a company wants to “maximize the profit mix and the product portfolio mix on a global level, and in a sustainable way.”

“Suppliers in certain parts of the world might be more efficient or better than others,” he says. Impacts will vary “based on total landed costs, which include product costs, transportation costs, labor costs, environmental costs, taxes and tariffs.”

Companies are also using collaborative platforms to create sustainability throughout the value network. A platform such as 3DEXPERIENCE lets firms capture, standardize and analyze data to evaluate a business activity’s environmental and social effects and communicate what’s been learned. Beyond their own operations, companies can collaborate through the value network to reduce waste and increase efficiency—from upfront product and packaging design and raw-material sourcing, to end-stage disposal and recovery of materials.

Designing work environments using virtual twins can make them safer, more efficient and more collaborative. Digital twins can help identify workflow bottlenecks or other process flaws.

Augmented reality and virtual reality systems are proving their utility as part of the worker-training process. Dassault Systèmes designed a system for one manufacturer that uses computer-aided design to create an immersive and interactive environment in which trainees manipulate holographic 3D images. New employees can more quickly grasp complex concepts and gain new insights into processes.

The system also improves safety outcomes and efficiency as workers arrive ready to handle the tools, technologies and procedures the factory will throw at them. The risk of human error falls dramatically. And with less need for shop-floor training and shadowing, the arrival of a new employee can have little or no negative impact on production rates.

Needless to say, when life is easier for shop-floor employees, the whole company benefits. In the United States, an aerospace firm was looking for ways to decrease the two full years it was investing in training incoming engineering graduates. With assistance from Dassault Systèmes, the company created a learning program that gave new hires experience with 3D design and digital transformation software. The new employees became productive team members at the company’s aircraft manufacturing sites that much faster.

Collaborative platforms and augmented or virtual reality systems are also providing a mechanism through which experienced workers can share knowledge and know-how—or what Green calls their “DNA”—with younger colleagues.

Then too, collaborative platforms are easing the ability of existing employees to share knowledge across teams or groups.

Green asks us to imagine a worker helping assemble an aircraft. If the engineering team modifies the assembly process and the worker notices that a key procedural step is lacking, that worker needs the ability to raise a red flag and make sure the appropriate people notice it.

Incorporating digital twin technology into these platforms lets companies test out changes that workers have suggested and identify whether it might make sense to formalize some of their on-the-spot work-process improvisations. The result might be more efficient and improved business processes, fewer wasteful steps and less risk of injury. That, in turn, will boost productivity, empower employees and promote wellness—things crucial to leading companies.

By Tom Clynes

Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE® Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations.

Source: Industry Reborn: How Tech Is Changing The Way We Make Things

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The 5 Biggest Blockchain Trends In 2022

Blockchain is one of the most exciting tech trends at the moment. It is a distributed, encrypted database model that has the potential to solve many problems around online trust and security. Many people know it as the technology that underpins Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. However, its potential uses are far broader, encompassing digital “smart” contracts, logistics and supply chain provenance and security, and protection against identity theft.

There are countless others – blockchain evangelists say it can potentially be used to improve security and integrity in any system that involves multiple parties sharing access to a database. During 2022, spending on blockchain solutions by businesses is forecast to hit $11.7 billion. Here are some of the trends that will be driving this and some thoughts on how this will impact more and more lives over the course of the next year.

Green blockchain initiatives

Blockchains can potentially use a lot of energy and create high levels of carbon emissions – this fact was behind Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s decision to temporarily stop accepting Bitcoin in payment for his cars earlier in 2021. For this very good reason, during 2022, we are likely to see a great deal of emphasis on attempts to “greenify” blockchain. There are a few ways this can be done, including carbon offsetting, although many people consider that this often equates to simply patching up a wound that shouldn’t have been caused in the first place.

Another is by moving to less energy-intensive models of blockchain technology – typically those that rely on “proof-of-stake” algorithms rather than “proof-of-work” to generate consensus. Ethereum – the second best-known blockchain after Bitcoin – plans to move to a POS model during 2022. Another route to a greener operating model is the one championed by Cathy Wood, CEO of tech-focused hedge fund Ark Invest. This posits the view that growing demand for energy will lead to greater investments into generating renewable energy, which will then be used for other applications as well as operating blockchains.

NFT expanding beyond online art

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) were the big news in the blockchain scene during 2021. Astronomical prices achieved by artwork such as Beeple’s The First 5000 Days created plenty of headlines, placing the concept of unique digital tokens residing on blockchains firmly in the public consciousness. It’s also firmly taken hold in the music world, with artists including Kings of Leon, Shawn Mendes, and Grimes all releasing tracks in NFT format. But like blockchain in general, the idea has potential beyond it’s first publicity-grabbing use cases.

Distillers William Grant and Son recently sold bottles of 46-year-old Glenfiddich whisky alongside NFTs, which are used to prove each bottle’s provenance. NFTs in gaming are starting to take off in a big way – monster-breeding game Axie Infinity allows players to “mint” their own NFT creatures to send into battle and currently has around 300,000 concurrent players (Fortnite, for comparison, has around 3.5 million). Dolce & Gabbana and Nike have both created clothing and footwear that come with their own NFTs. And the metaverse concept – championed this year by Facebook, Microsoft, and Nvidia – brings plenty of opportunities for innovative NFT use cases.

More countries adopt Bitcoin and national cryptocurrencies

2021 saw El Salvador become among the first nations to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, meaning it can be accepted across the country to pay for goods and services, and businesses can use it to pay their employees. According to many commentators, during 2022, we will see a number of other countries follow suit.

Alexander Hoptner, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, predicts that at least five developing countries will start to accept Bitcoin next year, driven by global inflation and growing remittance fees from financial “middlemen” organizations used to send money home by overseas workers.

National cryptocurrencies – where central banks create their own coins that they can control, rather than adopting existing decentralized coins – are another area where we will see growth in 2022. These projects typically involve digital currencies that will operate alongside existing traditional currencies, allowing users to conduct their own transactions and manage their custody without relying on third-party service providers, while also allowing the central banks to keep control of the circulating supply – keeping the value of the token pegged to the value of the country’s traditional currency.

While the UK government-endorsed Britcoin is unlikely to be ready for launch during 2022, others, including China, Singapore, Tunisia, and Ecuador, have already done so, with more, including Japan, Russia, Sweden, and Estonia likely to join soon.

Blockchain and IoT integration

Blockchain is hugely compatible with the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT) because it is great for creating records of interactions and transactions between machines. It can potentially help to solve many problems around security as well as scalability due to the automated, encrypted, and immutable nature of blockchain ledgers and databases. It could even be used for machine-to-machine transactions – enabling micropayments to be made via cryptocurrencies when one machine or network needs to procure services from another.

While this is an advanced use case that may involve us traveling a little further down the road before it impacts our day-to-day lives, it’s likely we will start to hear about more pilot projects and initial use cases in this field during 2022. Innovation in this field is likely to be driven by the ongoing rollout of 5G networks, meaning greater connectivity between all manner of smart, networked equipment and appliances – not simply in terms of speed, but also new types of data transactions including blockchain transactions.

Blockchain in vaccine manufacture and tracking

It’s now clear that tackling the Covid-19 global pandemic will continue to be a priority throughout 2022 and a key use case for many of this year’s top tech trends. Blockchain technology has several important potential use cases in vaccine tracking and distribution.

In a world where counterfeiters are known to be creating and selling fake vaccines, blockchain means the authenticity of vaccine shipments can be proven, and their distribution can be traced to ensure they are arriving at their intended locations. There’s also a need to ensure integrity at every point of the supply chain – for example, to ensure batches of vaccines are consistently stored at the correct temperature, as is needed by many of them. IBM has created a system to allow coordination between the many different and varied agencies and healthcare authorities involved with vaccine distribution, using blockchain to unify recording of vaccination rates and efficacy across the various tools and platforms they all have in use. A pilot project also showed how blockchain could potentially speed up the ability to recognize where a product recall might be needed – for example, in a case where a batch seems to be causing an unusually high occurrence of side-effects – from three days to just a few seconds. Breakthroughs that come about due to the unprecedented response to this pandemic are likely to go on to enable more use cases for blockchain technology in the manufacture, distribution, and management of vaccinations in 2022.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies.He helps organizations improve their business performance, use data more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things. Why don’t you connect with Bernard on Twitter (@bernardmarr), LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr) or instagram (bernard.marr)?

Source: The 5 Biggest Blockchain Trends In 2022

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How To Embrace The Post-Pandemic, Digital-Driven Future Of Work

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Digital will separate the winners from the laggards in the hypercompetitive, post-pandemic business landscape, says Ben Pring, Managing Director of Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work. We undertook a global, multi-industry study to understand how businesses are preparing for this future and here’s what we found.

COVID-19 changed digital from a nice-to-have adjunct to a must-have tool at the core of the enterprise. The pandemic forced businesses to reassess how they strategize and execute their digital ambitions in a world that has migrated online, possibly for good in many areas. Those that did not prioritize digital prior to the pandemic found that procrastination was no longer an option — the digital landscape is hypercompetitive.

The Cognizant Center for the Future of Work (CFoW), working with Oxford Economics, recently surveyed 4,000 C-level executives globally to understand how they are putting digital to use and what they hope to achieve in the coming years.

The CFoW found that digital technologies are key to success in the coming years and uncovered six key steps that all organizations can take to more fruitfully apply to gear-up for the fast unfolding digital future:

  • Scrutinize everything because it’s going to change. From how and where employees work, to how customers are engaged, and which products and services are now viable as customer needs and behaviors evolve rapidly.
  • Make technology a partner in work. Innovations in AI, blockchain, natural language processing, IoT and 5G communications are ushering in decades of change ahead and will drive new levels of functionality and performance.
  • Build new workflows to reach new performance thresholds. The most predictable, rote and repetitive activities need to be handed off to software, while humans specialize in using judgment, creativity and language.
  • Make digital competency the prime competency for everyone. No matter what type of work needs to be done, it must have a digital component. Levels of digital literacy need to be built out even among non-technologists, including specialized skills.
  • Begin a skills renaissance. Digital skills such as big data specialists, process automation experts, security analysts, etc. aren’t easy to acquire. To overcome skills shortages, organizations will need to work harder to retain and engage workers.
  • Employees want jobs, but they also want meaning from jobs. How can businesses use intelligent algorithms to take increasing proportions of tasks off workers’ plates, allowing them to spend their time creating value? This search for meaning stretches beyond the individual tasks of the job to what the organization itself stands for.

Here are a few key findings from our research:

Redesigning the workplace is just the beginning: The virus will force enterprises to ask more strategic questions.

A mesh of machine emerges: While IoT is beginning to take hold, few respondents have piloted 5G projects. But over time , the mesh of machines created by IoT and 5G will serve as the foundation for news levels of functionality and possibility.

The 3As-AI , automation and analytics are the engines of digitization: To make the future of work happen, the 3As are emerging as a sophisticated and complex set of tools more deeply embedded in processes.

To learn more, read our whitepaper “The Work Ahead: Digital First (to Last)” or see the full Work Ahead study series.

Ben Pring leads Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work and is a coauthor of the books Monster: A Tough Love Letter On Taming The Machines That Rule Our Jobs, Lives, and Future, What To Do When Machines Do Everything and Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations Are Changing the Rules of Business. In 2018, he was a Bilderberg Meeting participant. He previously spent 15 years with Gartner as a senior industry analyst, researching and advising on areas such as cloud computing and global sourcing. He can be reached at Benjamin.Pring@cognizant.com

Source: How To Embrace The Post-Pandemic, Digital-Driven Future Of Work

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Critics:

Digitalization  is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. Digital solutions may enable – in addition to efficiency via automation – new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.

One aspect of digital transformation is the concept of ‘going paperless‘ or reaching a ‘digital business maturity’ affecting both individual businesses and whole segments of society, such as government,mass communications,art, health care, and science.

Digital transformation is not proceeding at the same pace everywhere. According to the McKinsey Global Institute‘s 2016 Industry Digitization Index, Europe is currently operating at 12% of its digital potential, while the United States is operating at 18%. Within Europe, Germany operates at 10% of its digital potential, while the United Kingdom is almost on par with the United States at 17%.

One example of digital transformation is the use of cloud computing. This reduces reliance on user-owned hardware and increases reliance on subscription-based cloud services. Some of these digital solutions enhance capabilities of traditional software products (e.g. Microsoft Office compared to Office 365) while others are entirely cloud based (e.g. Google Docs).

As the companies providing the services are guaranteed of regular (usually monthly) recurring revenue from subscriptions, they are able to finance ongoing development with reduced risk (historically most software companies derived the majority of their revenue from users upgrading, and had to invest upfront in developing sufficient new features and benefits to encourage users to upgrade), and delivering more frequent updates often using forms of agile software development internally. This subscription model also reduces software piracy, which is a major benefit to the vendor.

Unlike digitization, digitalization is the ‘organizational process’ or ‘business process’ of the technologically-induced change within industries, organizations, markets and branches. Digitalization of manufacturing industries has enabled new production processes and much of the phenomena today known as the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0, machine to machine communication, artificial intelligence and machine vision.

Digitalization of business and organizations has induced new business models (such as freemium), new eGovernment services, electronic payment, office automation and paperless office processes, using technologies such as smart phones, web applications, cloud services, electronic identification, blockchain, smart contracts and cryptocurrencies, and also business intelligence using Big Data. Digitalization of education has induced e-learning and Mooc courses.

See also

 

Building Business Stability In An Unstable World

Introducing Digital Factory 4.0, the future of effortless, connected, and proactive operations. 

I’ve seen some things. 

Back in 2000, I watched as the soaring dot com economy plummeted back to Earth. Then there was the gut-wrenching housing crisis of 2008. Still, I hardly envisioned a global pandemic that would drive 3,600 American businesses into bankruptcy in the first six months of 2020 alone.   

The scope of these bankruptcies are unprecedented, yet they underscore an old business maxim: the time to prepare for a crisis is before it happens. In an unpredictable world, futureproofing your business isn’t optional. COVID-19 is one example of instability, but it’s easy to think of others geopolitics, climate change, and societal tension to name a few. And while every industry confronts these challenges, not every industry is similarly at risk.  

Introducing Digital Factory 4.0  

Manufacturers are particularly exposed to the economic impacts of COVID-19 because of their global supply chains, interactive working environments, and high sensitivity to downstream demand. These factors place them at risk from future crises as well. As a result, their post-pandemic planning must include process alterations for COVID-19 and a comprehensive strategy for whatever comes next.  

Fortunately, in this digital day and age we have the tools to create resilience for this pandemic and beyond.  

The first step is the complete digitization and connection of factory operations through automation and digital workflows. This will create what I like to call Digital Factory 4.0.  

This factory represents a fourth revolution within manufacturing. In the first, steam power mechanized production; in the second, electricity created mass production; in the third, information technology automated and globalized that production.  

Now, in the fourth, emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and the internet of things (IoT), are combining to digitize, automate, and transform the factory entirely. 

Digital nervous system 

Digital Factory 4.0 is based on a digital nervous system that ties the full manufacturing value chain together and makes all operations effortless, connected, and proactive. This nervous system consists of workflows that eliminate silos and create a connected enterprise of universal visibility.   

On the factory floor, insignificant problems quickly ripple into larger delays down the line when machine operators lack the knowledge to remediate the issue. Something as small as a misprinted label can throw the entire production process into disarray.  

In Digital Factory 4.0, notes detailing past machine fixes, a comprehensive knowledge base, and a workflow-powered connection to an outside technician are all accessible through a mobile device linked to the factory’s digital nervous system. Employees have the information they need at their fingertips, operations flow effortlessly, and overall equipment efficiency (OEE) is improved throughout the factory.  

In the event of a larger breakdown, information about downstream effect is quickly cascaded to the relevant parties via automated workflows. Information captured in these workflows, along with that from IoT sensors, helps manufacturers better understand the trade-offs that limit or increase capacity.   

Oh geez...just screens with code looking very technological. Bleep bloop!
A digital nervous system connects the Digital Factory 4.0. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Intelligent quality control 

World-class operations extend beyond maintenance and information dissemination to quality control and product development—two areas of significant expense.  

For example, when a manufacturer I worked with altered its pet food recipe, it unknowingly shipped bags with heavier individual pellets and thus more food than necessary. That compounded into a noticeable cost.  

Digital Factory 4.0 addresses this problem in two ways. First, IoT sensors identify discrepancies immediately and trigger a disruption workflow that drives actions to resolve the complication before production is impacted. This is intelligent quality control. Again, it’s both effortless and connected.  

Second, by digitizing product development—running simulations on a digital twin of the physical product—we can decrease parts per million (PPM) defective rates and proactively address quality issues that arise when we, for instance, change a recipe.  

Along with improved OEE, decreased PPM translates to higher margins and greater profit, ensuring a sustainable and resilient factory.  

Connecting teams and people 

Most important, Digital Factory 4.0 connects teams, keeping the workforce healthy and engaged while managing for regulatory compliance. This is especially important as leaders consider how to safely navigate the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ServiceNow’s Contact Tracing app, for example, uses system data (badge scans, workstation location, etc.) to identify and isolate employees who come in contact with an individual infected by COVID-19. It’s one way to ensure a safe return to work, and it’s also indicative of a core tenet of connected teams: the use of employee data—on everything from common challenges to health and wellness—to build a sustainable workforce.  

For example, many manufacturing injuries can be linked to addressable root cause issues. By aggregating and analyzing information on these injuries, we can pinpoint causes and shift processes. The data also informs other areas in the organization, such as risk, compliance, and workforce planning.  

Digital Factory 4.0 is about getting access to this data on the assumption that all the information we need to perfectly optimize operations is readily available—if only we could see it.  

With COVID-19 placing pressure on manufacturers like never before, it’s the organizations who digitize operations and unlock their data that will survive, reinvest, and continuously improve.

Tasker Generes

Tasker Generes

Tasker Generes is global head of connected enterprise at ServiceNow, crafting strategy for the connected enterprise leveraging IoT, BlockChain, and AI while also providing executive level advisory to help companies modernize, transform and innovate. He is the author of 87 patent claims around ConnectedOperations, ConnectedHuman, ConnectedSecurity and ConnectedService. Prior to joining ServiceNow, Tasker was chief technology officer at Amtrak and ran his own consulting firm Silos to Service Solutions Inc., bringing business and IT together to leapfrog their competition through focused service. Through his work at IBM as chief technologist for service management solutions, Tasker developed a deep depth of knowledge and experience in leading global service management delivery across process, technology, organization and information. At IBM, he also served as co-chair of LEAP (Leadership Education for Asia-Pacifics). Tasker earned his Master of Project Management degree from George Washington University School of Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, San Diego

Source: Forbes

We Need to Change How We Share Our Personal Data Online in the Age of COVID19

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A few months into the coronavirus pandemic, the web is more central to humanity’s functioning than I could have imagined 30 years ago. It’s now a lifeline for billions of people and businesses worldwide. But I’m more frustrated now with the current state of the web than ever before. We could be doing so much better.

COVID-19 underscores how urgently we need a new approach to organizing and sharing personal data. You only have to look at the limited scope and the widespread adoption challenges of the pandemic apps offered by various tech companies and governments.

Think of all the data about your life accumulated in the various applications you use – social gatherings, frequent contacts, recent travel, health, fitness, photos, and so on. Why is it that none of that information can be combined and used to help you, especially during a crisis?

It’s because you aren’t in control of your data. Most businesses, from big tech to consumer brands, have siphoned it for their own agendas. Our global reactions to COVID-19 should present us with an urgent impetus to rethink this arrangement.

For some years now, I, along with a growing number of dedicated engineers, have been working on a different kind of technology for the web. It’s called Solid. It’s an update to the web – a course-correction if you will – that provides you with a trusted place or places to store all your digital information about your life, at work and home, no matter what application you use that produces it. The data remains under your control, and you can easily choose who can access it, for what purpose, and for how long. With Solid, you can effectively decide how to share anything with anyone, no matter what app you or the recipient uses. It’s as if your apps could all talk to one another, but only under your supervision.

There’s even more that could have been done to benefit the lives of people impacted by the crisis – simply by linking data between apps. For example:

What if you could safely share photos about your symptoms, your fitness log, the medications you’ve taken, and places you’ve been directly with your doctor? All under your control.

What if your whole family could automatically share location information and daily temperature readings with each other so you’d all feel assured when it was safe to visit your grandfather? And be sure no-one else would see it.

What if health providers could during an outbreak see a map of households flagged as immuno-compromised or at-risk, so they could organize regular medical check-ins? And once the crisis is over, their access to your data could be taken away, and privacy restored.

What if grocery delivery apps could prioritize homes based on whether elderly residents lived there? Without those homes or the people in them having their personal details known by the delivery service.

What if a suddenly unemployed person could, from one simple app, give every government agency access to their financial status and quickly receive a complete overview of all the services for which they’re eligible? Without being concerned that any agency could pry into their personal activity.

None of this is possible within the constructs of today’s web. But all of it and much more could be possible. I don’t believe we should accept the web as it currently is or be resigned to its shortcomings, just because we need it so much. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can make it better.

My goal has always been a web that empowers human beings, redistributes power to individuals, and reimagines distributed creativity, collaboration, and compassion.

Today, developers are creating exciting new applications and organizations are exploring new ways to innovate. The momentum for this new and vibrant web is already palpable, but we must not let the crisis distract us. We must be ready to hit the ground running once this crisis passes so we are better prepared to navigate the next one. To help make this a reality, I co-founded a company, called Inrupt, to support Solid’s evolution into a high-quality, reliable technology that can be used at scale by businesses, developers, and, eventually, by everyone.

Let’s free data from silos and put it to work for our personal benefit and the greater good. Let’s collaborate more effectively and innovate in ways that benefit humanity and revitalize economies. Let’s build these new systems with which people will work together more effectively. Let’s inspire businesses, governments, and developers to build powerful application platforms that work for us, not just for them.

Let’s focus on making the post-COVID-19 world much more effective than the pre-COVID-19 world. Our future depends on it.

BY TIM BERNERS-LEE

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