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Industry 4.0 - Four things that everybody MUST know

21 June 2017

So far the world has seen 3 industrial revolutions. First came the invention of mechanics, powered by steam or water. Then in the early 1900s we saw how the emergence of electricity, the assembly line and mass production changed the world. Thirdly, after WW2, computers and automation reinvented the way we live, work and communicate. But did you know we are about to witness the 4th industrial revolution? Where companies integrate their entire operations into a seamless digital whole, and thereby change the world forever.

So what exactly is Industry 4.0? According to Wikipedia, Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing. Many new technologies like robotics, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, data analytics, and digital fabrication are often seen as separate items. But when they are brought together, they integrate the physical and virtual worlds bringing the speed of processors and software to large-scale machine production.

By entering Industry 4.0, we step into a new world. A world where computers and automation will come together, creating cyber-physical systems that can learn and control environments with very little input from human operators. To help you understand what this means, we give you the 4 things you MUST know about Industry 4.0.

1.    SMART FACTORY - Industry 4.0 introduces the concept of the “Smart Factory”. A factory where physical systems become the Internet of Things, communicating and cooperating with each other and with humans in real time via the Internet.

2.    MACHINE LEARNING – In a Smart Factory, Cyber Physical Systems have the ability to learn through learning algorithms and thereby make simple decisions on their own and become as autonomous as possible.

3.    INTER-OPERABILITY – For a company to be considered in line with Industry 4.0, all machines, devices, sensors and people must be connected and communicate with one another. For example, products and services have to become responsive and interactive, tracking their own activity and its results, along with the activity of other products around them.

4.    DATA SECURITY – Data security takes on a new dimension in Industry 4.0 environments. Proprietary production knowledge now becomes an IT security problem. And problems in the IT infrastructure can breach the integrity of the production process or could cause expensive production outages. The recent British Airways power outage is a vivid example of this.

The question is not if Industry 4.0 is coming, but how quickly. As with any revolution, you can stay on the side and see what happens. You may reap some benefits and avoid the mistakes others have made. But the real winners are those businesses that stand on the barricades and make the change happen. The winners will be the first to hire the scarce talent that’s out there to build these systems. Do you want to be part of this new revolution?

hare in the comments how Industry 4.0 could affect you. 
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