The steam engine was invented back in the 18th century and that was a game changer. This produced energy and power that eventually saw industries and civilization change. This would then lead to the invention of electricity which became available to the mass market.
What are the generations of Industries?
Before we even dwell into the specifics of what Industry 4.0 is, it is imperative to know what the earlier so-called ‘generations’ were. Here they are:
- Industry 1.0 – As mentioned, it was the invention of water and steam machines. They became important engines to help production and took over a lot of manual work. Home businesses started to take shape as production increased
- Industry 2.0 – Electricity is the order of the day. The primary source of energy, it replaced water and steam machines. This was around the start of the 20th century which saw electricity taking the world by storm and eventually controlling most of the industries to present day. This will eventually create jobs that become more efficient and effective.
- Industry 3.0 – Innovation becomes mainstream. Transistors and integrated circuit chips became more affordable and they replaced human capital in many areas. The game plan was to reduce cost in whatever industry because of the adoption of chips and technology. The personal computer and mobile devices start to take shape and replace daily operations
Enter Industry 4.0!
The latest phenomenon is then Industry 4.0 and that is now taking over most of the other previous generations. The IOT or Internet of Things have become one of the most talked about terms ever. Manufacturing techniques now incorporate information technology and mobile platforms together with intelligent systems. Robotics and artificial intelligence are used to combine cognitive technologies while augmented reality has somewhat become almost real.
Are you ready?
A recent surveyed showed that many corporations have yet to fully embrace what is coming or what has already arrived in the shape of Industry 4.0. The full potential of Industry 4.0 needs to be acknowledged and harnessed because it will then benefit all the stakeholders of your business. This includes the like of the employees, your clients, the organization as whole, the surrounding environment and the society at large.
What are the major impacts?
You must first understand that the digital and physical technologies will start integrating with the shift in business, mobility, communications and very importantly, production. Basically, Industry 4.0 will impact the following areas:
- Society – This would most likely be the biggest impact. Industry 4.0 will change the way people live. Education has already been changed and evolved tremendously. Devices are taking over books and pencils which means graduates will be different from those in the last decade. Millennials have a different approach to life and that will be brought into the workforce. Some jobs that were once ‘hot’ will no longer exist. Industries that were once sought after will find themselves fighting to stay afloat.
- Strategy – It is now time to regroup and re-strategize for the coming decade. Traditional and conventional strategies will soon be obsolete with no impact whatsoever in for near-term operations. Businesses now need to look at longer-term investments and how they can be prepared for the future. It is time to view new talents and people as imperative to the growth of the business. Using old tools or previous campaigns that were once successful will no longer be relevant in this revolution because people and society have changed.
- Human Capital – the future of the workforce and jobs are now at stake. Human capital and behaviour will change to the extremes because of Industry 4.0. The employee will leave the job if he is not happy because he can. The Internet of Things means that a typical employee will work not solely because he needs to survive. If he leaves, he can always work on his own because it has opened up geographical barriers
- Technology – Perhaps one of the most influential factors of all time. Digital technology was once an enabler and aid to daily operations. In Industry 4.0, technology will start replacing jobs and people. This has already been happening in the last 5 to 10 years. Agents and brokers are no longer needed. Blue-collared jobs in manufacturing have already been replaced with intelligent systems and machines.
So there, you have it, all that Industry 4.0 entails. This wave will come if it hasn’t already done so and not only will it change the way people live but replace many parts of the daily lives as well.