On September 21, 2016, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, presented the “Industrial National Plan 4.0”, for 2017-2020 , which takes into account principles set out in “Industry 4.0” issued by the European Parliament in September 2015.

The term “Industry 4.0”, originated in Germany, means ‘the comprehensive transformation of the whole sphere of industrial production through the merging of digital technology and the internet with conventional industry” (German Chancellor Angela Merkel). However, the concept, in other European countries, may variously be labelled: Smart factories, the Industrial Internet of Things, Smart industry, or Advanced manufacturing

The Italian “Industrial National Plan 4.0” aims at supporting industrial change through its industrial policy and through research and infrastructure funding.

The industrial sector is important to the Italian economy and can be considered a driver of growth and employment. In this regard, the Industrial National Plan 4.0 defines new strategic measures that Italy is going to implement in order to support innovative technological developments, promoting investments required to encourage enterprises to increase their productivity through redefining business models and creating new products and services.

In this regard, the Italian Plan, in order to support Industry 4.0 developments, defines four strategic measures:

1) promotion of private investment in technologies, support to research, development and innovation, promotion of investment in venture capital and start-up firms; 2) promotion of I 4.0 education programs and skills development, creation of Competence Center and Digital Innovation Hub; 3) implementation of the Ultra Broadband Plan, and collaboration for the definition of IoT standard communication protocols; 4) adoption of public measures to ensure private investments, support large investments in innovation; strengthen and innovate the supervision of international market.

As part of its promotion of digital economy, the Italian “Industrial National Plan 4.0” has defined actions, focused in the promotion of investment in innovation, that aims inter alia at attracting €10 billion of additional private industrial investments by 2017, through tax incentives and depreciations; increasing private investments up to €11,3 billion through tax credit for research, innovation and development; and supporting investments in venture capital and start-up firms up to €2,6 billion through tax deductions to 30% for investments up to € 1 Million in innovative SMEs.