Industry 4.0 featured prominently at the Munich Reply Xchange (Photo: Arjen Bongard)

MUNICH -- Reply SpA has signed an agreement with The Data Incubator to bring more data-analysis expertise to European companies.

Reply, which operates a network of companies focused on developing new, connected technologies and business models, said it will bring The Data Incubator's data scientist training programs exclusively to Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Industrial companies, including the world's major automakers, are looking for data experts to help them adapt business models to a digital world where data and data analysis can be as important as the physical products that are manufactured.

The US-based Data Incubator organization offers eight-week data-science training programs that include special emphasis on machine learning, data visualization and distributed computing.

Reply is currently hosting a series of  exhibitions under the "Reply Xchange" banner. The gatherings serve as a showcase for Reply-affiliated companies that have developed technologies for the digital transformation.

At the Reply Xchange in Munich last week, there were demonstrations of new technologies in cloud computing, big data analytics and Industry 4.0 technologies. Companies showed how virtual reality can help with industrial maintenance, how 3D printing processes are simplified and how smart building technology can save energy and reduce costs.

In the area of Industry 4.0, demonstrations included safety wearables, new supply-chain technologies and other data-driven systems.

Sentryo, a French startup partly funded by Reply, showed software that can detect anomalies on data networks, which can alert companies to possible cyber threats. Sentryo officials said that, in the auto industry, the technology is already used by Renault, while a pilot project with BMW is getting underway shortly.

Separately, Reply said it had acquired marketing consultants Trommsdorff + Druner, in a move that will broaden the group's international reach to growth markets such as China.

TD, which has offices in Berlin and Beijing, specializes in using smart data to develop better marketing strategies.

Thomas Hartmann, executive partner at Reply Germany, said the acquisition will "help our clients drive business, expand impact and reshape mindsets for the era of digital transformation."

-By Arjen Bongard