Hannover Messe 2017 in Germany

Thousands of companies will be showcasing this week the latest wizardry in artificial intelligence, big data and virtual reality at the world’s largest industrial trade fair in Germany.

Hannover Messe or Hanover fair is expected to attract more than 200,000 visitors from 75 countries — including the prime minister of Poland and the chancellor of Germany — and organisers expect more than 5m business contracts to be signed.

Industry experts say the fair will show that “Industry 4.0” — the industrial internet of things, or IIoT, transforming the way goods are manufactured and sold — is becoming a reality, creating cost savings and enhancing productivity.

For example, for groups such as Trumpf, the maker of high-tech machine tools that will be showcasing its advances at the show, some tasks now take four hours that used to take four days at its plant in Gerlingen, Germany.

Trumpf recorded a drop in net profit last year despite a rise in revenues because of increased investments. But the short-term pain paid off “at once,” according to Mathias Kammüller, managing director of Trumpf, as the company is now on track to save “far more than 30 per cent”, or €70m per year, on personnel costs.

An increase in productivity means it can achieve this without laying off any workers.

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