Technology has leapfrogged to the extent that would have been unimaginable just over a decade ago. Both, in our day-to-day lives and from the business standpoint, rapid technological advancements and the accelerated digital adoption have triggered a tsunami of changes across industry verticals. As technology continues to evolve and transform our lives for the better, there is yet another wave of revolution that has begun – Industry 4.0.
In the simplest terms, Industry 4.0 is the digital transformation of manufacturing, production, and other related industries and value creation processes. While it is often used interchangeably with the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 represents a new phase in the organisation and control of the industrial value chain. So much so that from 2011 to 2022, the annual funding of startups actively involved in Industry 4.0-related work has seen a 319% increase.
In 2020, McKinsey identified 10 sectors that could potentially add USD 320 billion more in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Indian economy with proper reforms. Industry 4.0 can be the catalyst for achieving these numbers. While several businesses have caught on and realized the significance of technology, some remain stuck, struggling to utilize the full potential of the digital revolution to engineer superior experiences for their customers.
On the other hand, companies that have managed to understand and leverage digital mediums to grow their business are thriving even amid growing competitiveness in the market. In a nutshell, Industry 4.0 is not just a vision; it’s a concept that is already set in motion, and with continuous innovation, it can enable businesses to enter their next phase of growth and progress.
Key technologies in Industry 4.0
IoT: Designed to build a connection between the real and virtual worlds, several organizations have already understood the significance of IOT adoption. In fact, it has become omnipresent in today’s world, from wearable devices to cars and tracking shipments in the logistics industry. In the Industry 4.0 era, businesses can leverage IoT to garner data and gauge customers’ preferences and product usage better to engineer superior customer experiences. IoT has application across sectors. For instance, in agriculture, with IoT, farmers can monitor the soil’s condition and attributes in real time and make informed decisions about fertilization and crop yield.
AI: It comes as no surprise that AI has been a game-changer for the world in almost every aspect. In fact, AI is one of the technologies that will be driving the progress of Industry 4.0. With AI, manufacturing companies can improve production capacity, automate monotonous business functions, optimize the usage of time, money, and resources, and streamline operations. Besides, from 2019-2025, AI expenditure is estimated to surge at a CAGR of 39% to reach USD 11,781 million by 2025. Scaled across various functions and networks, AI can transform an organization for the better.
Blockchain: A secure and decentralized way of garnering and sharing data for companies, blockchain eliminates the need for third parties, ensuring better transparency and efficiency. Although Blockchain is best known in the cryptocurrency segment, it is applicable to various industries, including supply chains, for better visibility, protecting confidential data in the medical industry, etc.
Robotics: Once seen only in science-fiction, robots have not only become a reality but have also proven immensely beneficial for businesses. Facilitating a collaborative environment, robotics work together with humans to drive efficiency, optimize productivity, and ensure human resources at companies don’t have to engage in monotonous and risky tasks. A key technology in Industry 4.0, robotics have the potential to revolutionize businesses across verticals and deliver value, especially in healthcare, manufacturing and production.
Industry 4.0’s impact
When deployed successfully on a wide scale, Industry 4.0 can unlock unprecedented value across diverse functions and networks. This includes everything from data and processing capacity to human-machine interaction, analytics and intelligence, and new manufacturing methods. As technology advances, the pressure to succeed and enter the Industry 4.0 era for business continuity, grows.
However, it is critical for businesses to focus on core organizational objectives, address existing difficulties, and develop scalable solutions that can be scaled out throughout the entire company network. And, rather than thinking a decade or more ahead, adopting a 3-5-year roadmap happens to be the most feasible option. This is because, contrary to popular belief, it is vital to slow down and establish a solid strategy in order to succeed.
The Government of India has set an ambitious target of increasing the contributions of manufacturing output to 25% of the GDP by 2025 from the current 16%. To achieve this goal, it’s imperative for Industry 4.0 to be seamlessly integrated with the Make in India initiative and enable smart manufacturing on a large scale. With constant work and innovation, Industry 4.0 can become a milestone India can attain.