Industry 4.0 as a strategic concept - a remedy for offshoring, bottlenecks in the raw material market, environmental restrictions, high employment costs and staff deficits. Mission: to rebuild Germany's position as a transcontinental leader in key industries. Ideational components and key technologies. Success conditions, threats and challenges. Focus: Human factor - demographic conditions, brain drain and consequences for Eastern European countries. New qualification requirements for industry staff. Dysfunctions of higher technical education in Eastern European countries and future challenges. Presentation of the results of piloting questionnaire conducted among engineering students in Rzeszów.