i3 | February 03, 2022

Business Forward Strategies

Scott Steinberg

Welcome to Industry 4.0

The age of smart technology

Tech breakthroughs lead to game-changing shifts in how the world operates and how business functions. The world has already experienced three revolutions (the dawn of steam engines, mass production and computerized digital solutions). Now Industry 4.0 — also known as the 4th Industrial Revolution — is upon us. A world powered by the Internet of Things. Tomorrow’s commercial world will belong to leaders whose companies are powered by self-aware devices and networks that can communicate and analyze information.

Pairing traditional business solutions with new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, Industry 4.0 processes will optimize the use of resources, maximize uptime and productivity, and pivot to smarter strategies in real-time. They also will help increase efficiencies for a more cost-effective and sustainable approach to business. Over 55.7 billion devices will be connected generating a staggering 80 zettabytes of data by 2025, according to market research firm IDC. These intelligent systems will enable new ways to streamline workflows, cut costs and improve operations. They also will help corporate leaders identify areas to drive innovation and create lasting competitive advantage.

Note that entire warehouses staffed by automated drones and self-managing inventory monitoring systems are already helping retailers speed up the packing and shipping of high-tech goods worldwide. Likewise, factories whose assembly lines are manned by robotic arms are increasing production while improving quality, and many include computer vision cameras that can automatically track human staffers’ productivity and working hours. But in the future, business leaders will also reimagine the fundamentals of transportation and logistics by using fleets of self-driving electric vehicles (EVs) to manage last-mile delivery.

Stay Ahead of Disruption

Every sector of business is now seeking to adopt Industry 4.0 processes. For example: Imagine building your company’s products at a manufacturing center whose IoT sensors track every step of the production process and every component used — then analyze this data to spot patterns to help you operate more efficiently. Alternately, picture running your operations from an industrial complex that’s smart enough to constantly sift through information, looking for signs of possible malfunctions and can self-diagnose and repair in the event of equipment failure. Countless product makers are already turning to cloud connectivity platforms to share data at scale, learn from every interaction, and improve how they manage resources and inventory.

The beauty of the Industry 4.0 framework is it empowers digital insight with AI decisions on top of physical solutions. It also makes it possible to transform every device and interaction (including internally with employees or externally with customers) into a possible source of learning and insight. Industry 4.0 prompts industries to think more deeply about how AI software which helps extract key insights and make informed decisions, and machine learning which helps devices and applications get smarter over time, can be layered throughout every exchange. Employed in tandem, these principles can boost productivity and deliver more impactful outcomes for your business.

It’s no surprise many firms are using Industry 4.0 tools and learning to leverage data and insight as a competitive edge. Which begs the question: With another Industrial Revolution upon us, how will you future-proof your consumer technology business to stay one step ahead of rivals? AI and automation clearly represent the way forward, but ultimately, it’s up to you to determine how to best implement these solutions to empower future growth, enable more cost-effective operations, and deliver more superior and contextualized user experiences.

Contact professional speaker Scott Steinberg at FuturistsSpeakers.com.

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