The impact of technology on business and productivity has never been greater than in the present times. The advent of cutting edge technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and robotics has changed the paradigm of industrial productivity.
We are now in fact on the cusp of Industry 4.0 which will see computers enable automation in entirely new ways. That involves robotics remotely linked to computer systems that are endowed with machine learning algorithms. These will be able to fully comprehend the robotics involved with hardly any oversight by human beings.
Industry 4.0 actually marks the fourth stage of the Industrial Revolution, with Industry 1.0 marking the advent of the steam power, Industry 2.0 electric power and Industry 3.0 computing power. As we are all well aware, each of these stages caused tremendous advances in industrial output and efficiency that changed the very way people lived their lives.
Industry 4.0 promises to enhance industrial productivity and efficiency to levels thought impossible not very long ago. The operating principle behind this unparalleled efficiency would have to be the “smart” way of doing things. Take the concept of the ‘smart’ factory, for example. This entails a highly efficient arrangement of a cyber-physical monitoring set- up that will operate a factory on its own, taking decentralized decision with hardly any or zero human oversight.
The Internet of Things will enable this by facilitating communication both between devices and with a human being over a wireless Internet in real-time. Any factory or similar set up that looks to benefit from the tremendous advantages Industry 4.0 confers can do so, only if a few conditions are met. These are-
- The ability of devices, gadgets, machines, sensors, and people to link with and communicate with each other.
- There has to be total transparency with regard to the pertinent information, as IoT facilitates the virtual replication of the real world by the data collected by sensors to give it relevant context.
- The requisite technical competence to assist humans in decision making and troubleshooting, especially in situations where human beings are exposed to any kind of risk or danger.
- Very importantly decentralized decision making on the part of the cyber-physical arrangement to take the day to day decisions in an independent and autonomous manner.
The Industry 4.0 revolution is already underway and the coming months and years are going to see it become all the more pervasive across industry. The fact that deploying IoT technology in an industry pretty much acts as a game-changer as far as productivity and efficiency go, it is in everyone’s interest to get on board.
One may delay its implementation, but that would be to one’s own detriment. All the same, before deciding to deploy Industry 4.0 technologies, it would make sense to have the required infrastructure in shape. Factors such as data security and a reliable cyber-physical need to be taken care of first. Then there is also the thorny issue of assuaging concerns over loss of low end technical jobs.
These of course are teething problems, which all the stages of the Industrial Revolution underwent and overcame successfully. So will no doubt, Industry 4.0. Here’s to a bold new future!