So, what exactly is Industry 4.0?
In simple terms, Industry 4.0 is the harnessing of connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), flexible automation, and cloud to transform manufacturing. Though AI-powered sensors and other advanced technology enable connectivity and data capture, the cloud serves as a scalable platform where manufacturers can use and store vast amounts of data, apply business intelligence and advanced analytics, and then use those insights to impact their manufacturing operations in real time.
Think of it like this: the First Industrial Revolution was about applying steam and waterpower. The second was about mass production. Both the third and fourth revolutions have been about automation. But while in the Third Industrial Revolution, automation was applied using IT systems and a set of rules humans created, in the fourth revolution, machines take center stage. They talk, learn, and interact with each other. And they provide humans with insights that are driving real business agility, speed, and outcomes.