I’m a numbers guy. Have been for quite some time. So how could I ever find myself in a situation where even the most basic math problems seem challenging? Quadratic equations? Slope? Negative integers? Oh, my!

When I think back to helping my son with math homework (after a quick refresh from Algebra for Dummies), I remember reiterating a very simple rule: isolate the variable and solve for x!

It’s since dawned on me that this simple rule isn’t far removed from the problems we’re solving at Hexagon. We’re focused on a bold, multi-industry movement we call the Smart X. It involves the very toughest of equations – how to make our cities safe. How to sustainably farm and feed a fast-growing population. How to make refineries more efficient. How to mine responsibly and manufacture products faster, with less waste and higher quality.

The Smart Mine, Farm, Plant, Factory, … you fill in the blank. The x is what we solve for, and x always requires one very important thing: a Smart Digital Reality.

Those of you who know me know that I hate buzzwords or the latest acronyms, so you’re justified in wondering what I mean by smart digital reality. You might be thinking, “Isn’t it just The Digital Twin I’ve been hearing so much about?” Or maybe you thought it’s part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution driven by the Industrial IoT.

A smart digital reality is much more than all of that. It’s the variable required to solve for x.

### Think Digital First & Absolutely Connected

In its most generic sense, the Smart X is an intelligent ecosystem, comprised of a “systems of systems”, often automated or autonomous in nature. Think of it as an infinite number of feedback loops that provide the complete picture.

To solve for x in the Smart X equation, you need to follow two simple rules: (1) digital first, and (2) absolutely connected.

Digital first requires capturing the entire ecosystem digitally. This includes all of its physical assets; for instance, all the buildings and infrastructure of a city in perfect 3D, or every single part of an oil refinery, down to the last bolt. But it also includes capturing the related terrain, environment, documents, workflows, … everything.

That “digital twin” you were thinking about a moment ago, is not a “smart digital reality”. What makes it smart? This is key – it must be absolutely connected. Events must be captured as they happen in real time. This multi-source content must be fused with and augmented by advanced analytics (think artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, etc.) and powerful visualisation (think vivid, photo-realistic, mixed reality, etc.) in order to simplify the complex and ultimately, deliver the complete picture.

The smart digital reality is what enables the digital transformation of inefficient systems in order to address the 21st century’s most critical challenges.

By solving for x in the Smart X equation, Hexagon is revolutionising industries in a way that’s unprecedented in history. We’re ensuring a more productive, efficient and sustainable future.

That’s shaping smart change. Now back to more math problems… wish me luck!

The Shape of Potential. Shaping Smart Change.

Ola Rollén has served as the President and CEO of Hexagon, as well as a member of its Board of Directors, since 2000. As President and CEO, Rollén is responsible for driving the company’s growth, both organically and through strategic acquisitions that continue to transform Hexagon into a leading global provider of information technologies. Prior to joining Hexagon, Rollén held the positions of President of Sandvik Materials Technology, Executive Vice President of Avesta-Sheffield and President of Kanthal. He also previously served as a board member of Vestas Wind Systems A/S. Rollén holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.