Dramatic progress in the fields of embedded micro devices, mobile communication, software and computing power have not only changed our daily life but will rapidly reshape industrial products, engineering processes and organizational structures. "Industry 4.0", "Cyber-Physical Systems", "Ubiquitous Computing" and "Internet of Things" are only a few examples of buzzwords trying to reflect these revolutionary changes which will lead to a convergence of the real physical world and the permanently growing digital world.
Smart Product Engineering - the topic of this conference - attempts to address these tremendous changes of both industrial products and engineering processes. In the context of product creation "smart" is not only a new fashionable word but refers to the following meanings: "clever", "intelligent", "ingenious" and "agile". Smart products are a new generation of products equipped with micro sensors, computing power and mobile communication capabilities i.e. smart phones. However, not only consumer goods but also industrial products can become "smart" if embedded intelligence is applied. Then they are able to react instantly to environmental changes and to communicate with IT infrastructures or with other products. Smart Product Engineering describes processes, methods and tools for the creation of these smart products. Engineering processes could also exploit the newest IT developments in order to reduce and better integrate the increasing task complexity. In the last five years, a wave of research initiatives, start-up companies and marketing campaigns have addressed the new "smart" topic.
These "smart" developments offer huge opportunities to enhance task efficiency and to create more sustainable products. In order to exploit these opportunities it is necessary to provide new, highly interdisciplinary methods, organization concepts and IT tools. The presentations scheduled in the conference program will give an overview of the main research activities and the industrial practice towards Smart Product Engineering.