Service 4.0 - Rocking the digital craft.

Whether Smart Work, Smart Production, Smart Solutions or Smart Living. More than 800 processes around the craft value chain are on the verge of digital transformation. And they do exist: The digital doers from the skilled trades who are building the world of tomorrow with enthusiasm and drive. Whether it's additive manufacturing (3D printing) of buildings, the use of sensors to maintain complex building technology or the numerous digital solutions for processes in the company. Using good-practice examples, the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Handwerk shows how digitization can become a real opportunity.

The skilled trades as drivers of digital transformation.

0.0 and 4.0 - two numbers that show the range of future opportunities in the skilled trades. Due to the increasing digitization of society, we are registering a clear return to the real thing - the skilled trades. At the same time, more and more processes in companies and the interfaces to the customer are being digitized. Robots and cobots support standard processes in production, drones help with digital measurement and 3D printers inspire new business models. However, successful digital transformation does not depend solely on the use of new technologies. We can use these new tools to rethink and reshape our world. The skilled trades are right in the middle of this exciting transformation - yes, in some cases even its driver.

But digitization in the skilled trades is complex and is becoming more complex by the second. In Germany alone, more than 180 different smart home systems are already waiting to be deployed in our homes and offices. Heating systems are already linked to data-based service platforms that control complex processes automatically. We dream of perfectly interlocking systems and interface-free processes. Complexity can only be countered with complexity. What is needed is interdisciplinarity, automation and scaling. Here we urgently need the necessary tools to redesign our processes. Artificial intelligence and craftsmanship? Two terms that seem far apart at first glance. Think deeper, and it quickly becomes clear - AI, as a complex methodology, will be a valuable tool for the future in the skilled trades.

In the digitized future, every area of our lives, from our homes to the cars and roads we use to get to work, to our workplace, will be equipped with devices connected to the Internet that will make our lives easier. This new connection between the digital and real worlds, the Internet of Things, will significantly change the way we live and work. Devices will be able to independently determine whether they need maintenance or when they will break down, and then notify the owner or directly the responsible craftsman. Whether it's intelligent gutters or screed floors - for the skilled trades, this means that those who develop products and services today for the digital habits and wishes of tomorrow will be ahead in the future. To leverage these opportunities, AI systems will have to be one of the key building blocks.

So let's summarize. Craftsmanship continues to have golden ground - if it is digital. Topics such as IoT, Service 4.0 and artificial intelligence are hitting companies in all sectors - and the skilled trades are right in the middle of it. Digitization is taking place without exception.

The Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Handwerk is part of Mittelstand-Digital. With the Mittelstand-Digital network, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy supports digitization in small and medium-sized enterprises and the skilled trades. For more information, visit and

Christoph Krause, digital doer at the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Handwerk.

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