We all experience it each and every day: our world is in a phase of fundamental change!
It can be helpful to divide this phase into so-called “megatrends” to assist us in describing, understanding, analysing - as well as actively shaping - this transformation. Given the velocity with which this change is occurring, these megatrends do not merely describe some distant scenario that will unfold over our medium- or long-term future. On the contrary, the trends have already found their way into our day-to-day doings and represent far-reaching, global societal issues that will accompany and shape our lives for decades to come.
“Megatrends” is a well-established term that has provided the impetus for numerous research and development projects. For example, the Zukunftsinstitut (the Future Institute), a research organisation founded in 1998 and one of the most influential think tanks in European trend and future research, has identified 12 megatrends it calls "deep currents of change" and that have far-reaching consequences at all levels of society for business and politics, as well as science, technology and culture.
At HARTING, we focus primarily on the megatrends “Sustainability”, “Demographic change” and “(De-) Globalisation”, which are of central importance for our Technology Group.
Together with environmental protection and climate change, sustainability has not only grown into an important economic factor, but has become a global challenge for society, culture and politics. The use of renewable raw materials, recyclability, and resource protection are of central importance for HARTING. In a word, there will be no future worth living without sustainable economic activity!
Changes in society’s age makeup – brought about by an ageing population due to declining birth rates and increasing life expectancy – present a multitude of challenges to nations, the economy and society. In specific terms, for the world of work this translates into a growing shortage of skilled workers and an inexorable rise in the need for them. Consequently, we face the following challenge: how can smart technologies assume tasks that we humans are neither well-suited for, nor interested in? At the same time, demographic change offers great opportunities. An active and individual lifestyle is possible right into old age. How can we support this?
The world economy continues to undergo fundamental shifts. This was made all too clear this past year, which was marked by a global pandemic. Global trade in goods is shrinking, supply chains have been interrupted, and the consequences for export-dependent countries have been serious. A crisis of global proportions has raised awareness of the vulnerability of globalisation. The growth area of technology is becoming increasingly important and it is crucial to keep abreast of developments with regard to digitisation and automation. Regardless of whatever scenario we consider to be likely going forward, what remains important is finding the right balance between local and global value creation for the respective company and the respective industry – especially against the background of the demands that sustainable economic activity entails!
Technological megatrends can be deduced from these social megatrends and their associated challenges. Here, we primarily see “Modularisation”, “Autonomy” and “Digital Twin”. The connectivity of the future is THE element that ties things together, and is the fundamental "enabler" of these technological megatrends. As such, it is becoming a technological megatrend in and of itself. At HARTING, we’re shaping this connectivity of the future and refer to it as “CONNECTIVITY+”.
For HARTING, the main topics with respect to application are electromobility, DC power supply in the industrial sector, and new, pioneering ecosystems in the field of industrial communication, e.g. Single Pair Ethernet (SPE).
"At HARTING, we’re shaping this connectivity of the future and refer to it as CONNECTIVITY +."
As part of the DC INDUSTRY research project, HARTING has teamed with 40 industrial partners to focus on developing a future direct-current infrastructure. Together, we’ve set ourselves the goal of revolutionising industrial power supply and are looking to take it to a new level. By developing the appropriate connectivity, we will enable users to save energy and thus directly save on energy costs. This is what socially responsible action and a concrete contribution to climate protection and sustainability look like.
The work of the SPE Industrial Partner Network, to which we belong, focuses on an end-to-end SPE ecosystem – from the sensor to the Cloud. Our mutual goal for the future is to provide a high-performance infrastructure for digitisation in the industrial sector.
Looking at the value chain of the energy infrastructure, there are two points of contact at HARTING. On the one hand, we are pioneers when it comes to reliable, clean and environmentally-friendly electromobility. Our area of activity is rounded out by customised solutions and components for all relevant sales areas, as well as the development and manufacture of charging infrastructure solutions for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. On the other hand, we are also targeting the current requirements for the optimal mobile - as well as stationary - deployment of decentralised energy storage.
Looking at the field of rail technology, we can already fall back on years of expertise in this market. Strictly speaking, our HARTING connectors are already ‘living’ electromobility in this segment. This commercial area will also gain momentum going forward - we’re using new technologies to create optimal data communication while working overtime to make high currents and voltages plug & play-ready while boasting minimal weight.