Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0: Are you ready for it?

What Is Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is a term encompassing a promise of the innovative industrial revolution – that married advanced techniques in manufacturing with the IoT (Internet of Things). The idea is to create new and interconnected manufacturing systems that can communicate, use information, and analyze data to drive intelligent actions in this physical world. Hence, it is also called Industrial Revolution 4.0.

As of 2019, it is estimated that the market value of Industry 4.0 technologies would be $71.7 billion. After that, the same market value is expected to reach $156.6 billion in 2024, at a 16.9% CAGR from 2019 to 2024.

Increasing industrial internet adoption worldwide in the manufacturing units, better focus on improving the efficiency of systems and machinery, and reducing production costs are significant factors responsible for the growth of this market globally.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is defined as the name for the latest trends of data exchange and automation in manufacturing technologies, such as the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems, cognitive computing, cloud computing, and building intelligent factories.

It is the revolutionary digital transformation of production/manufacturing and other related industries and processes that create value.

Cyber-physical systems are the basis of this revolutionary technology. Using advanced control systems, they have successfully embedded software systems and dispose of the Internet address for connecting and are addressed through IoT.

In this way, products and manufacturing processes are networked to communicate to enable the industry 4.0 technologies to create value and optimize in real-time. Cyber-physical systems are the source that makes capabilities for modern smart factories, which includes remote tracking, monitoring, etc.

Interchangeably used with the fourth worldwide industrial revolution, industry 4.0 represents another stage in the organization and controls the on-ground value chain. Its characteristics include:

  • More automation compared to the third revolution
  • Bridging gaps between the digital and physical world through cyber-physical systems introduced by IIoT
  • A significant shift from the central industrial control to a place where the latest intelligent products define the steps of production
  • Closed-loop control systems and data models
  • Product customization/personalization

Why is Industry 4.0 Needed?

How would you know if your existing business needs Industry 4.0 technologies?

Here’s a checklist.

  • Your business belongs to a competitive industry with many tech-savvy rivals
  • You are facing difficulties recruiting resources at your organization
  • You expect greater visibility across the supply chain
  • You must identify minor issues before they turn into more significant problems and address them
  • You are eager to boost profitability and efficiency across the organization
  • You want the entire organization to be informed and stay updated with a relevant view of business processes and production
  • You want timely and rich analytics
  • You require help to digitize and make the information relevant
  • You aspire to improve overall customer satisfaction and experience
  • You want to scale up the quality of your product and maintain it
  • You want to create an integrated ERP system spanning across inventory as well as planning, financials, supply chain management, manufacturing execution, and customer relationships
  • You expect a flexible and consistent view of business operations and production tailored to exact areas
  • You are looking for real-time insights to feel better and make faster business decisions each day

Read More : IoT in Manufacturing 2021: A Comprehensive Guide

Different Concepts Under Industry 4.0

There are several hundred terms and concepts related to Industrial 4.0. Of these, 12 foundational phrases and words are essential, irrespective of you want to invest in these solutions or not:

i) ERP: Enterprise resource planning is an essential tool for business process management. It is used for managing information across the organization.

ii) IoT: The Internet of Things refers to connections between physical industrial objects, such as machines or sensors, and the internet.

iii) IIoT: Industrial Internet of Things is the link between human resources, data, and machines/equipment related to manufacturing.

iv) Big Data: A large set of structure and unstructured data compiled, stored, analyzed, and organized to disclose patterns, associations, trends, and opportunities.

v) AI: Artificial Intelligence is another concept, which refers to the computer’s ability to perform tasks and make decisions historically requiring human intelligence.

vi) Digitization: It refers to the method of collecting information and converting them into a digital format.

vii) M2M: Machine-to-machine is a communication taking place between two distinct machines through wired or wireless networks.

viii) Smart Factory: It is a facility that invests in and leverages Industry 4.0 technologies, approaches, and solutions.

ix) Cloud Computing: The act of using multiple interconnected remote servers on the internet for storing, managing, and processing information.

x) Real-time Data Processing: Computer systems and machines can automatically and continuously process data to provide real-time or simply near-time outputs plus insights.

xi) Ecosystem: In manufacturing, an ecosystem means the potential connection or connectedness of the entire operation, including inventory planning, financials, supply chain management, customer relationships, manufacturing execution, etc.

xii) Cyber-physical System (CPS): Also called cyber manufacturing, is the Industry 4.0-enabled environment for manufacturing, which provides real-time data collection and analysis, with transparency across different aspects of the manufacturing operations.

Benefits of Industry 4.0

Industrial revolution 4.0 spans an entire lifecycle of a product as well as its supply chain. It involves designs, inventory, sales, quality, scheduling, engineering, field service, and customer service. Everyone wants up-to-date, informed, and relevant views of their business processes and production.

Noted below is a non-exhaustive list stating the key benefits of Industry 4.0 in the modern business model:

  • Industry revolution 4.0 could make your business more competitive, typically against disruptors such as Amazon. Companies such as Amazon optimize supply chain and logistics continuously. Hence, you must invest in a technology or solution that helps you optimize and improve operations. Your business must have the processes and systems to ensure you can provide better services to customers and remain competitive.
  • Industry 4.0 technologies also make you attractive and presentable to the youth workforce. Companies investing in modern and innovative Industry revolution 4.0 are better positioned to allure and retain workers. With this, you can have a stronger team with better collaboration.

Benefits Of Industry 4.0

  • Companies investing in these solutions can increase efficiency, enable prescriptive and predictive analysis, and let people like operators, executives, and managers leverage the real-time data and intelligent insights for decision-making while managing their daily responsibilities.
  • It empowers businesses to address potential threats and issues before they turn into more significant problems. Real-time data, predictive analytics, automation, and internet-enabled machinery can make your business more proactive in addressing or resolving potential issues with supply chain and maintenance.
  • Lastly, you can cut costs, boost profit, and increase growth with Industry 4.0 technologies. It helps you optimize and manage various aspects of the manufacturing process, supply chain, etc. and boost the bottom line and efficiency of the entire operation.

Industry 4.0 Challenges

Anything that comes with a lot of benefits also has a few challenges. Industry 4.0 challenges include incorporating new technology or process into the organization. Besides, there are some other real-time challenges, such as:

  • Data Security: The first and foremost challenge is to ensure data security. There is a constant threat of cybercrime for many businesses regarding customer data. Switching to the cloud means moving out of their comfort zone – which makes them vulnerable. Data security is the primary concern of cloud-based technologies and Industrial 4.0 technologies.
  • Trained Human Resources: To adopt new technology, the frontline executives need training. Investing in new technology like Industry 4.0 doesn’t indicate that you should rely on IT management to maintain systems. Instead, you can benefit from the frequent workforce training and constant guidance that the service provider conducts.

Challenges Of Industry 4.0

  • Team Support: Having team support is highly crucial when moving to new technology. The new model may be challenging to accept and adopt. You must set clear expectations, state the purpose and the benefits of this investment, and be transparent with the team throughout the implementation.
  • Leveraging Data: Another Industry 4.0 challenge is to leverage information and data and make informed decisions. You need training, knowledge, and documentation to understand the pattern to use data and improve, change, or grow a business.
  • Conclusion

    To build one of the most scalable and sustainable business environments, you must use tools to streamline tasks, collaborate, boost productivity, and leverage real-time data. Industry 4.0 solutions can be highly effective for your business to get on the right track and leverage the ever increasing clout of emerging technologies like IoT Services.

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Pratik Mistry is a rare mix of technologist and senior business head at Radixweb. His passion lies is in helping companies to grow revenues by delivering top notch software development services and build value-based partnerships. When not driving high-impact go to market strategies, Pratik loves to try new cuisines and going to the movies.