Entrepreneurs are facing more challenges today than ever before. In a deeply connected world, it’s difficult to make any decision without a massive ripple effect.
The Fourth Wave of the industrial revolution has well and truly started to impact the world. It’s an impact that cannot be ignored if you hope to be successful as an entrepreneur.
It’s hard to present a comprehensive overview of everything Industry 4.0 entails. However, even a cursory look at the relevant technologies will go a long way towards informing and preparing entrepreneurs.
Four? What About the Others?
It’s not really to the goal of this article to do an in-depth analysis of what The Industrial Revolution is and what it meant.
However, a brief introduction to Industry 4.0 is appropriate. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, as it’s sometimes called, essentially involves relegating ever more decisions to automated processes.
Machine-learning, interconnectivity, and real-time analytics are the hallmarks of today’s industry. For old companies entrenched in outmoded production models, this presents a serious challenge.
It’s a much more productive environment for startups and new entrepreneurs. Also, newly-made companies can be designed from the ground up to integrate 4.0 technologies.
These are the big technological advances and how they’re transforming the industrial landscape.
The process of phasing out human labor has come a long way in some industries. In some automobile manufacturing plants, cars are practically entirely built without human input.
The safe and effective use of robots in various industries is one of the fastest-growing facets of industry 4.0.
Every part of the manufacturing process can now be intimately connected with every other.
Embedded computing is becoming ever more affordable and compact. The result is a fully streamlined production line where everything is optimized to minute detail.
Data is king in this new industrial world.
Every decision and every process are logged and recorded. Big data informs decisions with extreme accuracy.
In addition to having more information, the information is available on a minute-to-minute basis. All decisions can be made in real-time with full knowledge of the implications.
Full System Integration
Industry 4.0 technologies are tearing down outmoded notions of vertical and horizontal integration.
The unprecedented levels of operational efficiency we see today are bringing together all the layers within organizations. Data and analytics can flow freely through the entire organization and make massive cohesive units.
Simulated environments are used more and are seen as a great data-generation tool.
Simulations of production inputs and outputs produce real-time data that are used to optimize production values. Machinery, processes, and implementations can all be tested with a tiny fraction of the cost of physical testing.
Setup times both for machinery and production lines, as well as full facility operational capacity are reduced dramatically.
The benefits of connectivity and real-time data availability are tempered by the risks of that data falling into the wrong hands.
Cybersecurity is one of the top priorities in industry 4.0. The entire system relies on secure communication lines. Cybersecurity as a skill is becoming extremely valued.
Commonly known as 3-D printing, this technology is doing wonders for the manufacturing world.
Small batch productions are making it easy to test products. Prototyping was once one of the costliest parts of product design. With additive manufacturing, prototyping is both fast and cheap.
It also paves the way for far more complex designs than we’ve had access to until now.
High levels of data connectivity and the need for more compact processing units are driving most computing needs into the cloud.
The functionality of just about every machine is improved with cloud-based computing. Additionally, having a concentrated decision center in the cloud can give more data-driven services and systems of production.
Shape up or Ship out
Industry 4.0 is here, and it’s not going anywhere. If you’re considering going into business or have a company already, you must be aware of and plan to implement these technologies.
If you intend to rely on old-fashioned production and service models, that’s a recipe for disaster. Data and interconnectivity are taking over.