The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as industry 4.0, is changing the way businesses operate and, therefore, the environments in which they are forced to compete.

Objectives of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 hints the promise of a new revolution that combines advanced production techniques and operations with intelligent technologies that will be integrated into organizations, people and assets.

This revolution is denoted by the rise of new technologies such as robotics, analytics, artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies, nanotechnology and the Internet of Things (IoT), amongst others. Organizations must identify satisfactory technologies that cover their needs to invest in them. If companies do not realize the changes and opportunities that Industry 4.0 takes, they have the risk of losing market share. For traditional leaders, coupled to data and linear communications, the shift this new industrial revolution entails will transform the way they manage their business affording real-time access to data and business intelligence.

The digital integration of information from different sources and locations allows e-business to be carried out in a continuous cycle. Throughout this cycle, real-time access to information is driven by the constant and cyclical flow of information and actions between the physical and digital worlds. This flow takes place through a series of iterative steps known as PDP (Physical-Digital-Physical): From the physical to the digital world.

The information of the physical world is captured and a digital record of it is created. From digital to digital. In this step, the information is shared and interpreted using advanced analytics, scenario analysis, and artificial intelligence to discover relevant information. From the digital to the physical world. Algorithms are applied to translate the decisions of the digital world into effective data stimulating actions and changes in the physical world.

Why is Industry 4.0 important?

Itis relevant to understand the potential of this fourth industrial revolution because it will not only affect manufacturing processes. Its scope is much broader, affecting all industries and sectors and even society. Industry 4.0 can improve business operations and revenue growth, transformed products, supply chain, and customer expectations. Such a revolution will likely change the way we do things, but it could also affect how customers interact with them and the experiences they expect to have while interacting with companies.

Beyond that, it could generate changes in the workforce, which would require new capabilities and roles. Besides, technologies related to Industry 4.0 can also lead to completely new products and services. The use of sensors and portable devices, analysis, and robotics, among others, will allow improvements in products in various ways, from the creation of prototypes and tests to the incorporation of connectivity to previously disconnected products.

These changes in products translate, in turn, into changes in the supply chain and, consequently, in customers.

What are the impacts of Industry 4.0?

The impacts of Industry 4.0 can be recognized at multiple levels: in large ecosystems, at the organizational level and the individual level (in employees and customers):

Ecosystems: In addition to the change in which companies operate and in the production of goods, Industry 4.0 affects all the agents in the ecosystem (suppliers, customers, regulatory considerations, investors, third parties …). These technologies allow interactions between each point of a network.

Organizations: The ability to adjust and learn from real-time data can make organizations more responsive, proactive and predictive. It also allows the organization to reduce its productivity risks.

Individuals: Industry 4.0 can mean different things to each one. For example, for employees, it can mean a change in the work they are going to do, while for customers it would mean greater customization of products and services that best meet their needs.