9th July. Ekaterinburg - The INNOPROM international industrial trade fair held its chief plenary session, entitled “Industry In Search Of Intellect – Global Trends, and the Russian Perspective”. The session took place with the participation of Russian Prime-Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Russia's Trade & Industry Minister, Mr Denis Manturov.
The Chief Plenary Session of INNOPROM can rightly be called the highest-status event of the entire exhibition. It is traditionally attended by governmental leaders, the bosses of major Russian and international corporations, and internationally-acclaimed experts. This year the panel included the Russian Prime-Minister, Mr Dmitry Medvedev, and Russia's Trade & Industry Minister, Mr Denis Manturov. From industry, the delegates included Mr Siegfried Russwurm from the Board of Directors of Siemens AG; Mr Pierre Michaelsson, the global director for R&D of ABB Robotics; Mr Chong O Park, Board Director of the International Federation of Robotechnology (IFR) and Professor of the National Universtiy of Chonnam (S Korea); Mr Toru Don, the President of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental & Chemical Engineering; and Mr Matthew Smith, Global Director for Strategy & Business Development and Industrial Solutions for Cisco Systems.
Mentioning the great value of INNOPROM, Mr Denis Manturov recalled the wise remarks of the Queen Of Cards in Lewis Carroll's “Alice In Wonderland” - that we have to run as fast as our legs will carry us, just to stay where we are at the moment. If we want to move forwards, then we have to run even faster. “Just to cling onto their current position our companies have to be growing all the time. In order to know how and where to invest their resources, they have to be up to speed with every single latest development and trend”, the Minister said.
The foreign speakers at the event were some of the sharpest minds in the area of intelligent industry, and top managers of the most significant foreign corporations who are making a success of operating in Russia. Mr Anton Atrashkin, the Director of the Business Program at INNOPROM, posed a question whilst moderating the session... as to why advanced technology – which works magnificently in foreign countries – somehow doesn't seem to take root in Russia? Each of the speakers gave their own answers, drawing on their own experience of deploying innovation in Russian industry, and how they see the specific issues of the Russian context. Most of the speakers expressed the opinion that alongside bringing in the best of foreign developments, the Russian Government ought to be working hard to encourage the growth of native innovation, and promote its adoption in the engineering industries.
For example, Mr Chong O Park said that Russia had a very strong record in Defence-related industries, it would be logical to extrapolate that robotics technology brought into defence industry applications that saved lives would be the perfect niche in which Russia could become a world leader.
The Plenary Session participants addressed another issue close to the heart of many – that digitized production methods could leave many people without jobs, if the trend towards replacing workers with robots were to continue. Matthew Smith, of Cisco Systems replied that “Sure! And they said just the same thing back in the 70s and 80s, when PCs first came out. But the result was that we all began to do our work differently. The same thing will happen with robotics – we'll continue to have jobs, but we'll do them in a different way”.
In his Welcoming Address to the participants and guests, Russian Prime Minister Mr Dmitry Medvedev said that the modernization of industry had positive benefits in every aspect of life.
“The strategy of innovative development poses a whole series of ambitious goals for Russia – including raising the number of industrial companies who are involved in technological innovation to 50% by the year 2020. To hit these kind of targets will require an enormous refitting and updating of our industrial facilities, and prompting the replacement of worn-out technology of yesterday – and I include the option to offer tax breaks - in order to get on board with the best available technologies of tomorrow. By the target date of 2020 I would like to see the share Russian-made consumer goods hold in the market rise, by at least a third. Maybe not in every sphere – but in a great deal of them, and I think this target is completely realistic” said Prime Minister Medvedev.