Whether you call it Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there’s no doubt the way you operate your manufacturing facility is changing — with or without your blessing.

The phrase Fourth Industrial Revolution was coined by Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, in a 2015 article in Foreign Affairs. Schwab includes in this fourth era technologies that combine hardware, software and biology (cyber-physical systems), and emphasizes advances in communication and connectivity.

This era is expected to be marked by breakthroughs in emerging technologies in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum, computing, biotechnology, IoT, IIoT, decentralized consensus, fifth-generation wireless technologies, 3-D printing and fully autonomous vehicles.

Many manufacturers are piloting Fourth Industrial Revolution initiatives in their facilities, but few have managed to realize significant economic and financial benefits, according to a white paper by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with McKinsey & Company. The duo scanned more than 1,000 leading manufacturers and visited the most advanced sites to identify a number of “lighthouses” serving as examples of pioneers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Three technological mega-trends are the principal drivers of this transformation in production: connectivity, intelligence and flexible automation. For these lighthouses, the value drivers are:

  • Big data decision-making;
  • Democratized technology on the shop floor;
  • Agile working models;
  • Minimal incremental cost to add use-cases; and
  • New business models.

The four scale-up enablers are:

  • Fourth Industrial Revolution and business case
  • IoT architecture built for scale-up
  • Capability-building through acquiring new skills
  • Workforce engagement

There are plenty of moving parts involved with getting your manufacturing facility up to speed to take on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Look no further than 2W Tech to start you off on the right foot. 2W Tech is a full-service IT consulting firm that specializes in the manufacturing industry, so we can tailor solutions to your needs. Contact us today for help with your IT demands.

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