The Evolution of the Fourth Industrial Revolution Can Advance Every Vertical Market that Opts In
You may not need a reminder that we’re working in the Fourth Industrial Revolution—Industry 4.0 or 4IR. But it’s good to remember what this era offers businesses in any industry and what we can do to capitalize on it. Otherwise, you miss a significant opportunity to thrive in our competitive world.
Industrial Revolutions Define the Times
The first three industrial revolutions each took decades to reach complete evolution. This current revolt is more of a breathtaking technology metaverse, moving fast beyond the third one of digital transformation and automation.
The combined pursuit and application of intelligence, networking, and autonomous systems characterize 4IR. Technological breakthroughs appear to be more frequent and pervasive. Our heads may spin, and voices echo like previous generations who exclaimed, “So much is changing so fast. How can we keep up?”
Although timeframes and definitions somewhat differ about the four industrial revolutions, here’s a brief answer to the question:
What are the Four Industrial Revolutions?
- 1.0—steam and water power and manufacturing mechanization
- 2.0—electricity integration and assembly line mass production
- 3.0—partial digital automation using IT with memory-programmable controls and computers
- 4.0—disruptive smart technologies featuring an ecosystem of the Internet of Things (IoT and Industrial IoT), cloud computing, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR), and many more.
What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)?
With increasingly diverse data automatically fed into cloud-connected AI-enabled networks, cyber-physical realms are smart, virtual, robotic, and nearly autonomous in the emergent Fourth Industrial Revolution. Nearly everything can be connected to the IoT and deliver real-time data from smart sensors to solve problems, boost efficiency, and transform processes. You can create and analyze digital twins to monitor various processes, facilities, systems, equipment, and machinery virtually. Predictive monitoring, maintenance, and analytics are today’s advancing, enabling tools.
What are you doing to get everything from this industrial revolution?
“Adapt or die.”
Our three favorite words from Moneyball. Even professional baseball—America’s Pastime—has had to change and innovate to remain relevant to everyone—owners, managers, advertisers, media, players, and fans.
In every era, there were and are leaders and winners, successes and failures, inventors and producers. To remain relevant—let alone lead—businesses, not just manufacturers, must embrace the transformation that industry and society drive.
Recent history is replete with many businesses that didn’t adapt or embrace the current industrial revolution and went the way of the Dodo or almost did. We’re talking about the old dinosaurs Atari, Blockbuster Video, Borders, Compaq, General Motors, Kodak, Nokia, Palm, Pan Am, Radio Shack, Tower Records, Yahoo, and many others.
“Nearly two-thirds of the Fortune 500 companies in 2000 disappeared—they were acquired, merged with another company, or went bankrupt. By 2040, 80% will disappear.”
—Ray Wang, founder and analyst at Constellation Research
Sometimes, adapting in only one or two ways to the new world recreated by the newest industrial revolution can make all the difference. You need the latest technology but may not need it everywhere at first. Instead, focus on ways others are unwilling to or are slow to change. Survival of the fittest has always applied to business too.
Are You Monitoring Every Important Thing?
One way to adapt in this age of connectivity is positively answering the question: Are all of my important things connected to the IoT? Think about this question while we ask a few that are more specific:
- You’re monitoring area and room temperature; why not humidity and air quality?
- You monitor HVAC systems with an IoT network of many different sensors. Why don’t you monitor other building operations like access, occupancy, and plumbing?
- You track machine and equipment vibration throughout your operations; why not tilt, current, and voltage?
We recommend you periodically review everything in your business. Double-check if you have all the data you need to predict maintenance, increase efficiency, save money, and modernize operations continually.
Data is the Currency of Industry 4.0
Data has been a valuable commodity for decades in our increasingly digital-first world. Today, many of the world’s top businesses offer data as a product, service, or platform. The other top businesses can’t operate without data-driven innovations. It’s hard to find a successful business today that doesn’t depend on analyzing data from many sources—customers, websites, social, equipment, processes, marketing, facilities, etc.
The value of data increases exponentially every business day to help transform operations, deal with competitive threats, and create new revenue opportunities. Nothing can drive growth better than real-time data flow and analytics combined with how fast you use it to take action. We’ve repeatedly seen organizations achieve high value and yield powerful results from this IoT data-driven decision velocity.