THHINK BV provides high technology consultancy services and expertise to the aerospace, automotive, marine, rail and nuclear industries. We perform leading edge research and development for many leading companies and government creating innovative solutions.

Find out more about our expertise and how we can help your organisation.



"Innovative solutions and technology expertise for the Aerospace, Automotive, Marine, Rail and Nuclear industries."




COMPANY

THHINK BV is a high technology, Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) that performs research and development and provides consultancy in ICT technologies for the aerospace, automotive, marine, rail transport, energy and health sectors.

Professional Services & Capabilities

  • Technology Assessment and definition of Strategic Roadmaps
  • Analysis of business opportunities
  • Research & development
  • Technology analysis and project review
  • Professional Project and Programme Management
  • Architecture design
  • Proof of concepts
  • Hardware & software for advanced monitoring and control systems

Areas of Expertise

  • Fault tolerant systems
  • Distributed systems
  • Autonomous and Unmanned systems
  • Health Monitoring systems - on-condition and predictive
  • Databus technologies (copper-wired, glass and plastic fibre optic)
  • Wireless Monitoring and Ccontrol Systems
  • Energy Harvesting generators: Vibration, Thermal, Solar, RF energy
  • Mobile and radio communications ( GSM, 3G 4G-LTE, UMTS, HSDPA, VHF and UHF )
  • Satellite data communications and Telemetry
  • Satellite-based global location tracking of assets
  • Underwater / Subsea communications
  • Multi-core processor and signal processing technologies
  • FPGA technologies
  • Integrated circuit reliability
  • Advanced sensor technologies and MEMS
  • Nanotechnologies
  • Modelling and co-simulation
  • Control system design
  • Multi-objective optimisation
  • Cost modelling of Life Cycle Costs
  • Product Family definition
  • Certification - Aerospace, Marine, Nuclear
  • Systems of Systems
  • Mixed Criticality Systems
  • Automated and adaptive manufacturing
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • More Electric Aircraft Technologies
  • Staged combustion systems
  • Active Aero Flow Control
  • Radar systems












THHINK BV engineers have worked on a number of key programmes including:

AEROSPACE | Tornado, Eurofighter, JAS-39, SAAB 2000, Apache Helicopter, Control Technology Programme, HiPECS, Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter, Airbus A380, More Electric Aircraft, BROADEN, DAME, Active Flow Control, Boeing 777, Boeing Dreamliner and ASTRAE

MARINE | Ship automation systems, marine gas turbine engines, waterjet technologies, azimuth thrusters and the design of reactor control systems for nuclear submarines. Autonomous unmanned systems, long-endurance operations and persistent-presence maritime surveillance. Satellite and underwater communications and remote monitoring for metocean, environmental, maritime surveillance and offshore oil & gas applications

ENERGY | Industrial gas turbine engines, wind turbines, solar technologies and nuclear power stations

AUTOMOTIVE | Ford, Jaguar and Formula-1 racing technologies

RAIL | Network Rail infrastructure monitoring and introduction of wind and solar energy harvesting technologies for powering stations

SPACE | Columbus Programme


EXECUTIVE TEAM

Haydn Thompson    BSc, PhD, CEng, FIET, MIEEE, MRAeS, MAIAA

Professor Haydn Thompson, BSc, PhD. CEng has over 35 years' experience working in a mixture of senior industrial research and development roles in flight control systems, space programmes and radar signal processing applications for leading companies. From 1993- Feb. 2013 he was the Programme Manager of the Rolls-Royce Control and Systems University Technology Centre. He is Managing Director and founder of the THHINK Group of companies. This includes THHINK BV in the Netherlands which concentrates on research & development and consulting in ICT technologies, as well as THHINK Wireless Technologies Ltd (UK) and THHINK Wireless Technologies Ltd (Japan). THHINK in the UK performs applications engineering "THHINK and Do" and THHINK Japan is developing future technologies "THHINK Ahead", specifically energy harvesting technologies for ultra-low power embedded wireless sensors. He is recognised and used by the European Commission as an expert in many fields and is a consultant to a range of companies and government bodies. He defines Strategic Technology Roadmaps across Europe and for companies such as Rolls-Royce.

He has over 100 publications in the field of CPS and IoT applications, including on distributed systems, multi-disciplinary multi-objective optimisation, gas turbine engine control, fault diagnosis and health monitoring, wireless communications, energy harvesting, rapid prototyping and co-simulation. He has also written two books on gas turbine engine control. He is, or has been, a member of the International Federation of Automatic Controls (IFAC) International Aerospace Control, Mechatronics and Real-Time Computing and Control Committees being chair of Embedded Systems, the Institution of Electronic and Electrical Engineers Aerospace Committee, and IET representative on the Learned Society Board of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

In addition to running many research programmes with Rolls-Royce working on key programmes, Professor Thompson was the co-ordinator for the European Union funded IST FLEXICON project, led work on the More Electric Aircraft in the Airbus/EU MOET project and led two consortia of 4 Universities in the WICAS and SWIFT projects with Airbus. He has also run successful research programmes with rail companies developing self-powered wireless sensor technologies for infrastructure monitoring. Recent EU projects include CPSoS (Cyber Physical Systems of Systems) where he chaired an Expert Group of Transport and Logistics covering Aerospace, Automotive, Rail, Maritime and Logistics, Road4FAME defining a Roadmap for Manufacturing Research within Europe and PICASSO which promoted Joint EU-US Collaborative Research.

Max Ong     BEng.Hons, PhD, MIET, MIEEE, MAICD, PRINCE2

Dr Max Ong received a BEng.Hons in Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield and a PhD in Automatic Control & Systems Engineering. During this time, he was awarded the Sir Harold West Award and Mappin Award by the University. Max is Technical Director and co-founder of THHINK and has a wealth of experience in a number of domains. Previously Max was joint team for SEAS-DTC Defence and Rolls-Royce UTC CSE who designed and simulated adaptive control systems for an advanced hybrid fuel-electric Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV). Additionally, Max conducted extensive R&D on the £4.6M DTi / TSB BROADEN project and the £3.2M e-Science DAME project to develop knowledge-based diagnostic and prognostic monitoring systems that leveraged innovative Grid Computing. The work enabled Rolls-Royce to deliver advanced Equipment Health Monitoring (EHM) in the Aero and Marine business sectors by applying optimal pro-active maintenance strategies within a revolutionary TotalCare programme for Rolls-Royce. Following this, he took on the role of Systems Architect within Rolls-Royce's EPACS aero engineering group.

Dr Max Ong was Chief Technology Officer of FASTWAVE Communications specialising in Autonomous Unmanned Systems, satellite telemetry and underwater sensing/communications for remote monitoring applications across metocean, environmental, maritime surveillance and offshore Oil & Gas industries. As CTO and drone pilot at Fastwave, Max headed the autonomous robotics and unmanned sensors division including operation of KONGSBERG Maritime's 'Seaglider' AUV and eletronic data systems integration across LIQUID ROBOTICS 'Wave Glider' marine robotic vehicles capable of long-endurance missions and persistent-presence maritime surveillance.

Max is a certified PRINCE2 Project Management Professional and member of the IEEE and IET engineering institutions, AAUS Unmanned Systems and Australian Defence RPDE. He is highly experienced in the design and integration of bespoke hardware and software systems for Autonomous and Unmanned vehicles, wireless communications, control systems, distributed systems and strategic decision support.

Daniela Ramos-Hernandez      BEng, PhD, CEng, MIET, MIEEE

Dr Daniela Ramos-Hernandez, CEng, has 25 years' experience in a variety of research and development projects. Originally an IBM trained computing engineer working for major banks she decided to pursue a career in research and development gaining a PhD in 1999 in heterogeneous parallel processing. Following this she worked on industrial research projects in ICT with BICC in process control integration for manufacturing and was Technical Coordinator of the EU funded FLEXICON project managing 5 partners across Europe. In this project control and wireless monitoring systems were developed with Rolls-Royce Marine for future fast ships.

She later joined the Strategic Research Centre of Rolls-Royce Aerospace working within the Information Engineering Team as a Staff Technologist investigating and implementing new Intelligent Techniques for Engine Health Monitoring. During this time she worked on the DTi funded projects such as BROADEN and HECToR and was the Programme Manager for Engine Health Monitoring of Unmanned Air Vehicles on the ASTRAEA DTi project, as well as the Programme Manager of a Safety and Reliability project. Following this she became a Systems Engineer at Aero Engine Controls Ltd. a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Goodrich Aerospace. Daniela has a wealth of experience in condition monitoring and digital signal processing and is a consultant to the European Union in the areas of ICT and Smart Grid.

Nick Askew      BSc Hons

Nick Askew has more than 30 years' experience in software engineering with a wide and varied background in IT and implementation of GIS systems for major companies providing development, architectural design, and project leadership. Initially a software engineer working for companies such as Sension Ltd, VG Elemental, and GEC Measurements, Nick went on to develop systems for Ford in Cologne and KLM Cargo at Schiphol. He then joined Intergraph, Hoofddorp, working on a variety of projects including reservoir simulation, colour management systems, geo-spatial systems, dispersion modelling systems, order management systems, and office process automation systems. On leaving Integraph Nick was responsible for developing web based geographical information systems (GIS) for a number of major projects for local government authorities and other large organisations where security and speed are essential. This included integrating GIS into the Squit XO product which is used by half of the Dutch local authorities for providing services to local residents and businesses. He also developed WMS and WFS services for the Dutch land registry Kadaster which deal with vast amounts of data. Nick then went on to develop Web based map applications based on GeoMedia WebMap for Gemeente Den Haag and also Amsterdam City. Additionally, he developed a system for the Dutch Police force for tracking the location of vehicles and incidents in a dynamic map. This latter system covers the entire Netherlands (26 police force regions) providing very fast response times with very high availability.

Nick's expertise in implementing systems led him to work on the European Union project with Veiligheidsregio Haaglanden, the city of the Hague, and various large sensor manufacturers to develop a web based application that gathers information from conventional and wireless sensors which is then displayed on an interactive map. Since then Nick has worked as a consultant to many household and international names such as Tommy Hilfiger/Calvin Klein, Manpower, Coolblue, Audionova International, Shell, PVH, AkzoNobel, ING Bank, Publitec (Gouden Gids) and ICL. He has also worked with some of the biggest names in the Dutch GIS market (Intergraph, Vicrea, Roxit) developing applications for some of the largest GIS users. Nick also created Hotspotter which he owns in conjunction with Gemeente Hilversum. This development tool allows the quick generation of interactive maps directly from the desktop that are compatible with all standard web browsers.



NEWS

MACH2024 2024



Currently, the MASTT2040 project partners are interviewing companies about their experiences of Manufacturing as a Service to identify enablers and barriers to implementation. As part of this Haydn Thompson attended the MACH2024 Event. MACH2020 is the major biannual manufacturing event in the UK. Over 500 companies attend and there are around 16,000 visitors. Around 30 companies were interviewed with a range of Manufacturing as a Service models, including Equipment as a Service, Marketplaces and Additive Manufacturing as well as finance companies, connectivity specialists and manufacturing research organisations. This has led to some interesting challenges being identified.


Chips JU Launch 2023



THHINK are very pleased that as part of the Chips Act the Chips Joint Undertaking (Chips JU) was formally launched at the “Chips for Europe” Chips JU Event held in Brussels on 30 November- 01 December 2023. The event gathered more than 800 participants (both in person and online) to mark the official inauguration of the Chips Joint Undertaking. The aim of the Chips JU is to reinforce the European semiconductor ecosystem and Europe's technological leadership bridging the gap between research, innovation and production. The Chips JU will deploy pilot lines with €1.67 billion of EU funding which is expected to be matched by funds from Member States to reach €3.3 billion, as well as additional private funds.

The Chips JU will:
  • Set up pre-commercial, innovative pilot lines, providing industry state-of-the-art facilities to test, experiment and validate semiconductor technologies and system design concepts; “Equipment-as-service” and “production-as-a-service” allowing companies to manufacture their products without investing in massive infrastructure),
  • Deploy a cloud-based Design Platform for design companies across the EU;
  • Support the development of advanced technology and engineering capacities for quantum chips;
  • Establish a network of competence centres and promote skills development.

EFECS 2019



Haydn Thompson attended a number of meetings at the European Forum for Electronic Components and Systems (EFECS) which was held on the 19-21 November 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. EFECS is the international forum with a focus on “Our Digital Future” along the Electronic Components and Systems value chain in Europe. The event was organised by AENEAS, ARTEMIS-IA, EPoSS, ECSEL Joint Undertaking and the European Commission, in association with EUREKA, who have joined forces to bring all stakeholders together. EFECS brings together key stakeholders to learn more about the latest developments, co-operation and funding possibilities in the ECS Community.

Digitising European Industry Stakeholder Forum 2019



Haydn Thompson attended the Digitising European Industry Stakeholder Forum which took place in Madrid from the 13th to the 15th of November 2019. The Stakeholder Forum is a public event organised on a yearly basis by the European Commission and one Member State within the context of the Digitising European Industry initiative (DEI). In coordination with the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism this year's event focused on “Artificial Intelligence and Digital Innovation Hubs - beyond 2020". The event provided an opportunity for different actors involved in the digital value chain to share experiences, exchange best practices and discuss the future of EU digital industrial policy. Among them were representatives from Member States and regions, national initiatives for digitalisation, industry, SMEs, academia, Digital Innovation Hubs and research and technology centres.

ICT Proposers’ Day



Haydn Thompson was invited by the European Commission to speak on AI in Manufacturing at the ICT Proposers’ Day which was held in Helsinki, Finland. The event focused on the upcoming calls of the Horizon 2020 work programme in the field of Information & Communication Technologies, Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), and Societal Challenges. The event offered an exceptional opportunity to build quality partnerships with academics, researchers, industrial stakeholders, SMEs and government actors from all over Europe.

7th DIH Working Group



The seventh meeting of the Working Group on Digital Innovation Hubs held in Brussels on the 1st July 2019. Haydn Thompson was invited to give a “provocative” presentation on the needs of SMEs and how the DIH programme needs to change to meet these. The event was dedicated to discussing elements of the implementation of Digital Europe (DEP) with regard to Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs), seeking feedback from stakeholders on these and exploring the challenges and possible solutions for building a strong pan-European DIH network, in particular by connecting them to regional and national policies.

European Industry Partnerships Collaborative Event



Haydn Thompson was invited to speak at the European Industry Partnerships Collaborative Event which was held on the 17 April 2019 at the Steigenberger Airport Hotel in Amsterdam. The aim of the event was to develop and enlarge the European IoT ecosystem through collaboration and coordination among various European Partnerships. This requires the development of strong links between communities of IoT users and providers, to discuss, align and plan research and innovation agendas for development and deployment of IoT technologies and applications across various industrial sectors as part of the next Framework Programme for research and Innovation.



The event brought together representatives of a large number of key initiatives across Europe as well as the European Commission.

ARTEMIS Technology Conference 2019



Haydn Thompson attended the 2nd ARTEMIS Technology Conference on the 16th April 2019 in Amsterdam. The ARTEMIS Industry Association represents leading European Companies and Haydn Thompson was very honoured to give the Keynote at the 1st ARTEMIS Technology Conference. Above Haydn is seen with Martin Torngren from KTH who gave the Keynote at this year’s event. THHINK is proud to now be a partner in the KTH led TECoSA programme. This year’s event addressed the challenges that will need to be solved in coming years to unlock the full potential of digital transformation in areas such as embedded intelligent systems and smart cars.

ICT 2018 Vienna



ICT 2018 took place in Vienna on 4-6 December 2018. THHINK was represented on 2 stands at the event. This research and innovation event attracted 4800 visitors and focused on the European Union’s priorities in the digital transformation of society and industry. It presented an opportunity for the people involved in this transformation to share their experience and vision of Europe in the digital age. The conference programme featured influential speakers and debates around the EU’s digital policy.

Final Consultation Event – CPS Innovations for the Future



The Platforms4CPS Final Consultation Event was held at THALES TRT, Palaiseau, near Paris on 12th September 2018. This major event presented the work that had been performed in the Platforms4CPS project and also the recommendations that have been put forward for research, innovation, societal and legal issues and business that will shape the development of CPS in the years to come. Invited speakers from the CPS community and from the associated CPS cluster also gave presentations on key topics of relevance such as AI and IoT. Examples of CPS technology integration were also presented.

Stakeholder Forum 2018



The European Commission asked Haydn Thompson to be the Rapporteur for the Stakeholder Forum held on 27th-28th March 2018 in Paris, France. This event supported by the European Commission with the patronage of Emmanuel Macron brought together high-level representatives from National and European initiatives as well as business leaders from around Europe with the aim of understanding best practice and approaches to Digitising European Industry.

The event highlighted the benefits of improved collaboration and engagement with stakeholders across the digital value chain. Participants shared experience and considered how progress towards digitisation could be accelerated. There was a focus on take-up and diffusion of digital innovations to businesses and industry leaders discussed ideas and best practices on how to make companies, notably SMEs, aware of the importance and potential of digital technology. This considered the organisational, technological and financial factors that are needed to support SMEs and large companies in their digital transformation projects, as well as aspects related to the integration of the value chain and its effects on competitiveness.

Haydn Thompson was invited to sum up the event in the closing session and produced a report on the event.

HiPEAC



Haydn Thompson presented on Market Opportunities for CPS in Transportation at a workshop on CPS Success Stories Workshop" organized in Manchester during the HiPEAC 2018 event. The HiPEAC conference is the premier European forum for experts in computer architecture, programming models, compilers and operating systems for embedded and general-purpose systems.

EFECS



Haydn Thompson of THHINK attended the European Forum for Electronic Components and Systems (EFECS) in Brussels in December 2017. This is an international forum with a focus on 'Our Digital Future' along the Electronic Components and Systems value chain in Europe. The organisers of this event, AENEAS, ARTEMIS-IA, EPoSS, ECSEL Joint Undertaking and the European Commission joined forces to bring all stakeholders together. The event featured strategic sessions around the ECS-SRA (Strategic Research Agenda for Electronic Components and Systems) which THHINK contributed to.

There was also a large exhibition of R&I results and new project ideas. THHINK was represented at both the Smart4Europe and Platforms4CPS stands. Also during the event THHINK collected input via a questionnaire on new technologies for the Smart4Europe Technology Radar. The event was particularly useful in bringing together participants from a number of different project clusters allowing many interesting interactions and discussions on new technologies.

Also during the event Haydn Thompson had a meeting with the European Investment Bank as part of work on mapping funding sources across Europe.

Digital Innovation Forum - DIF Event



THHINK attended the DIF Event held at RAI Amsterdam on 10th and 11th May. This international event is the industry-driven Digital innovation conference in Europe, showing R&I results and emerging challenges towards a vision of the future for and built by industry.

The event was co-organised by the ARTEMIS Industry Association and the EUREKA Cluster ITEA. During the event Haydn Thompson and Nick Askew participated in the PLATFORMS4CPS Market Landscape Workshop identifying future market segments for new technologies.








EVENTS 2024



We are active in many on-line and physical events.

UPCOMING EVENTS

World Manufacturing Forum, Milano, Italy.
14-15th November 2024
https://worldmanufacturing.org/activities/world-manufacturing-forum-2024

9th European Congress on 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing 2024 Conference, London, UK
7-8th October 2024
https://3dprintingconferences.com/

Digital Transformation Week Europe, RAI, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1st-2nd October 2024
https://www.digitaltransformation-week.com/

Hanover Messe, Hanover, Germany
22-26th April 2024
https://www.hannovermesse.de/en/hannover-messe-2024/

9th Annual Smart Manufacturing Summit, Berlin, Germany
18-19th April 2024
https://www.luxatiainternational.com/product/9th-annual-smart-manufacturing-summit

MACH2024,Birmingham,UK
15-19th April 2024
https://www.machexhibition.com/

Intertraffic, Amsterdam, Netherlands
16-19th April 2024
https://www.intertraffic.com/







Tech Brief: Cyber Resilience Act

THHINK BV MASTT2040

The European Cyber Resilience Act is a legal framework that describes the cybersecurity requirements for hardware and software products with digital elements that are put on the market in the European Union. The Act has been introduced due to an increase in successful cyberattacks on hardware and software products. In 2021 it was estimated that the global annual cost of cybercrime was around €5.5 trillion. With the uptake of the act manufacturers are obliged to take security seriously throughout a product’s life cycle.

Society and the economy are ever more reliant on digital solutions and so there is a need to protect against hacking of connected products and associated services. Experience shows that a cybersecurity incident in one product can affect an entire organisation or a whole supply chain. This can lead to severe disruption of economic and social activities and can even threaten the life of citizens. A problem is that vendors (hardware manufacturers, software developers, distributors and importers) often do not seriously consider cybersecurity, wanting to be first to market with a low-cost product. Adding cybersecurity requires qualified security engineers which has an impact on both product cost and in some cases performance, e.g. battery life. The response by companies to new vulnerabilities through a products’ lifecycle is also often inadequate making it difficult for consumers to assess the security of the products and services they are using.

Current digital products are covered by several pieces of legislation, including EU legislation on specific products covering safety-related aspects and general legislation on product liability. However, this current legislation only covers some aspects related to cybersecurity of tangible digital products and associated embedded software. The General Product Safety Directive and the Machinery Directive do not prescribe specific cybersecurity requirements. In particular, the whole life cycle of a product or ancillary services and the need for regular software updates is not covered. The current legislation does not cover hardware that does not fall under the Radio Equipment Directive or the Medical Devices Regulation. As a result, the majority of hardware and software products are currently not covered by any cybersecurity legislation. In particular, the cybersecurity of non-embedded software is not covered by current legislation, which is a concern as it has become a main vector for cybersecurity attacks, causing significant societal and economic costs. Digital hardware and software products are a main avenue for successful cyberattacks and in a connected environment, a cybersecurity attack in one product can affect an entire organisation or a whole supply chain, often propagating across the borders of the internal market within a matter of minutes.

Examples of this are:
  • The Pegasus spyware, which exploited vulnerabilities in mobile phones
  • The WannaCry ransomware, which exploited a Windows vulnerability that affected computers across 150 countries
  • The Kaseya VSA supply chain attack, which used network administration software to attack over 1000 companies
It was clear that although existing European legislation addressed certain aspects linked to cybersecurity from different angles, including measures to improve the security of the digital supply chain there was a need to set out mandatory requirements for the security of products with digital elements. At the European level, various programmatic and political documents, such as the EU’s Cybersecurity Strategy for the Digital Decade, the Council Conclusions of 2 December 2020 and of 23 May 2022 or the Resolution of the European Parliament of 10 June 2021, called for specific Union cybersecurity requirements for digital or connected products. This led to the creation of the Cyber Resilience Act.

The Cyber Resilience Act supersedes various acts and initiatives taken at Union and national levels which partially address identified cybersecurity related problems and risks. The aim is to provide increased legal certainty for both manufacturers and product users and avoid the unnecessary burden on companies to comply with a number of requirements in different countries for similar products. Products manufactured in one country are often used by organisations and consumers across the entire internal market. There are two major problems for users and the society:
  • A low level of cybersecurity, reflected by widespread vulnerabilities and the insufficient and inconsistent provision of security updates to address them, and
  • An insufficient understanding and access to information by users, preventing them from choosing products with adequate cybersecurity properties or using them in a secure manner.
This is further complicated by the fact that products with digital elements integrated in or connected to a larger electronic information system can serve as an attack site for malicious actors. As a result, even less critical hardware and software can be used to compromise a device or network, enabling malicious actors to gain privileged access to a system. The Cyber Resilience Act sets out two main objectives aimed to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market:
  • Create conditions for the development of secure products with digital elements by ensuring that hardware and software products are placed on the market with fewer vulnerabilities and ensure that manufacturers take security seriously throughout a product’s life cycle; and
  • Create conditions allowing users to take cybersecurity into account when selecting and using products with digital elements.

Four specific objectives are set out:
  • Ensure that manufacturers improve the security of products with digital elements since the design and development phase and throughout the whole life cycle
  • Ensure a coherent cybersecurity framework, facilitating compliance for hardware and software producers
  • Enhance the transparency of security properties of products with digital elements, and
  • Enable businesses and consumers to use products with digital elements securely.

Status

Political agreement between the European Parliament and Council on the Cyber Resilience Act was reached on 1st December 2023 and on 12 March 2024 the European Parliament approved the Cyber Resilience Act with 517 votes in favour, 12 against and 78 abstentions. See "European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2024 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on horizontal cybersecurity requirements for products with digital elements and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 (COM(2022)0454 – C9-0308/2022 – 2022/0272(COD))". (Download Here) In the next step it must be formally adopted by the Council.

Upon entry into force, manufacturers, importers and distributors of hardware and software products will have 36 months to adapt to the new requirements. A more limited 21-month grace period will be put in place for reporting obligations of incidents and vulnerabilities. The Council’s common position is that there is a need for:
  • Rules to rebalance responsibility for compliance towards manufacturers, who must ensure conformity with security requirements of products with digital elements that are made available on the EU market, including obligations like cybersecurity risk assessment, declaration of conformity, and cooperation with competent authorities.
  • Essential requirements for the vulnerability handling processes for manufacturers to ensure the cybersecurity of digital products, and obligations for economic operators, such as importers or distributors, in relation to these processes.
  • Measures to improve transparency on security of hardware and software products for consumers and business users, and a market surveillance framework to enforce these rules.

Examples of products with digital elements that come under the CRA
  • End Devices - Laptops, smartphones, sensors and cameras, smart robots, smart cards, smart meters, mobile devices, smart speakers, routers, switches, industrial control systems.
  • Software - Firmware, operating systems, mobile apps, desktop applications, video games.
  • Components (hardware and software) - Computer processing units, video cards, software libraries.

Thus, both products that can be connected physically via hardware interfaces and products that are connected logically, such as via network sockets, pipes, files, application programming interfaces or any other types of software interface are covered by the act. As cybersecurity threats can propagate through various products with digital elements before reaching a certain target, for example by chaining together multiple vulnerability exploits, manufacturers should also ensure the cybersecurity of those products that are only indirectly connected to other devices or networks.



The CRA will thus have an impact on the entire software industry and addresses a broad range of products. There will be a big learning curve as companies transition to become compliant with the new legislation. A key aspect will be in proving conformity which requires assessment. In the majority of cases this can be done via self-assessment, however, Class I products will require adoption of a standard (which is currently being developed by CEN/CENELEC and ETSI) or via third party assessment and Class II products will require third party assessment.

Tech Brief: AI Act

THHINK BV MASTT2040

The new EU AI Act introduces a risk-based classification scheme for AI applications considering the level of risk posed by the AI application to individuals or society as a whole. The classification ranges from minimal risk to applications which are banned entirely. The term AI covers a wide variety of data analysis techniques which are already being exploited by companies and includes things like deep learning and machine learning.

The OECD definition of an Artificial Intelligence system’ (AI system) is “a machine-based system that is designed to operate with varying levels of autonomy and that can, for explicit or implicit objectives, generate outputs such as predictions, recommendations, or decisions that influence physical or virtual environments”.

The Act applies to organisations within Europe but also to organisations outside of Europe. There are, however, a number of exemptions with respect to the use of AI for national security, military and defence. There are also exemptions in the use of AI for research.

Different types of AI are defined according to risk:
  • Prohibited AI - In some cases the risk of harm from using AI, such as in social scoring systems or manipulative systems is considered unacceptable and thus its use is banned.
  • High-Risk AI - A number of high-risk applications are identified which could adversely affect citizens’ lives, e.g. evaluating creditworthiness, educational opportunities, and critical infrastructure applications. In these cases strict assessment regimes will need to be followed.
  • Limited Risk AI - Applications with a limited risk, e.g. image processing, recommender systems and chatbots, will need to follow best practices with respect to data quality and fairness.
  • Minimal Risk AI - “minimal risk applications” are also defined to cover things like applications of AI such as spam filtering and video games. In these cases there is no need for regulation.
The most requirements are placed on providers and users of High-Risk AI. The Act also provides requirements for transparency and disclosure for generative AI.

Prohibited AI

The use of AI is prohibited in a number of areas:
  • Social credit scoring systems
  • Emotion recognition systems at work and in education
  • AI used to exploit peoples’ vulnerabilities, e.g. age, disability
  • Behavioural manipulation and circumvention of free will
  • Untargeted scraping of facial images for facial recognition
  • Biometric categorisation systems using sensitive characteristics
  • Specific predictive policing applications
  • Law enforcement use of real-time biometric identification in public apart from limited, pre-authorised situations
High Risk AI
  • Medical devices
  • Vehicles
  • Recruitment, HR and worker management
  • Education and vocational training
  • Influencing elections and voters
  • Access to services (e.g. insurance, banking, credit, benefits, etc.)
  • Critical infrastructure management (e.g. water, gas, electricity, etc.)
  • Emotion recognition systems
  • Biometric identification
  • Law enforcement, border control, mitigation and asylum
  • Administration of justice
  • Specific products and/or safety components of specific products.

Compliance Requirements for High-Risk AI

Key to the act will be that companies must demonstrate that the design, implementation and post-market entry phases are compliant with a range of activities. These include:
  • Risk Management System
  • Data and Data Governance
  • Technical Documentation
  • Record Keeping
  • Transparency and provision of information to user
  • Human Oversight
  • Accuracy, Robustness and Cybersecurity
  • Quality Management System
  • Fundamental Rights Impact Assessment
High Risk AI Systems will have to undergo a Conformity Assessment (Article 19) producing the appropriate documentation to demonstrate adherence to the AI Act before going to market in the EU.
  • Fundamental rights impact assessment and conformity assessment
  • Registration in public EU database for high-risk AI systems
  • Implementation risk management and quality management system
  • Data governance (e.g. bias mitigation, representative training data etc.)
  • Transparency (e.g. instructions for Use, technical documentation, etc.
  • Human oversight (e.g. explainability, auditable logs, human-in-the-loop, etc.)
  • Accuracy, robustness and cyber security (e.g. testing and monitoring)
Companies will need to comply with the Act but will be given a compliance grace period of between 6-24 months. General Purpose AI The Act also provide specific requirements for General Purpose AI (GPAI) and Foundational Models:
  • Transparency for all GPAI (e.g. technical documentation, training data summaries, copyright and IP safeguards, etc.)
  • Additional requirements of high-impact models with systemic risk: model evaluations, risk assessments, adversarial testing, incident reporting, etc.
  • Generative AI individuals must be informed when interacting with AI (e.g. chatbots), AI content must be labelled and detectable (e.g. deepfakes).
Limited risk systems will also need to follow these requirements, but with less compliance scrutiny than High-Risk AI applications considering conformity assessments and product safety reviews.

Penalties and Enforcement

The fines for violations of the AI Act have been set as a percentage of the offending company’s global annual turnover in the previous financial year or a predetermined amount, whichever is higher. It should be noted, however, that the provisional agreement provides for more proportionate caps on administrative fines for SMEs and start-ups in case of infringements.
  • Up to 7% of global annual turnover or €35m for prohibited AI violations
  • Up to 3% of global annual turnover or €15m for most other violations
  • Up to 1.5% of global annual turnover or €7.5m for supplying incorrect information
  • Caps on fines for SMEs and startups
Compliance will be enforced by a European “AI Office” and “AI Board” established centrally at the EU level. Market surveillance authorities will be set up in EU countries to enforce the AI Act. Any individual will be able to make complaints about non-compliance.

Tech Brief: Data Governance Act

THHINK BV MASTT2040

The Data Governance Act (Data Governance Act) aims to provide a framework to enhance trust in voluntary data sharing for the benefit of businesses and citizens. This will make it easier to share data in a trusted and secure way. The goal is to enable data sharing to create new products and services, make production more efficient, and provide tools to address societal challenges such as healthcare.

Already the Open Data Directive (Open Data Directive) regulates the re-use of publicly/available information held by the public sector. However, the public sector also holds vast amounts of protected data (e.g. personal data and commercially confidential data) that cannot be re-used as open data but could be re-used under specific EU or national legislation. A wealth of knowledge can be extracted from this data and the aim of the Data Governance Act is thus to provide rules and safeguards to facilitate such re-use whenever it is possible under other legislation.

There are, however, a number of obstacles to data sharing, a key one being a lack of trust. The act regulates the re-use of publicly/held, protected data, by boosting data sharing through the regulation of novel data intermediaries and by encouraging the sharing of data for altruistic purposes. The act covers both personal and non-personal data. Within this personal data is covered under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Data Governance Act provides similar safeguards for access requests from third countries in the context of non-personal data. These safeguards apply to public sector data, data intermediation services and data altruism constellations. A re-user from a third country will need to ensure the same level of protection as the EU level of protection as well as accept the respective EU jurisdiction. Model contract clauses will be available for public sector bodies and re-users for scenarios where public sector data is transferred to third countries. The Commission may also adopt additional adequacy decisions for the transfer of public protected data for re-use if an access request for non-personal data comes from a third country.

Under the act Member States will need to be technically equipped to ensure that the privacy and confidentiality of data is fully respected in re-use situations. This can be provided by a range of tools, such as anonymisation, pseudonymisation or accessing data in secure processing environments (e.g. data rooms) supervised by the public sector, and contractual means such as confidentiality agreements between the public sector body and the re-user.

The DGA limits the use of exclusive data re-use agreements to single companies to maximise the reuse of data for public interest. It also limits the charging of fees to data to “reasonable fees” which are aimed to cover the costs incurred in sharing. Public sector bodies will be encouraged to incentivise the re-use of data (with reduced fees or free access) for scientific research and other non-commercial purposes as well as to provide the data to SMEs and start-ups. To make the process quicker a public sector body will need to make a decision on sharing the data within 2 months. If a public sector body is unable to grant access to certain data for re-use, it should assist the potential re-user in seeking the individual’s or data holder’s consent to re-use their data. Confidential information (e.g. trade secrets) can be disclosed for re-use only with permission.

Competent bodies will be chosen by Member States to support public sector bodies to grant access to data by providing a secure processing environment and by advising on how to best structure and store data for easy access. Potential re-users also need to know what data is available and so Member States will also set up a single information point. The Commission has created a European Register for Protected Data (ERPD) to provide a searchable register of the information compiled by national single information:(European Register for Protected Data (ERPD))

Data Intermediation Services

The fear of many companies is that they will lose competitive advantage by sharing data, and even worse there is a risk of misuse if the data. The DGA defines a set of rules for providers of data intermediation services (data intermediaries and data marketplaces) to ensure that they will function as trustworthy organisers of data sharing or pooling within the common European data spaces. A model based on the neutrality and transparency of data intermediaries is used to engender trust. Key to the act is that individuals and companies maintain control of their data. In practice, data intermediaries will act as neutral third parties that connect individuals and companies with data users.

Intermediaries can charge for facilitating data sharing between the parties, however, they will not be allowed to directly use the data for financial profit either by developing their own product or by selling the data to another company. They will need to comply with strict requirements to ensure neutrality and avoid conflicts of interest via strict separation legally of the data intermediation service and other services they provide.

Data intermediaries will be required to notify the competent authority of their intention to provide such services. The competent authority will ensure that the notification procedure is non-discriminatory and does not distort competition and will confirm that the data intermediation services provider has submitted the notification containing all required information. This will result in the label ‘data intermediation services provider recognised in the Union’ being given to the company and its registration in a central register of recognised data intermediaries.

An example of this is Deutsche Telekom which provides a Data Intelligence Hub marketplace which allows companies to securely manage, provide and monetize things like production data, in order to optimise processes or value chains. Telekom takes the role of a neutral trustee and guarantees data sovereignty through decentralised data management. Currently more than 1,000 users from over 100 different companies are active on the platform.

Data Altruism

Individuals and companies are being encouraged to adopt data altruism by making their data voluntarily available with consent or permission to be used in the public interest. The aim is to use this free data to advance research and develop better products and services, in a variety of areas such as health, environment and mobility. Data altruism requires trusted data sharing tools and the Data Governance Act aims to enable these based on EU values and principles. The intention is to create pools of data which can be used for data analytics and machine learning. A common logo will be used to badge companies that are recognised as data altruism organisations and these will be listed in an EU-level public register. These will need to be not-for-profit and meet transparency and safety requirements to protect the rights and interests of citizens and companies who share their data. In addition, they must comply with a rulebook which is being developed by the Commission in cooperation with data altruism organisations and other stakeholders. These rules will lay down information requirements, technical and security requirements, communication roadmaps and recommendations on interoperability standards. A common consent form will be used to allow collection of data in a uniform format covering different sectors.

European Data Innovation Board

To promote the aims of the DGA, the Commission has also established the European Data Innovation Group (European Data Innovation Group) to facilitate the sharing of best practices with respect to data intermediation, data altruism and the use of public data, as well as on the prioritisation of cross-sectoral interoperability standards. The EDIB includes representatives from the following entities:
  • Member State competent authorities for data intermediation
  • Member State competent authorities for data altruism
  • the European Data Protection Board
  • the European Data Protection Supervisor
  • the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA)
  • the European Commission
  • the EU SME Envoy/representative appointed by the network of SME envoys
  • other representatives of relevant bodies selected by the Commission through a call for experts
The EDIB will have the power to propose guidelines for common European data spaces, for example on the adequate protection for data transfers outside of the Union.

Tech Brief: General Data Protection Regulation

THHINK BV MASTT2040



From 25th May 2018 all companies that collect data on citizens across the 28 EU member states had to comply with strict new rules protecting customer data with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation. The regulation dictates that by law it is not be allowed to collect data on:
  • Basic identity information such as name, address and ID numbers
  • Web data such as location, IP address, cookie data and RFID tags
  • Health and genetic data
  • Biometric data
  • Racial or ethnic data
  • Political opinions
  • Sexual orientation
This is good for consumers as there are clear rules with respect to their data and it is also good for companies as they only need to comply with a single standard within Europe. However, the requirements to meet and administer the standard require most companies to invest heavily. Large US companies that deal with data had to invest significant amounts to meet the new standard. According to the PwC survey, 68 percent of US-based companies expected to spend between $1 million to $10 million to meet GDPR requirements. Another 9 percent expected to spend more than $10 million leading to some complaints that it put them at a competitive disadvantage with European Companies. As European companies need to abide by the same rules it is not entirely clear where this disadvantage comes from except that the GDPR regulates the exportation of personal data outside of the EU and many US companies have data centres and support staff in the US.

The GDPR requirements forces companies to change the way they process, store, and protect customers' personal data. For example, companies are allowed to store and process personal data only when the individual consents and for "no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed." Personal data must also be portable from one company to another, and companies must erase personal data upon request enshrining the concept of the "right to be forgotten".

Any company that stores or processes personal information about EU citizens within EU states must comply with the GDPR if they have:
  • A presence in an EU country, even if they do not have a business presence within the EU
  • No presence in the EU, but it processes personal data of European residents
  • More than 250 employees
  • Fewer than 250 employees but its data-processing impacts the rights and freedoms of data subjects, is not occasional, or includes certain types of sensitive personal data
GDPR takes a wide view of what constitutes personal identification information so the same level of protection for an individual's IP address or cookie data is required as for sensitive data such as name, address and Social Security number. There is also a problem of interpretation. Companies must provide a "reasonable" level of protection for personal data, although what constitutes "reasonable" is not defined.

The GDPR defines three key company roles that are responsible for ensuring compliance: data controller, data processor and the data protection officer (DPO). The data controller defines how personal data is processed and the purposes for which it is processed. The controller is also responsible for making sure that outside contractors comply. Data processors may be the internal staff that maintain and process personal data records or any outsourcing firm that performs all or part of these activities. Notably it is the data processors who are liable for breaches or non-compliance. A DPO needs to be designated to oversee data security strategy and GDPR compliance. Companies are required to have a DPO if they process or store large amounts of EU citizen data, process or store special personal data, regularly monitor data subjects, or are a public authority.

If a company is non-compliant the GDPR allows for penalties of up to €20 million or 4 percent of global annual turnover, whichever is higher. The difference between a major breach that could cause damage and a minor breach needs to be assessed. Here GDPR places a requirement on companies to perform impact assessments to mitigate the risk of breaches by identifying vulnerabilities and how to address them.

Consumers benefit from getting a lot more information about data breaches. A key requirement brought in by GDPR is that companies must report data breaches to supervisory authorities and individuals affected by a breach within 72 hours of when the breach is detected. Customers know a lot more about how safe their data is and also which companies they can trust with their data.







Manufacturing as a Service

MASTT2040 [ www.mastt2040.eu ] is a Coordination and Support Action, financed by the European Commission under HORIZON-CL4-2023-TWIN-TRANSITION-01-08 (GA MASTT2040 - 101138342 - GAP-101138342).

Advancement in Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS) has been driven by a number of key enabling technologies and related developments such as connectivity (next generation IIoT and connectivity platforms), digitization (next generation automated and autonomous office processes and enterprise data), access to vast amounts of data (industrial data spaces), AI and Industry 4.0 (smart, hyperconnected & autonomous production systems and value networks). This is expected to result in novel service models transforming manufacturing.

Example of this are:
  • “Equipment-as-service” and “production-as-a-service” allowing companies to manufacture their products without investing in massive infrastructure),
  • “Online digitally enabled services” of companies or “manufacturing marketplaces” providing easy access to a wide range of manufacturing technologies and skilled labour for on-demand, superfast production of bespoke production,
  • “(Open) multi-sided IIoT platforms” enabling the provision of “digitally enabled services” to/by equipment providers, service/app providers and manufacturing companies.
These MaaS-providers and distributed approaches are having a great impact on supply chains and the manufacturing landscape.

At the same time driven by the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) standards, regulations and key actions aim to support the transition to a more sustainable production and circular economy (CE). As one of the results, Digital Product Passports will be mandatory across many industries in the EU in coming years and will have a major impact in the future on value chains and sustainability. Digital Product Passports will provide information about a product's origin, materials, production processes, and end-of-life options. DPPs will play a key role in supporting the transition to a circular economy by promoting transparency, traceability, and sustainability in product production5. DPPs also enable sharing the information required to provide for R-circle services in a CE-ecosystem (supported by Data Spaces).

The two worlds do not yet meet today, the companies active in the CE are different from those in MaaS as MaaS at the moment is focussing on speed, efficiency and scale whereas CE is focussing on sustainability and decarbonisation. The key questions are:
  • What does the future hold?
  • How can MaaS embrace the CE to advance a more sustainable and net-zero production or support the scale-up of CE solutions by distributed local production and provision of R-cycle services?
  • Which (novel) digital technologies, data driven approaches, standards or supporting measures are needed to enable and accelerate “green” MaaS?
The real challenge for traditional manufacturing companies and their technology providers is on how to react to this disruptive trend. The MASTT2040 project’s goals are thus twofold:
  • Firstly, to use strategic foresight methods in an inclusive and participatory manner to build a shared understanding of which changes, opportunities or disruptions are present and emerging both inside and outside of the MaaS domain to guide decision making, strategies and actions for the EU manufacturing sector in the context of twin transition up to 2040.
  • Secondly, to actively engage key stakeholders within the MaaS and CE communities, manufacturing industry as well as standards developing organisations to jointly elaborate a strategic roadmap and action plan addressing short-term (5 years), medium-term (10 years) and long-term (15 years) timescales to identify and track desired developments in order to advance digitalisation, circularity, decarbonisation and sustainability of industrial production.
The specific objectives of MASTT2040 are to:
  • Analyse the best practices to advance circularity, decarbonisation, and sustainability of industrial production in the context of “Manufacturing as a Service” approach,
  • Analyse foreseeable developments and trends, including the potential advantages and disadvantages, regarding distributed Manufacturing as a Service vs. centralised manufacturing,
  • Perform roadmapping for EU industry to transform and anticipate these changes,
  • Develop recommendations for an EU manufacturing standardisation strategy focusing specifically on the role of data,
  • Actively engage all relevant stakeholders from Horizon Europe projects and other relevant initiatives such as the Manufacturing Data Spaces and the network of European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs) for an effective transfer of information and technologies.
PROJECT PARTNERS

The project brings together 6 leading actors with a keen interest in furthering the area of MaaS and the move towards more sustainable production and circular economy
  • Sirris, (Belgium) as Project Leader and COMET SCRL, (Italy) encompassing 6000+ company members.
  • 4CF SP ZOO (Poland) a foresight consultancy and governmental agency of I4.0 (Future Industry Platform).
  • Steinbeis 2I, (Germany) facilitating knowledge transfer among companies, research organisations, universities, administrations and policy-makers.
  • Thhink BV, (Netherlands) a high technology SME that provides consultancy in ICT technologies for the manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, marine, rail transport, energy and health sectors - including standardisation aspects.


MASTT2040 Manufacturing as a Service Survey



Currently, the MASTT2040 project partners are interviewing companies about their experiences of Manufacturing as a Service to identify enablers and barriers to implementation. If your company is interested in providing further input please take our survey at:[ https://www.mastt2040.eu/2024/03/27/survey-about-maas/]

Impact of New Regulations on Manufacturing as a Service



The impact of new regulations on the manufacturing sector are of interest to MASTT2040. In particular, the AI Act, Cyber Resilience Act and Data Governance Act could have implications in a sector which is reliant on high levels of connectivity and use of data. If you want to learn more about these new regulations THHINK has summarised each of these into Tech Briefs. See the section on our website.



Smart4Europe2

Smart4Europe 2 [ www.smart4europe.eu ] is a Coordination and Support Action, co-financed by the European Commission, DT-ICT-01-2019 Smart Anything Everywhere Initiative (GA No.: 872111) which builds upon the previous Smart4Europe project that successfully brought together a critical mass of Innovation Actions (IAs) with a long track record of promoting the digital transformation of European Industry in the areas of Smart Systems Integration, Organic and Large Area Electronics, Internet of Things Advanced Computing and Cyber Physical Systems.

Today, innovation is to an increasing extent based on digitisation leading to new functionalities, products and services, but the speed of change is so quick that SMEs and mid-caps are struggling to keep pace. In order to address this, Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) have been set up to help companies with their digital transformation. This has been done at European, national and regional levels; however, the resulting community of DIHs is fragmented. The aim of the Smart4Europe2 is thus to bring together and link the DIHs as well as projects aligned to SAE (DEI CSAs, ECSEL, I4MS, etc.) and make DIH services more widely available to SMEs and mid-caps.

Smart4Europe2 will:
  • Provide services supporting the SAE network including a single Innovation Portal, Market Place, Service Centre, broad dissemination activities and coaching & training of SMEs and DIHs
  • Strengthen the SAE community cohesion and facilitate collaboration and knowledge transfer
  • Attract new stakeholders (SMEs and mid-caps) and achieve broad coverage by targeted outreach activities via own networks and multipliers (ENN, NCPs, and clusters)
  • Grow the SAE ecosystem by connecting with new stakeholders and multiplying the impacts by collaborating with related projects, initiatives and networks and enable brokering
  • Sustain the SAE network by creating a strategic roadmap based on a SAE Technology Radar, DIH business and collaboration models, strategic linkage of national and regional initiatives and via leveraging investment
The work will expand upon the successful Smart4Europe1 CSA, driven by a strong consortium of partners that have already demonstrated their commitment in shaping the SAE Initiative. Under the SAE umbrella there will be a growing number of projects, which Smart4Europe2 will bring together to collaborate and link to other initiatives, helping it to grow organically to catalyse digitisation throughout Europe.


PROJECT PARTNERS



The project brings together 7 Partners from 5 European countries:
Steinbeis 2i GmbH
Coordinator
Germany
Hahn-Schickard Gessellschaft fur angewandte Forschung e.V. Germany
THHINK BV Netherlands
Budapest University of Technology and Economics Hungary
Blumorpho SAS France
Commissariat a l'energie atomique et aux energies alternatives France
Fondazione Politecnico di Milano Italy





Smart4Europe

       

"Digitisation" enables enhanced or new functionalities in most products and services. A key question is "How to optimise the transformation of this potential?" SMEs from non-high technology sectors in particular need an easy access to digitisation technologies. The new project "Smart4Europe" will help by pooling different offers in a one-stop-shop, bringing together the community, helping it to grow organically and catalysing digitisation throughout Europe.

A central aim of the European Commission with respect to digitization is to "ensure that any industry in Europe, big or small, wherever situated and in any sector can fully benefit from digital innovations to upgrade its products, improve its processes and adapt its business models to the digital change". To achieve this, the initiative "SmartAnythingEverywhere" (SAE Initiative) was coined as an umbrella for a growing number of projects, focusing on different technology domains and positions in the innovation cycle to demonstrate best practice in technology transfer to European SMEs.

Catalysing Digitisation

Smart 4 Europe [ www.smart4europe.eu ] has the aim to:
  • reinforce the collaboration between projects supported under SAE
  • increase outreach and impact
  • provide wide coverage of stakeholders in technological, application, innovation, and geographic terms

In order to achieve this, Smart4Europe will expand the existing website of the Initiative [www.smartanythingeverywhere.eu] to create an Innovation Portal as a central contact point for digitization in Europe: providing a service centre; facilitate brokerage; coordinate communication and dissemination activities; help in sharing best practices and experiences; create a Technology Radar to identify technologies SAE can benefit from; and last but not least, establish links to regional/national initiatives to leverage investments and stimulate growth.

Smart4Europe started in September 2017 and has a duration of 2 years and almost 1M€ funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No 761448). The project is driven by a strong consortium of partners that have already demonstrated their commitment and engaged for several years in shaping the SAE Initiative:



Hahn-Schickard R+D service provider in microsystem technology with a focus on Smart Systems Integration (SSI) and Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany
Steinbeis 2i GmbH Service provider for innovation and international networking with contacts to enterprises in more than 50 countries (Enterprise Europe Network) Karlsruhe, Germany
THHINK BV High technology consultancy, e.g. for the European Commission and the European Parliament for topics as CPS, Internet of Things (IoT), digital manufacturing, strategy for ICT and others. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Budapesti Muszaki es Gazdasagtudomanyi Egyetem (BME) Department of Electron Devices of the BME (Budapest University of Technology and Economics); worldwide renowned educational and research centre in microelectronics. Budapest, Hungary
Blumorpho SAS Private innovation and business accelerator reducing the technological market and financial risk of adopting innovation, especially for startups and early adopters Paris, France
CEA-LETI / CEA-LIST Leading European Technological Research Institutions in the fields of microelectronics, digital and SoC design, embedded software, organic electronics etc. Grenoble, France
FORTISS GmbH Research and transfer institute in software-intensive systems and services, closely associated with the Technische Universität München (TUM) Munich, Germany


Additional Information and Documents:

   Smart4Europe Poster (PDF)




Smart4Europe Technology Radar



A key activity of THHINK BV within Smart4Europe2 is development and maintenance of a Technology Radar. Below is clickable version of the radar. If you have comments or suggested technology additions to the radar please contact us here.


As part of Smart4Europe, THHINK is creating a Technology Radar (see above) to classify Smart Technologies, Smart Services, SAE Tools and SAE Platforms according to their level of market readiness.

Readiness is classified in terms of:
"Red: Long Term - Hold off for now" to represent technologies that are not yet proven and not worth investing in yet
"Amber: Medium Term - Assess" a technology that is promising and worth exploring with the goal of understanding how it may have an impact
"Green: Short Term - Adopt" for a technology that industry should be adopting.

As part of this initiative the project is collecting information on new technologies and would like to gather input from the community on what are the interesting and up-and-coming technologies that should be considered on the radar.

Here we would like to solicit input on the technologies already identified via the attached questionnaire with respect to maturity and potential interest to industry, but also other new and exciting technologies.

Additionally, we are seeking ideas for non-traditional uses of smart technologies, e.g. self-tying shoes for the elderly, UAVs for shark alerting, etc. If you have an unusual application that you are either working on, or think would be interesting for the future, we would very much like to hear from you!

Additional Information and Documents:

   Technology Radar Questionaire form (DOC)




Consultant to the European Commission



THHINK is a consultant to DG Connect and DG GROW evaluating and monitoring Public Private Partnerships and Large Scale Pilots, and writing a number of EC documents on Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Physical Systems, Systems of Systems, Electronics and Digital Manufacturing, covering technology roadmaps, policy and strategy for ICT. The company also provides Expert input into the EC’s AI Unit and into areas such as Wearables and Photonics. Additionally, the company reviews projects for the EC across many domains including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, robotics and agriculture.

THHINK also acts as Rapporteur for the DEI Working Groups, key EU Events such as the DEI Stakeholder Forum and the EC’s Electronics Leaders Group defining strategy and budgets for Horizon Europe and Digital Europe. The company also provides support to the European Parliament with briefing papers/videos for MEPs on the societal and legal issues of future autonomous transportation systems and has engaged with the European Investment Bank considering new funding approaches.

In 2017 THHINK was commissioned by the EC to write a report on Standardisation with recommendations for establishing a Multi-Stakeholder Platfrom/DEI Working Group on Standardisation which was set up in 2018. In 2019 THHINK was commissioned by the EC to become the Facilitator for Harmonisation of Standardisation across Europe interacting with SDOs, other informal standards organisations, H2020 projects, government initiatives and industry (including SMEs) to create a Standardisation Stakeholder Engagement Platform. Stakeholders include DIN, IEC, Trilateral Initiative, IBM, Fraunhofer, Alstom, Plattform Industrie 4.0, Industrie 4.0 Standardisation Council, Smart Industry (Netherlands), Vanguard, VDMA, BOOST 4.0, EFFRA, ETSI, AIOTI, CREATE-IoT, ECSEL, BDVA, Productive 4.0, euRobotics, EPoSS and other H2020 projects.

In recent years THHINK has been actively engaged in writing the European Chips Act SWD, Recommendations and Roadmap for a Design Platform to support the European Chips Act and Recommendations and Roadmap for European Sovereignty in Open Source Hardware, Software, and RISC-V Technologies.

Publications for the European Commission

H.A. Thompson, “Recommendations and Roadmap for a Design Platform to support the European Chips Act", April 2023.

H.A. Thompson, “Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions: Lessons Learnt from the implementation of European Industrial Doctorates in Horizon 2020", November 2022.

H.A. Thompson, “Recommendations and Roadmap for European Sovereignty in Open Source Hardware, Software, and RISC-V Technologies", June 2022.

H.A. Thompson, “A Chips Act for Europe", Commission Staff Working Document SWD(2022) 147, May 2022.

H.A. Thompson, “Next Generation IoT and Edge Computing, Report from the Next Generation IoT and Edge Computing Strategy Forum", April 2021.

H.A. Thompson, “Fireside Chat of 9th March 2021", European Commission, CNECT-E4, Event report, March 2021.

H.A. Thompson, “"AI in Manufacturing", Report from the Workshop on AI in Manufacturing, Brussels, Belgium, July 2019.

H.A. Thompson, “Validation Report on Standardisation Harmonisation”, EC Report, September 2019.

H.A. Thompson, "AI in Manufacturing", Report from the Workshop on in Manufacturing, July 2019.

H.A. Thompson, “Boosting Electronics Value Chains”, EC Electronics Leaders Working Group, June 2018.

H.A. Thompson, “DEI Stakeholder Forum 2018”, Report from the DEI Stakeholder Forum, April 2018

H.A. Thompson, "Standardisation to Support Digitisation", Report from the Workshop on Standardisation to Support Digitising European Industry", October 2017.

H.A. Thompson, "Digital Manufacturing Platforms for Connected Smart Factories", Report from the Workshop on Digital Manufacturing Platforms for Connected Smart Factories" October 2017.

H.A. Thompson "Smart Cyber-Physical Systems Concertation Event", Report from the Smart Cyber Physical Systems Concertation Event, January 2017.

Roel van den Berg and Haydn Thompson, "Digitising European Industry initiative - Working Group 2: Strengthening Leadership in Digital Technologies and in Digital Industrial Platforms across Value Chains in all Sectors of the Economy", December 2016.

H.A. Thompson, "The Smart Cyber-Physical Systems cluster of EU projects", Report from the ARTEMIS and Horizon2020 Clustering and Communication Event, May 2016.

H.A. Thompson and C. Enzing (Technopolis Group, The Netherlands), "CPS for Logistics and transport: Short and long term trends and their societal and ethical impacts", Briefing Paper for European Parliament, January 2016.

H.A. Thompson "Innovation in Digital Manufacturing", Report from the EC Workshop on Innovation in Digital Manufacturing, Brussels, Belgium. January 2015

H.A. Thompson, "Internet of Things - A Deeper Dive", Report from the EC Workshop on Internet of Things - A Deeper Dive, Brussels, Belgium, December 2014.

H.A. Thompson, "Cyber-Physical Systems: Uplifting Europe's Innovation Capacity", Report from the EC Workshop in Brussels, Belgium, October 2013

H.A. Thompson, "Systems of Systems Engineering and Control", Report from the EC Workshop on Systems and Systems Engineering and Control Brussels, Belgium, October 2013.

H.A. Thompson, "Directions in Systems of Systems Engineering", Report from the EC Workshop on Synergies among Projects and Directions in Advanced Systems Engineering", Brussels, Belgium, July 2012.



Precision Agriculture & Digital Farming


Smart Agriculture - Why it is important for the future


THHINK

By 2050 it will be necessary to feed a world population of 9 billion people. If current production levels are maintained, this level will result in a food shortage of 70%. Addressing this, similar to the manufacturing sector, the farming sector is currently undergoing a 4th Industrial Revolution. The first revolution in the industry was Mechanisation with the introduction of tractors, the second was the Green Revolution (which introduced the use of fertilisers), the third was Precision Agriculture (which exploited GPS systems to provide centimeter-accurate ploughing, sowing, harvesting, etc) and the current 4th Revolution is Digital Farming.

In this current revolution, whole Farm Management Systems are being introduced which exploit real-time data and wireless connectivity to provide added value services, automation capabilities and improved processes that make the food value chain more efficient. Examples of this are more efficient and easier to maintain machinery, and better information to optimise seed use and sowing based on data from the farm.



Smart agriculture is heavily exploiting advanced technologies such as Big Data, GPS, IoT and connected sensor devices to collect data from the field and analyse it so that the farmer can make accurate decisions in order to grow high quality crops. The field data is collected with the help of sensors, cameras, micro controllers, and actuators. Sensors and cameras can be used to provide information to the operator for water level, fertilizers as well as light required for growing the best quality food. The collected data is transferred via the Internet to the operator or the farmer for decision making.

According to expert predictions, the Smart Agriculture market is expected to grow from USD 5.18 Billion in 2016 to USD 11.23 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 13.27% between 2017 and 2022 (Markets and Markets). The main share of this market is expected to come for hardware for sensors, network management, agriculture asset management, supervisory control and data acquisition, logistic and supply chain management.

The whole concept of precision agriculture is based on accurate crop and soil observation, some of which are being achieved via automated NDVI image capture/processing for identifying crop and soil conditions using UAVs or drone technology. Farmers use these insights to maintain their crops and make better informed decisions that ultimately yield higher quality and greater quantity of crops. Smart water management can also be used to reduce human labour, minimize weather risks, and increase off-season production by saving water, reducing the use of chemicals and saving energy.

Another key sector being revolutionised by smart technologies is indoor farming and horticulture. Increasing automation of commercial greenhouses and growing implementation of the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) concept in greenhouses, is allowing a higher yield from maintenance of optimum growing conditions. Cultivators have shifted from conventional lighting systems to LED grow lights. Although LED grow lights are high in cost, they are an ideal option for indoor farming owing to their long-term benefits in terms of energy efficiency.

In the smart agricultural sector, livestock monitoring is the fastest growing segment allowing monitoring of livestock performance, health and welfare using RFID, biometrics, and GPS to automatically obtain information on animals in real-time.

Farm machinery is also becoming more automated and agricultural robots are being used to automate farming processes such as soil maintenance, weeding, fruit picking, harvesting, planting, ploughing, and irrigation. Here M2M communications, an integral part of IoT, allows coordination of multiple devices, appliances, and machines connected to the internet through multiple networks.




Importance for the Netherlands

The Netherlands is the world's second largest exporter of agricultural products after the USA. Together with the USA and Spain, the Netherlands is one of the world's three leading producers of vegetables and fruit and supplies a quarter of the vegetables that are exported from Europe. The Dutch agricultural sector is diverse; it covers a wide range of livestock and plant-cultivation sectors that include arable and dairy farming, cultivation under glass, tree-growing and pig farming. The agri-business is one of the driving forces behind the Dutch economy and with a large population in a small, low-lying delta region where land is at a premium, farms in the Netherlands are some of the most intensive, sustainable, and efficient in the world. It is no surprise that Wageningen University is the number 1 Agricultural University in the world and five of the top 26 global agri-food companies have R&D facilities in the Netherlands.

Key Projects

IoF2020 [ www.iof2020.eu ] is supported by the European Commission with a budget of 30M Euros. The aim of IoF2020 is to build a lasting ecosystem that fosters the large-scale uptake of IoT technologies across a diverse sector considering farm-to-fork. 75 key stakeholders along the food value chain are involved in IoF2020 together with technology service providers, software companies and academic research institutions. Nineteen use-cases organised around five sectors (arable, dairy, fruits, meat and vegetables) will develop, test and demonstrate IoT technologies in operational farm environments all over Europe.



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