Human-centric, sustainable and resilient: this is how the industry of the future will be, according to the Italian Automation Industry Observatory. The industry of the future is shaping up as a landscape characterized by an evolution toward the principles of Industry 5.0, a prospect that promises to radically transform the Italian manufacturing landscape.

It is the beginning of a new era for the Italian manufacturing industry, which has been evolving from the “Industry 4.0” model to a revamped version, “5.0,” for a few years now.
Industry 5.0 is presented as a research- and innovation-driven vision that is distinguished by its ability to harmonize automation and interconnectedness with core human values, sustainability and resilience. This balanced approach aims to maximize efficiency and productivity while always keeping the human being at the center.

The challenges to ensuring the success of organizations in this context are many and require constant effort. From digital literacy to the critical management of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, from the adoption of Problem Solving and Design Thinking methodologies to technological and environmental safety in the workplace to the promotion of an inclusive and data protection-oriented corporate culture, there are many factors to consider.


Industry 5.0 at a glance
Industry 5.0 goes the extra mile compared to its predecessor, integrating technologies (such as individualized human-machine interaction, smart materials, digital twin and industrial simulation, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics and smart energy technologies) in a collaborative way and with respect for people and the environment and as support for dealing with geopolitical changes and natural disasters.

In fact, we talk about Collaborative Industry, which is that business model characterized by cooperation between machines and humans, with the goal of adding value to production by creating customized products that meet the needs of consumers.


Three main points distinguish Industry 5.0:

  • People at the center of production processes. Technology first and foremost serves workers, protecting their privacy, autonomy, dignity. Second, technology guides and trains workers.
  • The focus on sustainability. Each stage of a product’s life cycle is supported by specific technologies to optimize energy consumption and reduce environmental impact, from simulation to supply chain optimization, from digital twin to rapid prototyping, from material selection to the use of IoT in plants to various data analytics-based production and after-sales control and management software.
  • Resilience. High degree of robustness in production; high levels of business continuity and disaster recovery; adaptable production capacity and flexible business processes; ability to guarantee products and/or services even in case of pandemics, natural disasters, geopolitical changes.


Manufacturing companies of the future will need to embrace the values and pillars of Industry 5.0 as a strategic asset to remain competitive in international markets. This involves concrete commitments such as drawing up sustainability budgets, attracting and retaining talent, optimizing resources, and seeking innovative business models based on the circular economy.


What Italian manufacturing companies think about Industry 5.0

The results of a survey provide an eloquent picture of Italian manufacturing companies’ perceptions of Industry 5.0. The survey has been conducted by Innovation Post, Industry 4 Business and Internet 4 Things, in collaboration with the RISE Research & Innovation for Smart Enterprises Laboratory at the University of Brescia.
The survey collected the opinions of about 100 enterprises of various sizes, including 46.5 percent micro enterprises, 20.9 percent small enterprises, 12.8 percent medium enterprises and 19.8 percent large enterprises.

The results show a division of opinion among entrepreneurs, particularly regarding the meaning and adoption of the term “Industry 5.0.
While some see sustainability and a people-centered approach as justification for adopting this new paradigm, others see Industry 5.0 as the natural progression and achievement of the full maturity of the principles of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The survey revealed an ongoing debate within the Italian manufacturing sector about the nature and evolution of modern industry.

Finally, one of the most interesting findings that emerged from the survey concerns the obstacles that prevent companies from investing in Industry 5.0.
91% of participants identified lack of skills as the main obstacle. This figure is particularly significant because it stands out sharply from the other challenges mentioned by survey respondents, including excessive costs (indicated by 42% of respondents), lack of technology solutions that fit their needs (30%), and technologies evolving too quickly (26%).

In conclusion, Industry 5.0 represents an unprecedented opportunity for companies in the manufacturing sector. To follow this evolution, new specialized skills will be needed in addition to a clear framework to adapt operational capabilities to new challenges and opportunities, thus leading the sector toward a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient future.