1. Industrial Revolution
Rapid technological evolution coupled with integrated digital innovation across different sectors around the globe, the digital transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. The world has gone through three industrial revolutions so far and each of these industrial revolutions is the result of revolutionary innovations.
In 1784, the First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production that revolutionizes sectors in that era especially transportation and logistics. With the advent of electricity in 1870, the second industrial revolution paves the way for mass production paradigm while the Third Industrial Revolution in 1969 used electronics and information technology to automate production line. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution terms as smart automation where the autonomous system uses data as fuel and automates complex tasks by blurring the physical and cyber digital dimensions. The first three industrial revolutions empower the corporations while the fourth industrial revolution empowers people. The technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is inseparably tied to the vast amounts of data needed to train artificial intelligence and other key forms of modern technology. The need for data has to lead to exponential growth in gathering it.
All revolutions have benefits and drawbacks, challenges and opportunities, uncertainties and certainties. In the case of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the advantages are evident: increased productivity, efficiency and quality in processes, greater safety for workers by reducing jobs in dangerous environments, enhanced decision making with data-based tools, improved competitiveness by developing customized products that satisfy consumers' needs, etc. As far as the drawbacks are concerned, the experts point to many: the dizzying speed of change and the need to adapt, burgeoning cyber risks that force us to ramp up cybersecurity, high dependence on technology and the so-called digital gap, lack of qualified staff, etc. Regarding the latter, it is worth remembering that the deep impact of Industry 4.0 on employment is one of the biggest challenges for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
2. Key technologies of 4th Industrial Revolutions
2.1. Internet of Things
Internet of things technology, which is designed to establish a connection between the physical and digital worlds, has revolutionized numerous sectors. Billions of devices are already interconnected and more and more devices are becoming smart. The IoT describes the idea of everyday items — from medical wearables that monitor users’ physical condition to cars and tracking devices inserted into parcels — being connected to the internet and identifiable by other devices. A big plus for businesses is that they can collect customer data from constantly connected products, allowing them to better gauge how customers use products and tailor marketing campaigns accordingly. There are also many industrial applications, such as farmers putting IoT sensors into fields to monitor soil attributes and inform decisions such as when to fertilize.
More production-related undertakings will require increased data sharing across sites and company boundaries. At the same time, the performance of cloud technologies will improve, achieving reaction times of just several milliseconds. As a result, machine data and functionality will increasingly be deployed to the cloud, enabling more data-driven services for production systems.
2.3. Big Data & Analytics
Information is power. The full-blown Fourth Industrial Revolution will allow us to change data into information. Big data allows massive data management and interpretation for business purposes, which is particularly relevant when devising business strategies or making decisions.
2.4. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) describes computers that can “think” like humans — recognizing complex patterns, processing information, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations. AI is used in many ways, from spotting patterns in huge piles of unstructured data to powering the autocorrect on your phone.
The interconnected nature of Industry 4.0–driven operations and the pace of digital transformation mean that cyberattacks can have far more extensive effects than ever before. Cybersecurity should become an integral part of the strategy, design, and operations, considered from the beginning of any new connected, Industry 4.0– driven initiative. As the adoption and breadth of use of connected technologies increase, cyber risks may grow and change, and will likely look different for each stage of the value chain and each organization. As the industry moves to capture the business value that comes with Industry 4.0, the need to address the cyber risk landscape with a secure, vigilant, and resilient response has likely never been greater.
2.6. 3D and 4F Printing
3D printing allows manufacturing businesses to print their parts, with less tooling, at a lower cost, and faster than via traditional processes. Plus, designs can be customized to ensure a perfect fit. These days we have the means to develop prototypes — or products for sale — quickly, accurately and economically with 3D and 4D printing. This technology is becoming increasingly important in design, architecture, engineering, etc.
2.7. Augmented & Virtual Reality
Augmented reality and virtual reality, technologies that combine the real world and the digital world using computer science, enrich the visual experience of both users and consumers by generating immersive experiences.
Robotics is constantly evolving and the cobots, specially designed to interact physically with humans in collaborative environments, will be key to the industry. Among other things, they optimize production and save employees from doing monotonous and dangerous tasks.
2.9. Industrial Simulation
Simulations will be used more extensively in plant operations to leverage real-time data and mirror the physical world in a virtual model, which can include machines, products, and humans. This will allow operators to test and optimize the machine settings for the next product in line in the virtual world before the physical changeover, thereby driving down machine setup times and increasing quality.
Blockchain is a secure, decentralized, and transparent way of recording and sharing data, with no need to rely on third-party intermediaries. The digital currency Bitcoin is the best-known blockchain application. However, the technology can be used in other ways, including making supply chains traceable, securing sensitive medical data anonymously, and combating voter fraud.
2.11. System Integration
With Industry 4.0, companies, departments, functions, and capabilities will become much more cohesive, as cross-company, universal data-integration networks evolve and enable truly automated value chains.
Figure 1 Sectors of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
3. Sectors of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
As a result of this perfect storm of technologies, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is paving the way for transformative changes in the way we live and radically disrupting almost every business sector. It’s all happening at an unprecedented, whirlwind pace. When the disruptive technologies of 4IR applied in the industry and manufacturing landscape then it will form Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is the digital transformation of manufacturing/production and related industries and value creation processes. Industry 4.0 is the information-intensive transformation of manufacturing (and related industries) in a connected environment of big data, people, processes, services, systems and IoT-enabled industrial assets with the generation, leverage and utilization of actionable data and information as a way and means to realize smart industry and ecosystems of industrial innovation and collaboration. Some important benefits of Industry 4.0 are:
- Enhanced productivity through optimization and automation
- Real-time data for a real-time supply chain in a real-time economy
- Higher business continuity through advanced maintenance and monitoring possibilities
- Better quality products: real-time monitoring, IoT-enabled quality improvement and cobots
- Better working conditions and sustainability
- Personalization and customization for the ‘new’ consumer
- The development of innovative capabilities and new revenue models
Similarly, other sectors of the 4th Industrial Revolution are Agriculture 4.0, Logistics 4.0, Healthcare 4.0, Supply Chain 4.0, Construction 4.0, Fintech 4.0, Smart City 4.0 respectively.
Figure 2 Characteristics of Industry 4.0
4. Impact on businesses
The acceleration of innovation and the velocity of disruption are hard to comprehend or anticipate and that these drivers constitute a source of constant surprise, even for the best connected and most well informed. Indeed, across all industries, there is clear evidence that the technologies that underpin the Fourth Industrial Revolution are having a major impact on businesses. On the supply side, many industries are seeing the introduction of new technologies that create entirely new ways of serving existing needs and significantly disrupt existing industry value chains. Disruption is also flowing from agile, innovative competitors who, thanks to access to global digital platforms for research, development, marketing, sales, and distribution, can oust well-established incumbents faster than ever by improving the quality, speed, or price at which value is delivered. Major shifts on the demand side are also occurring, as growing transparency, consumer engagement, and new patterns of consumer behavior (increasingly built upon access to mobile networks and data) force companies to adapt the way they design, market, and deliver products and services.
5. Benefits of Industry 4.0
The one common element that all industrialization revolutions share is the need to increase productivity and quality. Industry 4.0 is all about doing things differently. By leveraging on Industry 4.0 technologies, businesses are able to attain growth ithout compromising quality, cost or time. There are numerous benefits that come with adoptionof Industry 4.0 but the benefits identified to change the fundamental equation of manufacturing can be classified into six categories.
People and machines can establish a smart working relationship this allwing business to double up production capacity, reduce human errors and offer mas customisation to meet diversified needs within a short notice. Automation also tends to keep quality high therefore boosting productivity further
Focusing on High Mix Low Volume (HMLV) and even one-off manufacturing, Industry 4.0 takes agility to the next level. Improved agility helps in which an organisation is able to offer an improved version of existing products to a more varied customer base and speeds up product innovation.
Since Industry production lines are made to accommodate HMLV, they are appropriate to new product introduction and experimentation in design. The extreme visibility from IoT feeds at intelligent products and equipment to enable better understanding on what works for both product as well as process design.
5.4. Customer Experience
Awareness and thorough information availability that comes with Industry 4.0 mean manufacturers are able to deliver better services to their customers. For instance, self-service views which allow access to customers into the operation ma be possible. Detailed, et in context, data from Manufacturing Execution System (MES) can be a basis to immediately resolve issues between customers and manufacturer.
While Industry 4.0 will require initial investments, once the intelligence is built into products and processes, the cost will plummet. Fewer quality problems lead to less material waste, lower personnel and operating costs. The speed and ability to handle such a high mix seamlessly will also lower costs.
With better quality, lower costs, higher mix and the ability to serve customers well, Industry 4.0 puts manufacturers on a path to be a preferred supplier to current customers while also opening up to larger markets. Adding new technologies can steer benefit from the extra monitoring, control and optimisation. The ones thar can truly leverage big data/machine learning will be able to identify patterns that may help to predict and avoid impending issues. Manufacturers who undergo the decentralised intelligent production approad of Industry 4.0 are the ones that will be able to compete profitably in the most demanding global markets.