#88 What is Industry 4.0?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here. Many routine jobs are already automated, but still more of the people’s work will still be replaced in the near future by automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, or robotics. Instead of just watching, companies need to gain an understanding of change and be able to create a change strategy. It will help make sensible decisions for decades to come.

Industrial revolutions are short period in the history of mankind from the end of the 18th century to the present day. Revolutions continue to follow each other and their effects are becoming increasingly difficult to predict. Societies need to play a stronger and broader role in managing change.

The First Revolution gave birth to factories, introduced water and steam power, and mechanized work. The Second Revolution introduced wide use of electricity and created mass production (i.e. Ford's assembly lines) . The Third Industrial Revolution was built on electronics and information technology (also known as The Digital Revolution).

The ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industy 4.0) is based on the automation created by The Third Revolution and the large-scale and unprecedented introduction of techonologies like robotics, IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Each of us is part of this revolution that is built on the connectivity of these modern technologies.

Industry 4.0 technologies

For years, we’ve seen a variety of virtual assistants, predictive AI, and chat-bots - yet we’re still in the early stages of The Industy 4.0. The easiest way to understand the phenomenon is to study what companies at this forefront are doing and strive to create own strategy based on them. The benefits of Industy 4.0 are undeniable.

Today’s successful companies strive to plan ahead with a clear but changeable plan. They control performance with real-time data. Company structures such as management promote growth and innovation as well as continuous development and change management. In the future, bold companies that will be able to make radical changes quickly if necessary, are the most successful. However, instead of mere intuition, companies need to be more data-driven. As most blog posts have already stated, data is one of the most important asset of a company. In the Industry 4.0, data monetization and its potential as a change driver will be highlighted.

Benefits of Industy 4.0

Large-scale integrations are the key, and I’m not just talking about technological integrations. Companies need to effectively get rid of siloed and unprofitable activities. Data can be used to make things transparent, understandable and measurable. It is the driver of change.

From the data economy perspective, Industry 4.0 allows companies to get a huge amount of data, for example, from more and more measurement points or different stages of production. Massive utilization of data also requires control over its productization. Monetization of manufacturing data enables companies to improve their productivity and sustainability. It also allows data to be translated into new revenue streams.