Prepared for revolution

The ABB Technology Forum, a global network of business, academics and researchers, will take place on October 20

We are on the cusp of two revolutions: a fourth industrial revolution and an energy revolution. The first is driven by an explosion of data, computing power and ubiquitous connectivity between machines and people. The second is driven by environmental (the shift towards unpredictable and intermittent renewable energy sources) and energy independence concerns. This Thursday, in Zurich, some of the most talented thinkers across the business, academic and research communities will discuss these crucial topics at the ABB Technology Forum.

ABB is well positioned to play a leading role in the new era. Way back in the 70s we were already building software and connectivity into our devices and systems, to improve efficiency (as early as 1972, for example, ABB introduced the world`s first electric robot, controlled by a microprocessor). Over several decades we have built up a wide portfolio of products and services to cope with the growing complexity of energy systems and, with the world’s largest installed base of connected industrial devices, we have an unparalleled ability to fully leverage digital technology, making the power of our collected knowledge count in the physical world.

However, the change to a digital economy is so comprehensive, touching almost all areas of business, that not even ABB can hope to master all aspects alone. The complexity of today’s industrial ecosystem means that collaboration with other, best-in-class companies is essential. That is why we place great store on sharing our expertise with leading industry players. We recently announced a far-reaching partnership with Microsoft to develop next-generation digital solutions on an integrated cloud platform, and work closely with household names, from Hitachi to Ericsson and Volvo Buses. To make sure that we are harnessing the creativity of the next generation of researchers, we established incubators, such as the Synerleap growth hub at our R&D center in Västerås, Sweden, which fosters contacts between ABB researchers and tech start-ups working on innovative technology in the fields of industrial automation, robotics and energy. And our strategic venture capital arm, ABB Technology Ventures, invests in high potential industrial technology and energy companies aligned with ABB’s mission of improving the efficiency, productivity and quality of our customers’ operations while minimizing environmental impact.

On Thursday, the 20th of October, we bring together some of the world’s leading experts in the field for the ABB Technology Forum, a special event where some of the subjects surrounding the energy and fourth industrial revolutions will be debated. During the event, the winner of the first ABB Research Award in Honor of Hubertus von Grünberg will also be unveiled. The prize, named after the company’s former chairman who helped lead ABB to some of its most ground-breaking innovations, is awarded every three years to a pioneering post-doctoral research project.

As we anticipate significant interest amongst the research community, the Forum will be streamed live via our website. More information will be released over the next few days, so follow the hashtag #ABBtechforum.

There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in digital R&D, inventing and refining technology for use in areas such as automation, data analytics and industrial artificial intelligence. I hope you will join us as we seize the opportunity to write the future, together!

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About the author

Bazmi Husain

Mr. Husain was appointed Chief Technology Officer in January 2016, after four years as Managing Director of ABB in India. From 2009 to 2011, he was head of ABB’s Smart Grid industry segment initiative, where he was instrumental in pioneering agreements with partners such as General Motors and Deutsche Telekom, which have helped make ABB a leading name in smart grid solutions. From 2005-2009, he was director of ABB’s Corporate Research Center in Västerås, Sweden. He has held senior management positions in research and development, service, strategy and business operations around the world. Mr. Husain joined ABB in 1981 and is an Indian citizen.
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