Industry 4.0 – An Interesting Evolution to Understand

Technology continues to reform our lives for the better and has played an immense role in bringing humans to the brink of intelligence. The evolution of technology defines our way of thinking and enables us to explore endless possibilities. Today, we stand at the edge of digital transformation and technology is becoming more and more self-sufficient, automated, and interconnected. We have stepped into the age of industrial revolution 4.0 or industry 4.0 and now artificial intelligence and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication dictates our present and future.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is the grandest revolution of digital technology and is paving our way into the world of augmented automation and interconnectivity. It is the next evolutionary step in the world of digital technology and focuses on the use of real-time data and machine learning to drive excellence into business processes and operations. Industry 4.0 shares its roots with the Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and Smart Manufacturing. This defines the start of a new age of technology focusing on capitalizing machine learning and artificial intelligence to augment manufacturing efficiency and revamp the entire corporate infrastructure.

Industry 4.0 is designed to satisfy the evolving need for improved connectedness and provides real-time access to every essential business metric to business partners & people.  This phase of evolution focuses on changing the way businesses perceive challenges and provides ideas to integrate smart technology into conventional industrial platforms and manufacturing processes. The primary idea is to incorporate self-monitoring and automation across every level of manufacturing and use the smart capabilities of machines to operate, analyze, and diagnose without human intervention.  

How Industry 4.0 was Born?

The advancements in digital technology paved the way for the birth of industry 4.0. It is essential to remember that it is neither a business ideology nor a new technology form but is rather a holistic approach emphasizing the development of the interconnected digital ecosystem. This approach targets the realm of supply chain management and manufacturing and strives to utilize the power of big data to eradicate complexities from business operations and processes. However, to understand the true concept of the fourth industrial revolution, it is important to understand how it came into existence.

The concept of industry 4.0 was first laid down by the German government through a strategic document emphasizing the need to automate the country’s manufacturing industry. This was the first instance where the full potential of smart technology was put into the limelight and the idea of zero human intervention came into focus. In January 2015, industry 4.0 officially became the focal point of digital transformation after Chancellor Angela Merkel illuminated light on this concept at the World Economic Forum. He emphasized the world “Industrie 4.0” and presented it as a solution to tackle the online world fusion and challenges of the evolving world of industrial production.          

Since then, industry 4.0 came into the glare of publicity and industrial giants from many countries including the United States of America began to realize the full potential of this revolutionary approach to supply chain management and manufacturing. Now multitudes of technology firms, suppliers, manufacturers, universities, agencies, and laboratories are working in tandem to unveil the next digital breakthrough based on the concept of the fourth industrial revolution. Every leading technologist is now beginning to focus on how this innovative approach can gain traction and become available to global manufacturing firms striving to satisfy the need to evolve with the aid of smart technology.  

Industry 4.0 – An Interesting Evolution to Understand

To understand the interesting evolution of industry 4.0, we need to go back to the late 1700s and overview of the different stages of the industrial revolution. What may have started from the colonies of Great Britain now continues to grow in the colonies of the digital world.

  • Industry 1.0 – The First Industrial Revolution

Till the late 1700s, the art of manufacturing was a grueling process involving manual labor and animal-aided working techniques. The growth was slow and sluggish until the first industrial revolution came into the effect in the colonies of Great Britain. The world of technology underwent a shift from manpower to steam & water-powered engines and other innovative tools. This revolution laid the basis for the technological intervention of the years ahead and signifies the moment from which the man began to utilize the power of machines to make lives better.

  • Industry 2.0 – The Second Industrial Revolution

The second industrial revolution came into effect in the 20th century and is also commonly referred to as the technological revolution. This was the phase of rapid industrialization and standardization with the aid of electric power, telephones, and steel. The use of electricity and newly-gained sense of connectivity through telephones made it possible for industries to evolve at a rate beyond imagination. In this stage, industries became more productive and the augmentation of productivity became the common goal of every industrialist.

  • Industry 3.0 – The Third Industrial Revolution

The third industrial revolution began in the late 1950s and marks the start of digital transformation. In this phase, industries started to utilize electronics into the manufacturing process and this trend gradually made it possible for computers to step into the industrial world of manufacturing and businesses. This phase is signified by the incredible shift of manufacturers and factories from mechanical technology to automation software and digital technology. In truth, this revolution laid the real foundation for industry 4.0 and marked the start of the digital technology age.

  • Industry 4.0 – The Ruling Industrial Revolution

Industry 4.0 is the present-day industrial revolution and emphasizes on smart technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to automate business processes & operations. In this age, we can truly step into a new digitalized world having better interconnectivity and automation. The concepts such as Machine-to-Machine communication and the Internet of Things (IoT) will power our way to the next revolutionary technological breakthrough. This will also businesses and leading manufactures to build better collaboration across multiple departments, people, and vendors. Despite the drastic change in strategies and approaches, the common goal of industry 4.0 remains the same that is augment productivity and pave way for improved automation.

Industry 4.0 Market Value

In today’s world of automation and smart technology, every innovation related to the Internet of Things (IoT) is worth a fortune. Hence, the market value and true worth of industrial revolution 4.0 are extremely hard to plot as there are endless possibilities to explore. According to the recent KPMG figures, this futuristic market of smart technology is worth in excess of US$4 trillion. The most fascinating thing is its valuation even exceeds the valuation of the Internet of Things (IoT) marketplace that lingers around US$3.7 trillion.

Perhaps, the leading reason for its high valuation is its benefits across businesses related to the manufacturing industry. The adoption of industry 4.0 will possibly create more than 175,000 jobs and can benefit the United States manufacturing industry by US$445 billion. This industrial revolution promises to drastically augment productivity and cut down costs with the use of real-time business data. In addition to this, its integration with the 5G market also presents new opportunities for automating manufacturing industries and will continue to inspire the technological innovations of tomorrow.


What are the Industry 4.0 Design Principles?

Industry 4.0 focuses on six basic design principles and these principles enable businesses to realize and identify the true potential of applications in the age of digital transformation. The core principles of industrial revolution 4.0 include Virtualization, Interoperability, Decentralization, Service Orientation, Real-Time Capability, and Modularity.

What are Cyber-Physical Systems?

Cyber-Physical Systems or cyber manufacturing systems serve as the basis of industry 4.0 and play the role of an enabler in condition monitoring, track & trace systems, and remote control/monitoring. Smart production facilities and machines are the finest examples of cyber-physical systems and their capabilities include autonomous information exchange and augmented control & action activation.

The Final Verdict

Industry 4.0 is certainly one of the most influential ideas of the modern age and this is solely because of its capability to eradicate inefficiency across every channel. The adoption of industrial revolution 4.0 will become essential for every business moving forward as it enables businesses to augment collaboration, improve productivity, and streamline operations, unlike any other approach. This will also allow businesses to leverage big data and step into the futuristic world of scalable and sustainable businesses.