As far as tradeshows go, Milan is pretty eclectic. From art to design, from the construction industry to technology, the trade fair grounds of the city will be hosting some of the biggest European events this year. Technology Hub, which will take place from April 20th to 22nd, is one such: its goal is to create new and productive connections between individual professionals and companies, between developers of new technologies and potential users and buyers, between tech startups and potential investors. Italy is shaping up to be a fertile and competitive environment in which new ideas can grow into feasible projects and find practical applications. This edition of the Technology Hub will have a strong focus on 3D printing and virtual and augmented reality, as well as the Internet of Things, the new possibilities opened by the use of drones, the development of collaborative robotics and the app market. If you are planning on exhibiting or visiting, here’s what you need to know.
One Technology Hub was not enough. So we got 8.
Given the extraordinary variety of technologies exhibited and the different aspects of life and industry the event touches upon, the trade fair grounds have been divided into eight areas (3D Print, Additive Manufacturing, AR/VR, Apps, Drones, Electronics & IoT, Materials and Robots), in order to facilitate networking and to make it easier for visitors to find the exhibitors they are looking for. Several events will take place during the course of the tradeshow, many of which are connected to the areas of learning and training, in the form of workshops and conferences.
The IT industry has been growing exponentially over the past decade and it is set to be the one field in which the majority of future jobs will be found. Being an incredibly diverse and dynamic industry, this might mean anything from the artistic applications of 3D printing to medical technologies. One thing is certain: no industry can afford to ignore innovation and education has to respond to the needs of future markets. That’s why this year’s Technology Hub will feature projects by students of technology schools, offering them the opportunity to meet companies that are likely interested in their skills, while simultaneously offering the companies involved a precious opportunity to glimpse into the future and meet a generation of professionals-to-be. The students’ projects are also incredibly diverse: from a giant robot-insect to an automated street lighting system that adjusts its set up based on real-time data collection. Education itself, of course, will benefit from new technologies, as virtual and augmented reality become useful tools in several kinds of technical and practical training. In fact, some believe that augmented reality will be an absolute game-changer, making the very concept of a technical manual obsolete and allowing learners to acquaint themselves with new machinery in a safe and effective way, in a hyperreal and yet virtual environment.
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Technology and employment
Events and tradeshows like Milan’s Technology Hub have a social value too: they can help us make sense of the dizzyingly fast progress that has been shaping our lives as we know them. Whereas many regard technology with fear and mistrust, believing it to pose a risk to human employment, other correctly focus on the new jobs that are going to be created in the scenario that we as a civilisation are creating for ourselves. Creating and maintaining a technological scenario as complex as ours does require skilled human professionals and will required many more, both specialising in individual, very specific fields and able to look at the bigger picture and set the guidelines by which our technology should be employed. This means that, while technical knowledge is paramount and will continue to grow in relevance in the next decade, the “human factor” will prove essential to make sense of technology in general and to bend its discoveries to our actual needs.