Review on the DigiDemo Final Conference

Project partners and guests met at ESTA Belfort in France on 14 June 2023 to celebrate the successful implementation of of the DigiDemo project.

The DigiDemo Final Conference was the opportunity to discuss and exchange, to participate in a rich programme, and to discover

  • the Erasmus+ Project BNCOW (Business Negotiation Comepetencies in Online World, presented by guest speaker Timo Holopainen from Turku University of Applied Sciences and President of the Conference’s partner Academic Association of Sales Engineering (AASE),
  • how companies’ marketing can contribute to the circular economy with guest speaker Xavier Battinger from Ricoh Industry France, and
  • the concrete results that have been produced in the DigiDemo project.

Discover replays and photos here.

Two more DigiDemo Techtalks available

In these two short TechTalk videos, Tommy Edvardsen Hvidsten from DigiDemo partner Fagskolen I Viken describes the pedagogical framework for DigiDemo demonstrators.

The first part introduces features of skills training and professional theory in Industry 1.0 to industry 3.0.

The second part presents a hypothetical model for main features of skill training and professional theory in Industry 4.0 as basis for DigiDemo demonstrators.

Both videos can be accessed via the DigiDemo Knowledge Bricks page.

Join us at the DigiDemo Final Conference | 14 June 2023

the final conference of the DigiDemo project will take place

14 June 2023 | 11h00 – 16h30 CET

ESTA Belfort
3 Rue du Docteur Fréry, Belfort / France
— onsite or online —

A rich programme with two key note speakers and the presentation of the DigiDemo project results is waiting for you:

Time Activity
11h00 Welcome & Networking, opening of the DigiDemo exposition
11h45 Business Negotiation Competences in Online World: First results of Erasmus+ Project BN-CON
Timo Holopainen, Principal Lecturer Sales
Turku University of Applied Sciences
12h15 Marketing in the circular economy area
Xavier Battinger, Directeur Customer Solution Development,
Ricoh Industry France SAS
13h00 Lunch
14h00 DigiDemo Project results
– Esben Laursen, UCN: Introduction
Thomas Röhr, ESTA Belfort: State of the Art
Horatiu Pilsan, FH Vorarlberg: Framework
Cristian Chioncel, UBB Resita: Evaluation
Tommy Hvidsten, Fagskolen I Viken: Training Concept
15h30 Coffee Break with discussion on DigiDemo and Digital Sales

Participation is free, but registration is mandatory to receive the link to join the conference.

    The DigiDemo Team confirms that the above-given personal data will only be used in line with the organisation of the DigiDemo Final Conference.

    What does the education sector look like in a Danish context?

    DigiDemo asked Torben Momme from the University College of Northern Denmark to give his perspectives on this matter.

    Education is a central part of a democratic society, according to Torben Momme: I see education as a life-long process. Perhaps even more nowadays than in the past. Because society develops so quickly, educating yourself is an ongoing process.

    Most students are motivated and proactive. However, there is a “small” group of approximately 25 % with need of extra guidance and support during their study time. Some of the youth often don’t realize the purpose of being educated. Furthermore, these students need more structure once they have started their studies. We, therefore, need to find a good recipe to guide them.

    In DigiDemo, we are developing a number of demonstrators aiming at different topics within mechatronics and sustainability. We hope that implementing and using “hands-on” demonstrators in our teaching activities will help the students to better and more easily learn. Especially the students in need of more structure and guidance. The demonstrators represent a very clear task to the students, supporting them to seek out knowledge by themselves: One of the problems is getting students to study long enough and stay on enough hours to get the knowledge to be on the front edge. With DigiDemo, we hope to change that. 

    However, Torben Momme also emphasizes that the majority of students are very motivated to learn, and they strive to be at the forefront of developments – and that’s in an education system in a good condition: Some parts of the education system are moving ahead, and that’s really good. We have a general understanding among most young people that they need to get an education. That’s really nice.

    Where a small group of students needs structure and guidance, the majority of students are proactive in their search for knowledge: The young people who are moving forward are perhaps more industrious than we were, and they may have an even better framework than we had. They can quickly find additional things themselves that fit into what they are now researching. In comparison, the rest of us had to read a long series of books – and didn’t always finish.

    Torben Momme is looking forward to a future, where even more students are at the forefront of developments: All in all, I think the education sector is doing well and that many of the programs are moving forward, he concludes.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Evaluation is important in every approach, even more so in education

    Interview with Conf. univ. dr. ing. Cristian Paul CHIONCEL of the Engineering Faculty at UNIVERSITATEA “BABEŞ-BOLYAI”

    The DigiDemo project aims at improving engineering education on smart products through demonstrators. What kind of demonstrators have you developed?

    The demonstrators developed have been focused to improve the students’ competencies through interdisciplinarity knowledge and understanding between the areas of electronics, mechanics and IoT. To place the growth of technical education on solid foundations, the until now,  developed demonstrators in the Faculty of Engineering of the Babes-Bolyai University, CNC machine, Robot and Structural Health Monitoring, seeks to contribute to an easier and more practical understanding of the phenomena used and controlled, in the engineering applications.

    Centrul Universitar UBB Reşiţa is the responsible partner for evaluation. Why is evaluation important?

    Evaluation is important in every approach, even more so in education. Students’ knowledge is evaluated, but, also, the tools that support the learning process are also subject of evaluation. The role of the developed demonstrators is to improve the understanding in the classes where they are implemented, but, also, awareness related to present and future challenges, as sustainability. It is important, for each partner institution, to know where they are with the proposed targets! Each evaluation process is also tied to a continuous process of improvement, such the identified minuses can be remedied.

    How do you practically do evaluation?

    The evaluation process is based on formal and informal feedback from students who use demonstrators in activities with application character. The formal evaluation is based on an online survey completed anonymously by the students. The questionnaire was developed based on the feedback from all partners obtained in the online and on-site project meetings. Important, as well, is the informal feedback obtained on the spot from the students while they use the demonstrator.

    Do you already have feed-back from students? How do they evaluate the use of demonstrators in their study programme?

    Based on the feedback from the students, the use of the demonstrators developed and implemented in the project is positive! The main tracked directions sought to be achieved are widely perceived to have been attained.

    4th Transnational Meeting in Reşita, Romania

    On 1st and 2nd February, all DigiDemo partners have been welcomed and hosted by Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai in Reşita.

    The meeting mainly focused on evaluation aspects: The peer-review evaluation of the partners’ 3rd and 4th demonstrators as well as the discovery of the students’ evaluations of the first demonstrators, with very encouraging results. Partners also discussed the first video of the training concept that will explain how to replicate and use the demonstrators.

    Project partners discover the first demonstrator from Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, a three axis system used to teach engineering students

    Partners also discovered different ambitious projects from the Municipality of Reşita during the visit from Mrs Ildikó Pataki, Advisor for educational politics of the Mayor of Reşita, as well as the very interesting Muzeul Cineastului Amator located in the facilities of the university. This is a private museum with historical film cameras and cinema equipment, often still working, and the owner Andrei Balbarau shared his passion with the group.

    Mrs Ildikó Pataki, Advisor for educational politics of the Mayor of Reşita, presenting the different educational and economic projects of the municipality
    A small part of the collection of Andrei Balbarau’s Muzeul Cineastului Amator

    This was also the opportunity to prepare the final conference on 14th and 15th June 2023 in Belfort France, with an exciting programme to come.

    For most of the partners, this meeting has been the first time in Romania, and discovering Reşita, and Timisoara as stopover, was a great experience.

    Thank you very much again to our partner Cristian Chioncel from the Engineering Department of the Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai for his kindness and warm welcome.

    Study programmes must continuously adapt to market evolutions

    Interview with Thomas Röhr, International Director and DigiDemo coordinator at ESTA Belfort, France

    In 1986, some big companies around Belfort/France established ESTA Belfort, – a private school, which main purpose was – and still is – to educate sales engineers, or to graduate students with both technical as well as commercial skills.

    The companies were looking for employees who were able to sell their highly technological products on international markets. As they couldn’t find the right profiles in French higher education institutions, they decided to create their own school and to build up a sales engineering degree including technology, sales marketing & marketing, and management elements with a strong focus on internationalisation, and all in one study program. And the ease with which students find a job after graduation, in France and abroad, is the best proof of this still unique study programme, Thomas Röhr explains.

    Study programmes must continuously adapt to market evolutions. The DigiDemo project is a mean to develop new interactive technological teaching content to catalyse the education of the companies’ future employees.

    With the DigiDemo demonstrators we evolve our technical teaching and teach skills that are similar to those, students need when they are selling connected products and need to understand all of its technological aspects in their negotiation with the customer.

    Thomas Röhr precises: We discovered that only few local companies were working on connected products that could be used for teaching. And he continues: It was difficult to get companies involved in DigiDemo as direct project partners. The local industry’s focus still lays on high tech products in the transport and energy sectors, and connected products in these domains are not what we were looking for as demonstrators.

    However, these suppliers of energy and transportation companies are well aware of the importance of developing connected products, as well as of integrating connected products in a connected production. In consequence, they are very keen on recruiting students who dispose of necessary skills and are able to understand functioning and added-value of such products .

    In that transition towards Industry 4.0, Thomas Röhr explains the students’ hands on-experiences in the companies:

    DigiDemo demonstrators have been used with our third- and fourth-year students. Sutdents worked in groups and had to develop the demonstrators under supervision of ESTA teachers. They had to apply and combine different skills learned in the previous study years, and to acquire additional ones. This was also an opportunity to bring students from the Industry 4.0 and the Digital Transformation specialisations together in one mission. So, they mutually learned from each other and enhanced their understanding of the “other” specialisation.

    To further create a close-to-reality situation, working on the DigiDemo demonstrators had been combined with the Project Management lecture; students had to develop and apply, e.g., planning, risk management, team organisation, kick-off- and progress meetings…

    While some of the students take their new skills abroad, others will join regional companies as employees and let them benefit from these enhanced skills about connected products. Mission from the founders accomplished.