Industry 4.0 : the new revolution connecting workers and machines
Is "Industry 4.0" another marketing hype buzz word or does it related to something else?
Industry 4.0 is definitely not a buzz word.
What 4.0 means is that we are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution with embedded hardware & communication anything anytime and anywhere,
All industrial revolutions are leveraging a specific type of "energy" that boots innovation, productivity, velocity and add new features to the final product (adding then competitive advantages). Previous industrial revolutions were leveraging the (first) water & steam, (second) the fossil fuel & electricity and (third) the Internet & analogical/digital technologies.
The reasons and motivations behind this ongoing industrial revolution might be slighthly different from one country to another. What we observe is that :
- some countries want to re-industrialie and need to have very efficient production lines to be competitive against low-cost countries
- other countries want to improve their operating processses (e.g safety practices) to reduce inefficiency cost and therefore to improve bottom line
- and we cannot put aside companies and/or countries that just follow
Different industry 4.0 use cases families
The 4th industrial revolution is not about technologies but more about connections and interactions between machines, products, customers, infrastructure and workers. Interactions between all those players (sometimes in real-time) will be the keystone of industry 4.0.
Possible interactions can be classified into "families".
One of them (maybe the most critical) will concern all use cases related to "safety and security". For example, a customer will benefit from real-time security updates for its fridge or its car. A worker will be alerted when a machine at proximity gets dangerous. The product might require itself immediate assistance before it fails. And so on.
A second family is about "production". We often think first about this family (such as predictive maintenance) but we believe that security and safety are top first priorities.
A third family is about "marketing". For instance, end-users could replace marketers by designing themselves highly personalized products that would better fit "tribal" expectations. The way we design products will show deep change and old-school marketers could just disappear. Most of traditional companies will be strongly motivated to move from passive equipment to smart & connected solutions. It will happen for any product in any business. One challenge will be to come up with useful solutions and not gadget (CES Las Vegas is unfortunately the bad example about useless gadgets). Another challenge would also be of course to strictly respect end-user privacy. European GDPR (applicable since May 2018) will partially solve this challenge.
A fourth family is about "sustainability". Recycling and Product Sharing will be more common to the next end-user generation as raw resources will be more costly and difficult to get while environmental concerns keep growing among the population in relation to climate change daily impact (hurricane, extreme cold/hot weathers, drought,...).
Other families will appear but those 4 families might be the top priorities.