Our world is changing. And digitalization is to blame. All the big papers, from the Spiegel, to the Welt and the FAZ, have already dealt with this topic in recent years. The future being drawn there is anything but rosy. There is talk of a "Decomposition of our business world" (WELT, 13.11.2017, "How Internet companies are decomposing our business"), of a "Threat to half of our jobs" (Spiegel Online, 28.04.2019, and of a "Tidal wave" (FAZ, 30.06.2014, "Now the Internet is revolutionizing work") which is washing away our economy.
The world that is drawn there is dark. Mass unemployment, suffering and war are predicted. The rich get richer and richer, the poor get poorer and poorer. But are robots, artificial intelligence and computer-assisted assistance systems really the way to ruin? Or do these technologies not also offer new opportunities, new jobs and new markets?
1The fact is that many companies are increasingly using robots, algorithms and programs to perform recurring tasks. Especially in areas where tasks can be easily automated, employees are replaced and jobs are lost. It is already easy to predict what these will be.
2It is also a fact that machines are becoming increasingly intelligent. Accordingly, the range of applications that the systems can cover is expanding. For this reason, digitization is increasingly spreading to occupational groups outside of production. In medicine, education and administration, too, there are activities that a computer can perform more efficiently than any human being. In particular, the processing and linking of data is being automated. Through the use of artificial intelligence, these systems are becoming increasingly powerful and can already derive recommendations for action from the data.
3Last but not least, it is also a fact that traditional companies in particular are helpless in the face of digital change. This applies to the management as well as to the employees. Traditional structures and solution methods no longer work. Change is needed and adaptation is required. There will be winners and losers. And even if old jobs disappear, new ones will be created. To be able to fill these adequately, retraining and further training is required, preferably today.
4It is therefore also a fact that many companies do not want to lay off their employees at all. They are looking for new solutions and approaches in order to benefit from the new developments for all sides. But in order to remain competitive in the long term, technical adjustments are necessary. Between complete automation and purely manual work, assistance systems offer another solution for designing the workplace of tomorrow.
Assistance systems combine the advantages of computer-aided data processing with the capabilities of a human being. Depending on the area of application, the resulting synergy effects ensure fault-free production, more efficient warehouse logistics or reliable goods dispatch. Expensive returns, loss of material due to manufacturing defects and long training times for employees are eliminated.
The core idea is the efficient interaction of man and machine. A computer is far better and above all faster at filtering out certain information from a huge amount of data. Humans, on the other hand, are far better able to perform complex tasks, recognize correlations and correct errors. Bringing this potential together and using it efficiently is the goal of digital assistance systems.
One of the most modern systems of its kind is the Smart Klaus. The digital colleague supports employees in numerous industries and fields of activity. The core is the interaction of visual recognition and a comprehensive database. All information relevant for the employee is displayed on the screen. Thanks to its flexibility, it is used in incoming goods, identification, assembly, final inspection and outgoing goods.
The neural network that runs in the background of the system is first trained on the warehouse catalogue, the individual work steps or the company's product portfolio. The assistant in use accesses this extensive, constantly optimized database. Thus, components can be recognized and assigned at lightning speed.Werden einzelne Arbeitsschritte der Fertigung abgespeichert, erkennt das System Fehler und meldet diese dem Mitarbeiter, der umgehend korrigieren kann. Auch ein erfolgreich ausgeführter Arbeitsschritt wird angezeigt. Somit ist sichergestellt, dass keine fehlerhaft montierten Produkte das Unternehmen verlassen.
Comprehensive documentation of the individual work steps and the possibility of being able to trace the production process also enables a more efficient process in the outgoing goods department. By using an assistance system, you can ensure that packages are filled correctly and trace when and how they left the company. Complaints, claims and other inquiries from customers can thus be countered with sound arguments.
Digital developments will change the labour market, the economy and society. Probably as comprehensive and lasting as the industrial revolution has been recently. But these changes will not happen overnight and are no reason to panic. Cleverly controlled and managed, digital change will contribute to the prosperity of all.
Assistance systems are an important building block on the way to a new working world. They combine the capabilities of humans and computers. This enables companies to maintain jobs, improve quality and increase turnover. Hardly any robot can keep up with this.