Good morning, dear Robot Colleague

The working world of the future is the Social Networked Industry. Intelligent devices like smartglasses or tablets increasingly allow employees to interact with intelligent and networked machines. This is how social networks originate in the working world, connecting people and machines in a novel way and resulting in a socially networked industry. This Social Networked Industry needs people and serves people. In the light of this, digital technologies are developed in the Innovationlab Hybrid Services that support people sensibly in order to increase their productivity and their satisfaction. So, all technical developments are then always aligned to the latest knowledge in the field of sociology of work.

01 Social NETWORKS

Today, the use of social networks is a matter of course in the private sector. Social networks allow people to exchange information quickly and to increase their flexibility. They offer the opportunity to (better) organise the cooperation between people and machines. But how can people and machines understand and support each other in digital networks? At the Innovationlab, a prototype is being developed for a social network platform that links people, smart devices and IT systems to each other and facilitates their communication. A significant role is played, for example, by questions about responsibilities and possibilities to control processes, the range of manual interventions or recording and passing on sensitive date.


Industry 4.0 is always associated with increasingly complex system structures and large amounts of data. Both demand high standards when integrating people in automated environments. People, on the one hand, require the right information to support their work and, on the other hand, they need to have an overview of the different procedures and processes which they have to control. But how will information be presented and exchanged in the Social Networked Industry in future? In the context of the Innovationlab a fully comprehensive solution for individualised and adaptive human-technology-interaction is being developed. This includes e.g., tracking systems that allow hazard-free cooperation between employees and autonomous transport robots and drones and which pay an important contribution to occupational safety, as well as fundamental concepts for determining contexts and for user identification.

03 Human-Technology-Interaction

The rising autonomy of cyber physical systems is beginning to mix up the classic hierarchy for people and technology. Starting from the situation where people have control over how machines and other technological components operate, the fourth industrial revolution is now seeing the development of interactive cooperation between autonomous parties. But how will people and technology interact with each other in logistics in future? At the Innovationlab, working systems are being developed in which people and technological components carry out logistical and technical production tasks within a social network. There is a clear focus on designing functionally safe and ergonomic physical user interfaces for autonomous technology components like lightweight robots and driverless transport systems.

04 Digital Design

In future, people, machines and IT, all working in highly flexible socio-technical networks that adapt dynamically and ad hoc to increasingly volatile markets, will also deliver highly flexible hybrid services. Permanent change will become normal. But what should new agile design and implementation processes for future logistics systems be like, so that they are able to use the potential flexibilization inherent in hybrid services? At the Innovationlab, a concept is being developed for monitoring, (re)planning and implementing future logistics systems. The concept of the »digital twin« – a digital image of the logistics system – is key here. This is being designed so that data can be automatically transferred to a simulation model. Scenarios such as the probable future behaviour of the system can then be evaluated ad hoc.