At the time the Process-SME project application was written there was relatively little focus on the importance of digital technologies for process industry businesses. Since then there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of coverage it receives in the media. Even so, is everyone keeping up with the developments?

A recent example emphasises the need for more care when implementing digital technologies. As the meme says: “one does not simply digitalise…”. This case involves a project being performed by the Norwegian National Centre for Research and Education within Cyber and Information Security (CCIS), with a cooperation with various universities, governmental security institutions and private companies. To ease the flow of communication between the project participants an archive was made to store all eposts sent between the participants. Unfortunately, this was not given password protection, so that the email archive was accessible from a simple internet search. Rather ironic given that the topic of the 23 million NOK project was biometry and data security. This underscores the importance of building data security into the digitalisation plan from the start.

With the current interest for digitalisation there are more and more seminars and workshops devoted to the topic. The extent to which these deal with the practicalities and tangible benefits varies, in many instances it appears to be a case of “digitalisation for the sake of digitalisation”, without quantification of the contribution to the business model for the company. A recent seminar included a possible backlash to the hype, with a presentation from a UiT/Narvik researcher entitled “Digitalisation in production – Emperor’s new clothes?”. A combination of media hype, lack of tangible benefit to the business earnings as well as threats posed by data security could weaken the enthusiasm of the industry for implementation of digital technologies. Good, practically oriented case studies are needed to illustrate the potential, and highlight the pitfalls.

Ross Wakelin

Northern Research Institute Narvik A.S. , (47) 99 252 485

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