The top 20 industrial technology trends – as showcased at Hannover Messe 2022

Hannover Fair 2022 - Top technologies

In short

  • Software, Cloud, and AI were the most prevalent industrial technology trends at the Hannover Messe 2022.
  • The buzz around sustainability and cybersecurity grew particularly fast compared to the last physical Hannover Messe in 2019.

Why it matters?

  • Hannover Messe is still the world’s most important global industrial fair. Technologies showcased there are widely applicable to any industrial company.

Hannover Messe 2022

Hannover Messe 2022 - cover image

Hannover Messe (or Hannover Fair), the #1 global industrial tradeshow, was back in action earlier this month. The event that took place from 30 May–02 June 2022, in Hannover, Germany, showcased once again the latest developments and industrial technology trends. Despite a much smaller crowd (75,000 visitors—roughly 40% of pre-pandemic levels), the fairgrounds were buzzing and filled with senior executives from many of the leading industrial hardware, software, and service providers. The conference remains one of those rare fairs where you randomly walk into senior executives, like a Head of Engineering for a major industrial conglomerate, and not only into the pre-sales representatives giving you the usual pitch.

“In the face of disrupted supply chains, rising energy prices, inflation, and climate change, it was all the more important to meet face-to-face again in the exhibition halls after two years marked by a pandemic, to take in the latest technology trends and get a window to the future.”

Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman at Deutsche Messe

IoT Analytics had a team of nine analysts on the ground. They visited approximately 230 booths, conducted over 100 individual interviews, and attended a number of presentations to get a handle on how digital is impacting manufacturing in a post-COVID-19 world. This article highlights some of the major takeaways; our research clients can refer to the 56-page “Hannover Messe 2022 — the latest Industrial IoT / Industry 4.0 trends” event report for an in-depth discussion of individual company exhibitions with examples and important quotes.

Top industrial technology trends at HMI 2022: Software, Cloud, AI

We related our findings to an analysis of articles and press announcements (media analysis) corresponding to different industrial technology trends that were released before or at the Hannover Fair. This is the outcome:

Top 20 industrial technology Hannover Messe 2022
(For reference: You can find our analysis of the 2019 pre-pandemic Hannover Messe here.)

1.      Software has become front and center (even for hardware companies)

The majority of showcases at HMI 2022 seemed software related. Even companies making most of their revenue today with hardware and operational technology centered their presence at HMI 2022 around proprietary software offerings and software partnerships. This was most notable with large automation vendors. Schneider Electric, for example, highlighted (among other things) software such as its Plant Advisor IoT platform and edge AI tool Autonomous Production Advisor. Rockwell Automation’s five key innovation areas highlighted all centered around software, and Siemens, for the first time, completely re-innovated its booth layout, with themes such as “sustainability” and “transparency” at the core and limited focus on standalone automation hardware.

2.      Push to the cloud continues (but some software stays on-premises)

The fact that AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft attracted some of the biggest crowds shows just how important these companies have become, even in the conservative manufacturing industry. Nonetheless, discussions with other companies showed how reluctant many people are to move key systems to the cloud. An Aveva integrator told us that the vast majority of the software he sells today in Germany and central Europe is for on-prem or private cloud deployments. iQunet, a predictive maintenance solutions provider, told us that most customers prefer to host the solution on-prem or within their private cloud.

3.      Artificial Intelligence is ubiquitous

AI was one of the most prevalent themes showcased by exhibitors. We ran an analysis and found that approximately 16% of all exhibitors offer AI solutions, while approximately 10% of all news articles are connected to the technology. Especially in the field of predictive maintenance (e.g., Siemens’ Predictive Service Analyzer) and machine vision (e.g., Google’s Visual Inspection AI solution) that compete with one another in emphasizing their artificial intelligence products. Furthermore, AI is now extending into the data management and transformation level. Cognite demonstrated how it utilizes AI to contextualize multiple data sources and data points (i.e., automatically mapping specific data points to the relevant machines, equipment, and processes that are affected or can make use of this data point). This enhances overall data quality within the model development process. Thus, leveraging AI technology increases overall data quality within the model development, leading to better use of case-specific solutions and quicker business values.
In our recent “State of IoT – Summer 2022” report, we discussed that some companies had initiated projects that investigate the potential of AI in automating primary industrial control operations. At the conference, we came across another example: The Fraunhofer-Institute for Design Engineering Mechatronics (IEM, in German) showcased an AI grinding system (i.e., Robogrinder) that is used to automate the processing of complex rubber-like materials (such as complex contoured wrapping rolls)—which until now had been carried out exclusively by hand. The solution features a robotic arm (Mitsubishi), a laser scanner, and a control system equipped with AI software. The control system keeps the grinding process of profile wrapping rolls within the desired operating range. The AI software analyzes the grinding process and continuously improves it.

Fastest growing trends at HMI 2022: Sustainability

Industrial technology trends - Hannover Fair 2022

Sustainability at the center of attention

In stark contrast to the last physical HMI, sustainability topics were at the core of many showcases. Microsoft showcased its recently launched “Cloud for Sustainability.” Several companies dedicated their entire HMI showcases to sustainability, e.g., Yaskawa had the slogan “Smart products for sustainable production.” Smaller companies, such as UnifyTwin, showcased an AI-driven intelligent industrial app suite focusing on sustainability and smart energy among other things.

Other selected highlights from the fair

Everyone is moving to solutions

In contrast to a few years ago, companies were rarely advertising software platforms, individual software tools, or other standalone building blocks for digitization. Instead, solutions and specific outcomes took center stage at the fair. This was most notable in the booth designs of Siemens and Microsoft, with both companies taking very similar approaches in grouping their individual kiosks around five key themes/outcomes. The five Siemens themes, for example, were as follows: 1. Availability and scalability; 2. resilience and flexibility; 3. sustainability and profitability; 4. efficiency and quality; and 5. transparency and speed.

Private 5G is here but has not moved beyond pilots

5G was a top theme at the Hannover Messe 2019, with an entire hall dedicated to the topic (read our take from 2019). Three years later, much of the initial hype has cooled off. Although many vendors had private 5G networks that were operational at their booths, the topic has not yet moved out of pilot purgatory. Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Siemens all had their private 5G networks operating within their booths. For example, Qualcomm partnered with Bosch Rexroth to pilot a 5G- based quality inspection system at the Robert Bosch Elektronik GmbH factory in Salzgitter, Germany. From the previous years, where the use cases of private 5G were less clear, the industry has progressed a lot with partnerships. Upcoming industry-oriented Releases 16 and 17 will provide clarity in moving private 5G forward and beyond pilots.

More information and further reading

Hannover Messe 2022 — The latest Industrial IoT/Industry 4.0 trends

A 56-page report highlighting key insights from the world’s largest industrial fair.

Download the sample to learn more about the report structure, companies included, and see additional data points.

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    <a href="" target="_self">Knud Lasse Lueth</a>

    Knud Lasse Lueth

    Since founding IoT Analytics in 2014, my focus has been to build a team that produces high-quality research in areas such as IoT, AI, Cloud, and smart manufacturing. Throughout my journey, I have authored or co-authored over 100 reports, always with a commitment to delivering analyses that are not only trustworthy but also rich in insight and uniqueness.

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