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Making Sense of 4IR

Making Sense of 4IR 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR needs no further introduction. It’s been bandied about for a number of years now.

Forget all the technobabble surrounding it. You hear it called the digital revolution, a transformation of how we work and live, but how much is it really going to impact us?

According to the World Economic Forum, “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.” However substantial or hyperbolical these claims are, although these technological shifts are well known, but their consequences are still not well understood.

This will require a seismic shift in the mentality of everyone of us. Currently however, many people are still confused and they have been led to think that digital technology is what industry 4.0 is all about.

In effect, the contours of industry 4.0 are driven by three formidable trends—physical, biological and digital. In the physical realm, a lot of things are changing. However, there are misconceptions where a lot of the conversations that revolve around industry 4.0 seem to look at it as 3D printing and the likes. So if you are in manufacturing, you need to look into whether this applies to you.

Meanwhile, in the physical realm, industry 4.0 relates to all kinds of sensors and it is not limited to digital. Industry 4.0 might have applications in many areas, but it is more about manufacturing because manufacturing is now widely affected by the three mega trends taking hold.

In dealing with these new trends, businesses need to fully comprehend the factors that will impact or kill their business. By rummaging through the possibilities, the first thing that we need to ask is how do I manage my business. How do I manage my company’s activities to improve effectiveness, productivity and profitability?

Talking about the fourth industrial revolution, think about how you can leverage the three mega-trends to improve what you’re currently doing. Rather than deal with these trends reactively, in practice, it is more about tapping on the opportunities than managing the risks. Neither it is about fending off new competition.

Certainly not acting is a sure way to become defunct utility and as new technologies become more agile, local companies need to figure out a way to leverage them in their production for efficiency, productivity profitability.

And last but not least, businesses need to ask themselves where do they look for new opportunities. With such economics, it is possible to envisage that along with the three mega-trends gaining traction and changing many sectors and industries, we should view disruptions as opportunities instead.

The ground beneath our feet is constantly moving. Innovation continuity promoted by the next revolution is leading to one final symmetry, requiring us to adopt new technologies as tools for improvement.

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