Siemens Financial Service (SFS) launched a new research paper titled “Industry 4.0: Rising to the Challenge”. The report found that $390.4 billion investment will be needed over the next five years globally to achieve smart factory transformation, out of which $161.3 billion will be needed in Asia and Pacific. SFS previously predicted that a ‘tipping point’ for investment, at which half of manufacturers will have substantially migrated to Industry 4.0 production platforms, will take place within the next five to seven years.

HMS Networks of Sweden announced a secure, IT friendly solution for accessing remote industrial machines. HMS’s Ewon solutions provide a device which can be plugged into industrial equipment and can be accessed via a secure connection directly to the asset, and thus will be particularly useful a travel ban is imposed or the equipment is located in high-risk environments. The solutions are ISO 27001 and STAR certified and undergo regular security audits to ensure secure access.

ABI Research released a new report, “COVID-19 Impact on Industrial Automation”, which assesses the impact of COVID-19 on the global industrial automation sector. The demand for mobile robotics to disinfect, monitor, survey, and handle and deliver materials is dramatically increasing with the coronavirus outbreak, and the mobile robotics market size will increase to $23 billion by 2021, according to the report. ABI Research also predicts that the small drone delivery market will reach $414 million by 2021 and $10.4 billion by 2030.

Eclipse Automation Inc., based in Ontario, Canada, has announced an exclusive agreement with Harmontronics Automation of Suzhou, China, to manufacture, sell, distribute, service, commission and modify the Harmontronics fully automated N95 Vertical Flat-Fold Respirator Mask Production Line system across North America. The two companies have initiated investment for an initial production line to be brought to Canada and put into operation within a month. Manufacturing will be done using the Harmontronics facility, but the system will be customized to meet specific needs and specifications in North American.

An emergency House of Commons inquiry into potential takeover of UK hi-tech firms by an investor with links to the Chinese state has been launched. The inquiry was announced following an aborted Chinese boardroom takeover of Imagination Technologies, a Hertfordshire-based chip designer at the cutting edge of AI and communications technology. The cancelled board meeting was due to appoint four board members with links to China Reform Holding, a $30 billion Chinese government-controlled venture fund. The episode highlights the growing concerns about Chinese business investment in the UK, which has increased significantly in the recent weeks.