What is Industry 4.0 ?

What is Industry 4.0? And what does it mean for the future of business? Find out, in our latest blog post.

George Barnes

Digital
·3 min read (856 words)

The world is an uncertain place at the moment and industry is no exception. We won’t pretend to have all the answers — no one does. But from experience, we do know how companies can prepare themselves for an uncertain future. 

It’s all about flexibility, and the ability to adapt. And for manufacturers, and anyone else in the supply chain, that’s where industry 4.0 comes into the picture. 

Industry 4.0: a brief introduction

Industry 4.0 is the name given to the industrial revolution that we’re currently going through — sometimes known as the digital revolution.

Where the first three industrial revolutions took us from manual labour right through to robotic factory lines, the fourth industrial revolution (industry 4.0) looks at how digital technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) have taken connectivity to a whole new level. 

Industry 4.0 has been a revolution in gathering data and using that data to create better, more efficient processes. And we’re right at the start of uncovering what we can achieve with this technology.  

Where are we seeing Industry 4.0 having the greatest effect?

No matter which industry you work in, it’s certain that you’ll have seen some effects of digital transformation. From pubs to football pitches, digital technology has found its place. But when it comes to the IoT, there are a few clear winners:

These examples are really just the tip of the iceberg but should give you a good idea of how Industry 4.0 has already had a sizable impact on the world. And that’s just now. The future has even more in hold for any organisation looking to take advantage of Industry 4.0.

AI: The future for Industry 4.0

As technology continues to advance exponentially, as does the potential inherent in Industry 4.0. And of all the advancements set to have an impact in this area, the most exciting has to be artificial intelligence (AI). 

AI has already had a huge impact on Industry 4.0, even in its current limited capacity. The most common application right now is machine learning. This has been used very successfully to push something called predictive maintenance, which is basically a smart way to predetermine when equipment needs maintenance. It’s a move from reactive to proactive. And that saves money.

Here’s the exciting part: AI is developing as quickly. What’s become known as the AIoT, is set to revolutionise what’s already revolutionary.  

As AI becomes more intelligent (i.e it moves beyond machine learning), we will start to see a system where the IoT is the nervous system and the AI is the brain

In this situation, you’re able to supercharge the IoT in two ways. First, you have intelligent sensors, which improves the data you have coming in. Then you have a more intelligent analysis of that data alongside an AI that can not only advise humans on what actions to take, but can be trusted to take those actions itelf, resulting in better, more useful outputs.  

This isn’t science fiction, it’s around the corner. 

What’s holding you back from Industry 4.0?

Change often means investment. And in uncertain times, putting forward a case for investment can be tricky. Luckily, when you start looking into investing in the IoT and Industry 4.0. You’ll not find it hard to prove a very healthy return on investment.

Another thing that holds organisations back is a lack of internal IoT expertise, especially when it comes to software. 

Many find that there are no off-the-shelf solutions, because every IoT setup is unique, with different challenges and goals. But that’s where custom software can help. 

Here at Newicon, we specialise in working on particularly complex custom software projects. We work with companies to take a holistic approach to their software needs. Then we use agile methodology to build solutions that are futureproofed, cost-effective and secure. 

What next for you?

If you’re thinking of bringing your organisation into Industry 4.0 (and getting all the benefits that we’ve talked about here), then we can help.

As we said at the start, we don’t have all the answers for how to succeed in an uncertain future. But we do know that you need to be agile, flexible and digital. And we can work with you to achieve all three.

Take advantage of the IoT, AI  and Industry 4.0. Get in touch today. 

 


I'm George Barnes

Digital at Newicon

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