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Embracing the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 technologies.

 

Coined by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2016, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also referred to as Industry 4.0, is the fourth major industrial era, since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, and impacting all disciplines, economies, and industries. 

We have constructed a programme to explain the impact on companies of  :

1. The Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is a network of interconnected devices, machines, vehicles, objects and even living beings that have unique identifiers and the ability to share data without human involvement. By 2022, there will be around 35 billion interrelated objects globally.

2. Advanced data collection and analytics including Artificial Intelligence.

The amount of data generated by businesses and customers is growing at an exponential rate. As computational power intensifies, firms are able to accumulate, mine and analyse vast and complex datasets to better mitigate risk, increase efficiency, understand market needs and grow new income streams.

  1. Human-machine collaboration.

Robots that can work safely alongside humans are entering the realm of reality – and this development is set to transform  work environments sooner than most companies imagine.

Thanks to visual analysis, enhanced context awareness and machine learning, analysts predict that robots will work alongside humans in the front-line – performing more complex tasks with increased agility. These smart machines will be able to anticipate needs and meet them, instead of only carrying out set tasks. The role of drones in logistics and inspection will also be examined.

  1. Additive manufacturing (AM).

3-D printing technology is advancing fast, enabling the production of solid objects from a digital data source in a range of locations. The benefits for manufacturers include the ability to create prototypes quickly and yield small finished batch sizes, or even individual products, with fewer resources.

 5. Cloud-based data storage

Software as a Service (SaaS) based apps. are stored on cloud-based servers, which are much less expensive, much quicker to update and scale, and don’t take up any valuable space. This difference can mean a significant saving in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO). Their impact on improving the effectiveness of the supply chain using ERP systems will be examined.

Exploiting these opportunities.

We go on to examine how organisations can exploit these opportunities and illustrate this using examples of how organisations have responsed to the Covid-19 pandemic by utilising these technologies.

 

Wider societal implications.

This is then expanded to examine the broader societal and human implications of these new developments; particularly their impact upon lower skill occupations.