What Is Industry 4.0 and How Will it Affect Us?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will lay improvements across 3 new sectors: smart communication, data quality, and smart devices....
What Is Industry 4.0 and How Will it Affect Us?
Written by Brian Wallace
  • Informally, Industrial Revolutions are referred to as Industry “Points O’s.” The First Industrial Revolution, or Industry 1.0, took place between 1760 and 1830, the second following up shortly after between 1870-1914. Between 1950-2002, the world underwent “digitalization” as a result of the Third Industrial Revolution, or Industry 3.0; and since 2011, we have been undergoing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, more commonly known as Industry 4.0. As a result of digitalization, data intelligence has been a primary driver in prospective industry revolutions. 

    As a result of Industry 1.0, machines and tools were able to replace animal and human labor. This was especially monumental for its time (1760-1830).  How? The use of iron and steel for machinery began to skyrocket. As a result, working class citizens were able to create new resources, such as steam and internal combustion engines – which went on to drive a sector of the economy in itself.

    Under Industry 2.0 (1870-1914), workers of the mass production industry saw many days of sunshine. For the first time, assembly line efficiency and productivity was lightened and shipping was made easier due to the invention of railways and telegraphs – another product of Industry 2.0. More along, new materials such as stainless steel and plastics were introduced as societal benefits.

    Things got more technological under Industry 3.0 (1950-2002). The Third Industrial Revolution introduced electronics and IT, as well integrated them into manufacturing procedures. As a result, society saw a massive rise in telecommunications, computers, and even nuclear power. There was also a noteworthy widespread in factory automation, such as the incorporation of robots and PLCs to contribute to the general workflow.

    Since 2011, interconnectivity has been the key focus. Already, Industry 4.0 is set to provide higher-level automation driven by artificial intelligence, as well as optimized manufacturing using real-time data and sensors. Additionally, this Industrial Revolution is focusing on a way to integrate cyber-physical systems throughout the supply chain.

    In its outcome, Industry 4.0 will have used big data and machine learning to automate plants, warehouses, machines, and more. Furthermore, Industry 4.0 will have created smart machines that will be capable of collecting and analyzing data, as well as communicating the right information at the right time.

    In other words, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will lay improvements across 3 new sectors: smart communication, data quality, and smart devices. 

    Smart communication allows manufacturers to rapidly respond to changing demand, inventory shortfalls, or equipment faults. Data Quality helps companies quickly locate problems so they can respond to them quicker. Additionally, data quality can be refined through organization-wide networks. Smart Devices create increasingly autonomous ecosystems that act as a catalyst for the future of the industry. Examples of these include driverless vehicles and drones. Driverless vehicles can navigate factories and warehouses, and drones can be used for maintenance and inventory management.

    With that being said, business owners should seek insights on the ways they’re being impacted by Industry 4.0 In other words, this is a great time to prepare an effective data structure, focus on high-fidelity data creation and communication, standardardized business and data process, and understand your business’ use case. If even one important portion of the data is missing, it can break the digital thread – causing the flow of data to stop.

    Is your data ready for Industry 4.0? Find out in the infographic below.

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