Technology is transforming at a very fast pace. We all have seen huge digital transformations in numerous industries. We are in the midst of a significant transformation regarding the way we develop products and provide services, all thanks to the digitization. The transition was so huge and compelling that we have already reached Industry 4.0 which represents the fourth industrial revolution.
Industry 4.0 is quickly changing the landscape of industries. It can also be described as the current influx of technology innovations in the fields of automation and data analytics. Industry 4.0 is profoundly and exponentially affecting companies across several industries. The fourth industrial revolution has been here for more than a decade; however, it has just begun to show its potential. By the year 2030, Industry 4.0 could add $14 Trillion to the global economy, whereas the first wave of IIoT adopters could achieve a 30% increase in productivity.
As per the Forbes, the percentage of manufacturers expected to be highly digitized by 2020 compared to 2016, an increase from 33% of businesses to 72%. According to the survey performed by the global consulting firm, PwC, digitalization will drive quantum leaps in performance. PwC expects that annual revenue to increase by 2.9% and reduce costs by 3.6% by the year 2022. The survey also suggested that customers will be at the heart of Industry 4.0, as products and services are customized as per individual’s needs.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution appears to be changing the way businesses function and operate. Industry 4.0 can be defined as a combination of several major innovations in digital technology. It comprises enormous potential as it encompasses various transformations that we are already witnessing in the technological world. The biggest differentiator that comes in Industry 4.0 is the way how we integrate these technologies and relate them. To revolutionize the industry, with technological innovations, it is very necessary to create intelligent, connected, and capable teams of self-management.
Industry 4.0 can be characterized by the integration of autonomous robots, machinery, and other smart technologies. It can also be considered as a first step towards utilizing smart technologies, especially in the manufacturing industry, with more focus on connectivity with clients or customers. As more smart technologies are implemented into business processes and architectures, there is always space for more potential. Connected machines will now interact, visualize the production chain and make business decisions autonomously.
The fourth industrial revolution is a combination of physical and digital technologies which comprises nine foundational technology advancements. These foundational technology advancements can also be considered as the nine pillars of Industry 4.0, which includes:
- The Industrial Internet of Things: The Industrial Internet of Things refers to using the Internet to connect all the smart devices of business. Thinking of IoT devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops or any IoT gadgets can be connected to the Internet and used for machine to machine communication, machine learning, sensor data, etc.
- Augmented Reality: Augmented Reality can be defined as a technology that displays digital content in the real world with the help of a device such as AR glasses. Augmented Reality (AR) is utilized to perform several business operations and in the future, we also hope that industries use AR to help employees fix their issues.
- Simulation: Simulation uses real-time data to reflect the physical world of product development and production processes in a virtual environment. These Simulations can be used to run more efficient tests so settings and processes are optimized before production ever starts.
- Cyber-security: With increased connectivity, networking and integration, it’s increasingly important for businesses to ensure high levels of cybersecurity, as the risk of a potential cyber-attack grows alongside. A simple security breach could be able to do unimaginable damages to business operations.
- Big Data Analytics: Big Data & Analytics refers to the complex process of acquiring data, such as customer preferences and choices, market trends, and what consumers are searching for. Big data analytics help businesses to make smart decisions based on predictive analysis and statistical algorithms.
- Additive Manufacturing: Additive manufacturing is the process of producing in-house items at a lower cost. In simple terms, organizations would be able to develop a customized product as per their own requirements, instead of outsourcing. 3-D printing allows developers to create a prototype and develop individual components.
- System Integration: System integration comprises two major components, i.e. Horizontal Integration and Vertical Integration. Horizontal integration is the networking of machines and systems within a manufacturing line and between suppliers and customers. Vertical integration is the process of connecting all levels of production from the production department.
- Cloud Computing: With the increased utilization of technology and data sharing, cloud computing has now become the first and foremost choice of organizations for enhanced computing power. Cloud computing allows companies to store and share multitudes of data and information.
- Autonomous Robots: Autonomous robots are likely the new future. These collaborative robots are designed to fill the gaps between traditional robots and human beings. Autonomous robots are the new smarter robots that can easily interact and learn from humans.
Industry 4.0 is redefining manufacturing with new trends, insights, and technologies made easily accessible with digital solutions designed to streamline business operations, and enhance processes efficiency. With the help of big data analytics, IIoT, and automation, digital manufacturers will rely on equipment that can make proactive and evidence-based decisions.