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By leaning into digital solutions, manufacturing can reduce human error, shorten time to market, and increase the speed at which industrial processes can adapt to new information. We are on the way towards Industry 4. We can see the advances in networking, machine learning, data analytics, robotics, 3D printing, and other technologies that are making vast improvements in industrial processes and reducing our dependence on human labor and decision-making.
Developing the Industry from the first Industrial Revolution
The First Industrial Revolution started with the advent of steam and water power, enabling the mechanization of production processes, while the Second Industrial Revolution was driven by electric power and mass manufacturing techniques. Information technology (IT) and automation brought in the Third Industrial Revolution (also known as the digital revolution), which is defined by electronics and IT, automated production, and advanced globalization. The Third Industrial Revolution has changed how human interactions, commerce, and entire communities. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is emerging through a range of technologies that are blurring the distinction between physical, digital, and biological spaces. Industry 4.0 transforms how products are designed, fabricated, used, and operated, as well as how they are maintained and serviced. As a construct, ‘Industry 4.0’ is an overarching transformation that covers every aspect of industrial and economic activities, and every aspect of living – it is a total transformation of all sectors into new systems and/or ways of life. The convergence of the physical, digital and biological worlds has much to do with technological advances which are viewed as ‘disruptive technologies, including nanotechnology, AI, robotics, bionics, genetics, and 3D printing. Under Industry 4.0, the distinction between industry and services becomes less relevant as digital technologies are connected with industrial products and services and transformed into hybrid products that are neither exclusively goods nor services. Indeed, both the terms ‘Internet of Things (IoT) and ‘Internet of Services’ are considered elements of Industry 4.0
How will Industry 4 affect me?
Industry 4.0 isn’t only about potential increases in resource efficiency in manufacturing, or robots harvesting vast amounts of data. It’s already happening now and it’s impacting your life is through improved products and services, road safety, better working conditions, and even healthcare.
Like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world. To date, those who have gained the most from it have been consumers able to afford and access the digital world; technology has made possible new products and services that increase the efficiency and pleasure of our personal lives. Ordering a cab, booking a flight, buying a product, making a payment, listening to music, watching a film, or playing a game—any of these can now be done remotely.
In the future, technological innovation will also lead to a supply-side change, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective, and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth. The way we buy and consume products is changing thanks largely to wider ranges available and options like one-click shopping experiences. The amount of affordable mobile technology and advanced data manipulation is growing exponentially, and customers in the future will demand a wider range of choices and more personalized products.
Lucubrate Magazine October 2021
The Picture on the top of the article: Adobe Stock