Digitalization of Industrial Processes for Lower Emissions

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Digitalization of industrial processes involves integrating digital technologies and data analytics into manufacturing and industrial operations. This approach aims to improve efficiency, productivity, and sustainability by connecting machines, systems, and people, enabling data-driven decision-making, and automating tasks.

Impact on climate action

Digitalization of Industrial Processes under the main theme of “Digital for Decarbonization” advances climate action by optimizing energy use, reducing waste, and enhancing efficiency. By enabling real-time monitoring and control, this innovation minimizes emissions, promotes resource conservation, and accelerates the transition to sustainable, low-carbon industrial practices.


  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): IIoT sensors and devices collect real-time data on equipment performance, process parameters, and environmental conditions. This data is transmitted to a central platform for analysis and visualization.
  • Data Analytics and AI: AI and machine learning algorithms analyze data from IIoT devices and other sources to identify patterns, predict trends, and optimize processes.
  • Cloud Computing: Cloud computing platforms provide the infrastructure and computing power needed to store, process, and analyze large amounts of industrial data.
  • Digital Twins: Digital twins are virtual representations of physical assets and processes that can be used to simulate and optimize operations, predict maintenance needs, and improve overall efficiency.
  • Cybersecurity: As industrial processes become more digital and interconnected, cybersecurity solutions are essential to protect against cyberattacks and ensure data security.

TRL : 7-8

Prominent Innovation themes

  • AI-Powered Process Optimization: Advanced AI algorithms and machine learning techniques are being developed to optimize process parameters in real-time, leading to continuous improvement and adaptation to changing conditions.
  • Predictive Maintenance: AI and data analytics can be used to predict potential equipment failures, allowing for proactive maintenance and reducing downtime.
  • Digital Twins for Process Simulation and Optimization: Digital twins are becoming more sophisticated and integrated with real-time data, allowing for more accurate and effective process simulation and optimization.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) for Industrial Applications: AR and VR technologies can be used to visualize process data, provide remote assistance, and train workers, improving efficiency and safety.
  • Blockchain for Supply Chain Transparency: Blockchain technology can be used to track and trace materials and products throughout the supply chain, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Real-time Monitoring and Control Systems
  • Energy Efficiency Optimization
  • Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 Integration
  • Sustainable Supply Chain Management
  • Remote Asset Management Solutions
  • Data-driven Quality Assurance Processes
  • Human-Machine Collaboration and Safety Enhancement
  • Circular Economy Solutions
  • Smart Grid and Energy Management
  • Digitalization of Maintenance Procedures
  • Autonomous Industrial Systems
  • Cyber-Physical Systems Integration
  • Advanced Data Visualization Techniques
  • Adaptive Production Planning and Scheduling
  • Smart Sensor Networks for Environmental Monitoring
  • Intelligent Industrial Waste Management Systems
  • Digitalization of Industrial Water Management Processes
  • Integrated Smart Logistics Solutions
  • Green Product Design and Lifecycle Management

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. Siemens MindSphere:
    • Technology Enhancement: Siemens MindSphere is a cloud-based industrial Internet of Things (IoT) platform that enables digitalization and connectivity of industrial processes and assets. It provides a scalable infrastructure for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data from machines, equipment, and sensors in real-time. MindSphere leverages advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to optimize industrial operations and improve productivity, efficiency, and reliability.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Siemens MindSphere stands out for its integration with Siemens’ extensive portfolio of industrial automation and control systems, enabling seamless connectivity and interoperability across manufacturing, energy, and infrastructure sectors. Its open ecosystem allows for collaboration and innovation, empowering customers to develop custom applications and solutions tailored to their specific needs.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Siemens MindSphere serves a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, automotive, energy, aerospace, and utilities. Its digitalization solutions are deployed in factories, plants, and facilities seeking to digitize and optimize industrial processes, monitor equipment performance, and drive digital transformation initiatives.
  2. PTC ThingWorx:
    • Technology Enhancement: PTC ThingWorx is an industrial IoT platform designed to enable digital transformation and smart connected operations. It provides tools for building, deploying, and managing IoT applications and solutions, allowing organizations to collect, analyze, and act on data from connected devices and sensors. ThingWorx offers capabilities such as remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, and augmented reality (AR) for enhancing industrial processes and improving decision-making.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: PTC ThingWorx stands out for its focus on enabling rapid development and deployment of IoT solutions through its model-based development environment and drag-and-drop interface. Its extensive ecosystem of partners and integrations allows for seamless integration with existing enterprise systems and IoT devices, facilitating interoperability and scalability.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: PTC ThingWorx serves industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, smart cities, and utilities, where digitalization and IoT technologies are driving operational efficiency, innovation, and new business models. Its solutions are deployed in various use cases, including asset management, remote monitoring, predictive analytics, and service optimization.
  3. Uptake:
    • Technology Enhancement: Uptake is a predictive analytics and industrial AI platform that helps companies optimize asset performance and reliability. It combines machine learning, data science, and domain expertise to analyze sensor data, maintenance records, and operational parameters to predict equipment failures, optimize maintenance schedules, and reduce downtime. Uptake’s platform enables proactive decision-making and continuous improvement in industrial processes.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Uptake stands out for its industry-specific focus and deep domain expertise in asset-intensive industries such as manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, and transportation. Its AI-driven solutions are tailored to address the unique challenges and requirements of each industry, providing actionable insights and recommendations to improve asset performance and operational efficiency.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Uptake serves asset-intensive industries seeking to leverage data and analytics to drive digital transformation and operational excellence. Its solutions are used by equipment manufacturers, fleet operators, and industrial companies to optimize asset health, reduce maintenance costs, and enhance safety and reliability.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT is at the forefront of research on Digitalization of Industrial Processes, focusing on leveraging advanced digital technologies such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and big data analytics to optimize industrial operations, reduce energy consumption, and minimize carbon emissions.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves developing digital twins, simulation models, and predictive analytics tools to monitor, control, and optimize various industrial processes in sectors such as manufacturing, energy production, and transportation. They also explore cyber-physical systems, blockchain, and distributed ledger technologies for enhancing transparency, traceability, and sustainability across supply chains.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in energy-efficient manufacturing, smart grid management, and emissions reduction strategies. By digitalizing industrial processes, MIT’s research enables companies to improve resource efficiency, enhance productivity, and achieve their sustainability goals in alignment with global decarbonization efforts.
  2. Stanford University:
    • Research Focus: Stanford University conducts pioneering research on Digitalization of Industrial Processes, leveraging its expertise in data science, control theory, and optimization algorithms to develop innovative solutions for digitizing, automating, and optimizing industrial workflows.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the development of cyber-physical systems, sensor networks, and edge computing platforms for real-time monitoring, analysis, and control of industrial operations. They also explore human-machine collaboration, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) technologies for enhancing worker safety, productivity, and decision-making in complex industrial environments.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in smart manufacturing, intelligent transportation systems, and sustainable infrastructure development. By harnessing digital technologies, Stanford’s research enables companies to achieve operational excellence, reduce environmental impact, and adapt to changing market dynamics in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  3. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU):
    • Research Focus: CMU is engaged in innovative research on Digitalization of Industrial Processes, leveraging its expertise in human-computer interaction, machine learning, and cybersecurity to develop intelligent systems and digital tools for optimizing industrial workflows and mitigating environmental impact.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves developing advanced data analytics algorithms, optimization models, and decision support systems tailored to the needs of different industrial sectors, including manufacturing, energy, and transportation. They also investigate the integration of digital technologies with sustainability frameworks, lifecycle assessment methodologies, and circular economy principles to enhance resource efficiency and reduce waste generation.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in smart factories, intelligent energy management systems, and resilient infrastructure planning. By advancing digitalization in industrial processes, CMU’s research contributes to enhancing competitiveness, fostering innovation, and promoting sustainable development in the era of decarbonization.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Digitalization technologies are being implemented by companies across various industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, and energy. These technologies are helping businesses improve efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impact.