How Prepared Are You and Your Company for the Industry 4.0: The Role of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Industrial Automation
The 4th wave in the real sense speaks for its name in respect to the current trend and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. This characterizes a range of fusion of new technologies from the physical, biological and digital worlds, hence impacting industries and economizing and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human. These resulting shifts and disruptions go to say that we live in a time of great promise and great peril at the same time.
The world has the capacity to connect its population (about billions of us) in order to dramatically improve the efficiency of organizations and even manage assets in methods at which we can reproduce the natural environment, hopefully fixing the damage caused by previous revolutions. Here are the main characteristics of three industrial revolutions:
- The First Industrial Revolution (Industry 1.0): mechanized production with the use of steam and water;
- The Second Industrial Revolution (Industry 2.0): mass production;
- The Third Industrial Revolution (Industry 3.0): automated production brought by electronics and information technology.
Now the awaiting transformation cannot actually be considered as a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution because of its disruptive propagation, exponential evolution and a speed transformation with no historical precedent.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What Is There to Know?
We are at the pedestal of technological innovation here: a change, an incredible transformation. According to Klaus Schwab, the executive chairman and founder of World Economic Forum (WEF), Industry 4.0 is a “technological innovation that will fundamentally alter the way we work, live and interact with one another”. The highly anticipated age would involve the integration of biological, physical and digital systems as well as boost a new method of interaction between machines and humans.
Established in the first three Industrial Revolutions before it, this will show the increasing speed of technological progress by the fusion of their boundaries.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will rule the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Technological innovation is said to be the best and promising part of these phases of the Industrial Revolution. These are some of the great milestones set in the Fourth Industrial Revolution:
- Smart robotics;
- Automated cars;
- 3D printing;
- Autonomous vehicles;
- Synthetic biology;
- Computation design;
- Energy storage;
- Quantum computing;
- Internet of Things (IoT).
A WEF paper by Nicholas Davis, the head of Society and Innovation, states that “reliant on the technologies and infrastructure of the Third Industrial Revolution…, represent entirely new ways, in which technology becomes embedded within societies and even human bodies. The new ways include genome editing, new forms of machine intelligence, and breakthrough approaches to governance that rely on cryptographic methods such as blockchain.”
Impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
What are those massive opportunities and grave challenges that the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings?
- The Skills Will Overrule the Labor Market
The labor market will be one of the direct areas that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will affect. The level at which people will lose their jobs, especially for low-skill jobs, will be at a high frequency due to the increasing technological invasion. Hence, high-skill jobs will be in high demand. According to economists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, the imbalance in the labor market will steadily increase. An estimate made in the Oxford University confirmed that exactly 62 people own just as much as the poorer half of the world’s population and that the wealth of the poorest 50% went down by 41% as of 2010.
Furthermore, a report by the Swiss Bank reflects that the rate at which AI and Robotics spread will pose a threat to economies like India and some Latin American countries by wiping out their cheap labor advantage. As Boston Consulting Group (BCG) states, in 2025 the global robotic market is expected to reach 66.9 bn USD. Moreover, the researchers from the Oxford University have projected that up to 35% of UK workers as well as 47% of US workers are likely to lose their jobs in the next 20 years. This means that the language of the labor market will take a larger space as well as be in larger demand much more than the capital during the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
- An Improvised Quality of Living
Since the inception of technology, it has helped improve the quality of life for populations. Increased efficiency, availability of new products, easier accessibility to market and pleasure of personal lives – the digital world will create an affordable standard of living for everyone. Beginning from the high-end crucial daily requirements such as buying a product, making a transaction to casual personal needs like watching a movie or listening to music, will be done easily. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will truly end up transforming the lives of people in quality.
- Massive Gain in Productivity and Efficiency
It is a fact that the automation and technological innovation of this new age will greatly increase industries in terms of their productivity and efficiency. Long-term profits are very certain and a decrease in the transportation, communication and trade costs coupled with the increased effectiveness of logistics and global supply chains will boost the economic growth and also encourage new markets to open up. Nowadays it is easier to run a trade with fewer workers than it was over 25 years ago. An industry can acquire good profits with a smart app having minimum requirements of capital as well as storage, logistics and transportation charges. In economic terms, the ROI (Return-On-Investment) will sky-rocket while the marginal cost per unit of output will tend to zero.
- The Impact On The Business World: Is This a Reliable Promise?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have a crucial effect on the business aspect as its growth and development will impact four of these sections:
- Customer expectations;
- Collaborative innovation;
- Organizational forms;
- Product enhancement.
Customers will be the main driver of the business. With increased digital transparency, major changes will arise in the world of data-based services, customer experiences and asset performance. Due to the rate at which new global niches and business models increase, existing cultures, talents and also organizational forms will most definitely need a review on planning and strategizing.
The main drive of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the rate at which it is happening. With technology now at our beck and call, businesses (and even industries) can rise up in little or no time, ultimately changing the way we live our lives. Using AI, business leaders and technology pioneers can build the right solutions and platforms that will eventually improve business outcomes and drive success in today’s ever-growing digital economy.
There are many ways in which Industry 4.0 changes our world, such as:
- Reduction of quantity of job positions due to technological progress;
- Easier satisfaction of people’s needs and wants;
- Higher profits with less requirements and labor force;
- Business growth.
The Industry 4.0 is in every way revolutionary as the previous three concepts, and it’s very evident as we can see. The way of the world is now getting “smarter”. We are now living in a smarter, connected world full of “smart cities” and “smart buildings”, and this is just the beginning. By 2025 what we are calling Industry 4.0 at the moment will be simply known as “industry”. Can you say where you and your business will be by then? Think about it.
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