Unpacking Industry 4.0’s development – what it means and where it really matters
Significantly, Industry 4.0’s movement is envisioned to bring together men, robots and automation in ways never before possible.
A bit of context before we delve further. Essentially, Industry 4.0 movement was kicked off in the second half of the 20th century when the third era of the industrial revolution deployed nuclear energy. This revolution has since witnessed the rise of electronics, the advent of computers and the beginning of automation, as robots and machines began to replace factory workers on the assembly line.
Next, the first three industrial revolutions are again defining the contours of a fourth revolution unfolding right before our eyes in the 21st century. Despite all this, Industry 4.0 has not been adequately understood on the ground. Although Industry 4.0 has become a phrase we love to hate, however, there is absolutely no need to be intimidated by the development.
Quite simply, Industry 4.0 is technological development taking place along three key areas; physical, biological and digital. This evolution is being made possible by emerging technologies that are currently in their best shape and time to mature.
If you are not affected in any of the three dimensions mentioned earlier, there really is no need to panic or sit back either. Despite popular belief, Industry 4.0 spans far beyond digitalisation.
Let’s think of it this way: Industry 4.0 is enabling the economy to do things across these three areas with much higher speed and optimisation. From here, we are going to frame it as the speed of the next economy.
The characteristics of Industry 4.0 can be understood from the perspectives of digital horizontal and vertical integration within the Industry 4.0 ecosystem; which forms four distinctive end-to-end digitalisations in the manufacturing and production sectors.
To achieve this, Industry 4.0 technologies are remapping the economy by replacing mundane adaptive tasks with automation and digital tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR). To a certain degree, we can already see some of the development’s footprint in production and manufacturing.
But this is by no means doom and gloom for us all. Conversely, with better technology platforms, Industry 4.0 allows us to share our resources efficiently to create more income streams. The sharing economy and crowd sourcing are two examples that spring to mind to help us work around the high capital nature of technology investment.
Technology adoption, in the context of Industry 4.0 certainly isn’t a chicken and egg situation. However, businesses need to empower their knowledge regarding Industry 4.0 and the technologies behind it. By doing so, businesses can creatively improvise their business functions to take advantage of the demands Industry 4.0 will soon catalyse.
Case in point, a lot of today’s digital productivity tools can help businesses create the foundation to prepare for the speed of the next economy. Thankfully, we are already familiar with most of them. FaceTime for example, allows employees to work remotely from home and this flexibility, laid out in a new environment to fit tomorrow’s future of work vision can potentially wring out more productivity and value out of our ageing workforce.
In other words, businesses should instead work toward incremental improvements to improve their business operations, such as making communication less rigid and allowing more flexibility at the workplace. In addition to speed, massive amount of data will be collected to support marketing intelligence and product development. This is where Industry 4.0 is making the biggest technology reconfiguration—the use of data to drive action.
Again, if you are not already affected physically, biologically or digitally, it is time to start thinking about the changes that you need to execute along these three domains to formulate your future business plans. Most importantly, figuring out Industry 4.0 should slant more toward how you can benefit from its development and opportunities rather than viewing it as a threat.
With all that said, we can attest that technology adoption or disruption is just one part of the equation. However, working on your improvisation capability during this critical period of transition should be placed as a much higher priority. Needless to say, in the future, speed is an obsession, and a highly profitable economic proposition too.
In a nutshell, Industry 4.0’s concept, technology and techniques will push the global economy to a new level of optimisation and productivity. Additionally, consumers too will enjoy higher refinement from products and services’ customisation. This is just something, a demand that has not been met before—and not to mention, the economic rewards are simply immense. To learn more about Industry 4.0, you can visit myForesight®’s website or read the original article here.
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