Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive of the World Economic Forum (WEF), articulated a clear message: “Dialogue is now more crucial than ever to rebuild trust and cultivate partnerships that enhance outcomes for economies, individuals, and the planet.” Here, Christoph Dorigatti, Vice President of global business development at automation supplier COPA-DATA provides insight into his attendance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual conference 2024.
While the political discussions at the WEF Annual Meeting delved into pressing crises in Ukraine, Israel and the Red Sea, the economic agenda, particularly the Affiliate Program in which I participated, revolved around the pivotal themes of energy transition, AI and digitalization.
The week unfolded as an exploration into the world’s challenges and the potential of technology to address these issues. Here, I offer reflections on the event, capturing my key insights.
The twin transition
The challenges featured on the economic agenda at Davos resonated with COPA-DATA’s overarching vision and mission. We want to improve the key challenges for mankind and the planet with easy-to-use technology and software — and technology for energy transformation is a key part of our business.
According to Accenture’s analysis, in collaboration with the WEF, digital technologies possess the capacity to deliver up to 20 per cent of the 2050 reduction required to meet the International Energy Agency’s net-zero trajectories. Coined the “twin transition,” the deployment of digital technologies for the journey to net zero emerged as a focal topic.
Observing the panel discussions, a notable takeaway was the shared understanding of the challenges related to transitioning to a net zero world — securing the grid, integrating renewables and exploring storage models are all issues we will face. The urgency for net zero was palpable among attendees, signalling a departure from rhetoric to real, tangible action. The time has passed where we merely talk and present our initiatives on PowerPoint slides. We need to take action, and we need to take it now.
Perhaps most significantly, I noticed a shared sense of hope, emphasizing the belief that achieving net zero is not only necessary, but also achievable.
At COPA-DATA, our longstanding commitment to assisting energy companies aligns with the ongoing investments in renewable energy production and grid expansion. That is in addition to the role of our software to support decarbonization in the manufacturing realm. Our technology stands poised to play a pivotal role in translating these ambitious plans into reality.
AI: Its potential and challenges
Artificial intelligence, having permeated our lives more than ever in the past 12 months, naturally emerged as a key focal point at the WEF annual meeting.
With decades of providing automation technology to the manufacturing and energy industries, COPA-DATA’s vision, “there is always an easier way,” converges with the goal of leveraging AI to facilitate tasks in industrial plants and energy infrastructure.
While AI holds the promise of enhancing data analysis for improved production and consumption, challenges loom large in defining the extent to which AI should intervene in live production, especially in sectors like life sciences manufacturing and energy infrastructure where errors can have significant consequences.
As the so-called ‘year of AI’ unfolded in 2023, the true impact of this technology on manufacturing and energy sectors and its safe deployment within critical domains is yet to be fully realized. The potential is huge, but the unclear framework remains a challenge. The journey ahead will certainly be interesting.
A forum for intellectual exchange
Beyond any singular topic or panel discussion, the opportunity to exchange ideas with decision-makers was invaluable.
Our expertise in OT/IT and knowledge in manufacturing and energy infrastructure positions us strategically to contribute significantly to key economic agenda topics such as digitalization, AI and the energy transition. Moreover, the Annual Meeting provides us with a platform to share this expertise with individuals who, as an SME and tech unicorn, we might not easily access through conventional channels.
Our presence at WEF Davos reaffirmed COPA-DATA’s commitment to innovation and sustainability — and the insights garnered from the week will undoubtedly shape our strategies for the future.
While Klaus Schwab’s call for dialogue is resounding, the call for action on these key global challenges has also arrived.
To learn more about COPA-DATA’s automation software platform zenon, visit the website.