Technology has changed the way we used to live our lives. It has changed how we shop, work, order food and even entertain ourselves. But these changes are just not about our everyday life, but technology has a notable effect in the world of industry.
Originally introduced by the German government in the year of 2013, Industry 4.0 is the classification given to the continuous incorporation of conventional manufacturing and industrial practices with the adaptation of technology, present around us.
Commonly a hub of innovation, the industrial sector is set to reap the benefits greatly from the upcoming generations of technological development using the newest approaches to increase productivity and efficiency via Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 will bring a revolution of a connected ecosystem of IoT (Internet of Things). This will help consumers and manufacturers by enabling automation, enhanced communication and monitoring, self-diagnosis, and improved analytical capabilities to provide a productive future.
The result would be astounding. Implementation of the technological ecosystem will make the factories automated and enable self-monitoring capabilities as the machines within will be given the ability to analyse and communicate with each other and their human co-workers, conferring companies smoother processes that reduce the workload on the workers so that they can focus on other tasks.
If this is Industry 4.0 then what happened to Industry 2.0 and 3.0?
Do you remember the Industrial Revolution? If not, then let me give you a short brief. In the late eighteen century with the adoption of new manufacturing procedures, including steam power and various innovations impacted employment, economic output and changed the living standards of people. This is famously known as the Industrial Revolution.
Most don't know but there were two subsequent industrial revolutions since. The Second Industrial Revolution is usually estimated to have occurred between 1870 and 1914 with the First World War, which was denoted by steel and large-scale iron production. The Third Industrial Revolution took place much recently. It was between the 1950s and 1970s, which was marked by the adoption of digital technologies which included the Internet, computers and mobile phones.
Thanks, to the evolving technology propelling innovation and development, we are all set for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, now known as Industry 4.0.
What does Industry 4.0 imply?
Businesses now are all focused on Industry 4.0 and what benefits it will bear for them.
The previous industrial revolutions led to huge opportunities, but also challenges. Many worker and organizations had to adapt to the rapidly changing and evolving industrial environment.
Experts predicted some technology would emerge such as IoT as a part of connected technology which would be adopted by industrial firms. They are as follows:
- IoT isn't the only driver for Industry 4.0. Technologies such as ML (Machine Learning), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Big Data analytics are expected to contribute towards vital industry developments and advances.
- Cloud Computing will remain vital in Industry 4.0 as it will help industries store and access their information remotely.
- Network technology will also play an important role in Industry 4.0 as any insights and efficiencies generated by IoT devices would be required to be accessed quickly and with ease.
When will Industry 4.0 take place?
If you think about it, Industry 4.0 is already here. The increasing adoption of IoT globally has led to our surrounding becoming smarter, interconnected and led to innovation in various industries.
Many businesses are leveraging a variety of connected technologies as they are looking to improve and enhance their work processes.
Since Germany has been the primary advocate of Industry 4.0, with homegrown companies such as Volkswagen and Siemens investing heavily into this area.
Companies all around the world are now working towards this revolution, trying to make their processes efficient and smarter. In due time the benefits of enhanced technological integration will show their true colour.
What are the challenges with 4.0?
If companies want to benefit from Industry 4.0 they must be ready to defeat some of the challenges headed their way.
Firstly there would be security loopholes and breaches as more and more devices would be connected to the internet. Every new access point is another potential threat. So the organization needs to ensure that a good security system is in place, before adopting the Internet of Things. Even the security regulations would have to be adjusted as in time, vital information about businesses could be accessed over a network connection.
Network reliability, just like security will also be a rigid challenge for businesses. The benefits of productivity from Industry 4.0 can only be assessed if M2M (machine-to-machine) communication is swift, streamlined and reliable. In time the increase of connected devices will put an extra load on the organizations' network infrastructure and push governments to ensure that internet speed is up to the mark.
There is also the human aspect in Industry 4.0, which can be viewed as a challenge along with other technical issues. It would be necessary for businesses to train their employees with the required skills needed to handle new technologies and the new way of working. Getting the employees to adopt IoT or Industry 4.0, in itself is a challenge. Even if organizations are willing to train their employees again for Industry 4.0 and the employees are willing, then it will create new jobs in the market. However, it is needless to say that this change may be met with some resistance.
That organization and business who fear Industry 4.0, it is essential to remember that every major industrial transformation has been achieved by its fair share of successes and defeats. Businesses should embrace Industry 4.0 by taking steps for necessary planning and preparation. Organizations should be transparent with their employees and customers educating them of the shortcoming propelled by this digital transformation. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will merge the real and the virtual world to make even a bigger impact than the previous three.
If you are looking for such a digital transformation for your business, then do visit us.