This the third post of an exciting serie called “Industry 4.0 – Everything I wanted to know”. The first one is the needed introduction. The second one is where we reveal the good and the bad things. So, to move forward we need to stop and analyze what moves organizations to change. Which are the objectives they pursue and the goals they have on the horizon? To do this, we propose to focus on the top tech pillars are allowing this change, emphasizing in which are the most crucial for Industry today. And as a happy ending, we present the business opportunities we get when crossing drivers with pillars. This is, showing the current TechMap of Industry 4.0
Again, I look forward to your happy comments…
This is the third videoblog related to the Industry 4.0 topic, part of the serie named “Industry 4.0 - Everything I wanted to know”. In this one, I would like to focus on something it seems so basic: Which are the drivers that moves Industry to adopt the 4.0 revolution? I’m talking about desires, wonderings and goals to achieve, the ones which are making the industry want to change.
Innovation drivers in Industry 4.0
The first one is energy efficiency and sustainability, understood as something we need to face conveniently things like climate change. Sure we want to be more sustainable but we also want it to get an impact on costs and make our efforts transparent to our customer. That is, spending the least resources and energy to generate all our products throughout the productive cycle.
The following desire is advanced materials, understanding as advanced all those that can help us generate a better product. And here I am talking from textil, to pure manufacturing to building materials.
The next would be obtaining or assuring better connectivity. This is, better connected both internally within the factories (Beacons, WiFi…) and at a distance (LWAN) to IoT.
The next is automation. Obviously, all industries want to reach an automation and optimization level that allow them to lower costs and generate products of higher quality. This is not new at all.
The next lever would be the capacity to generate and be able to consume, in an almost native way, the huge amount of digital data generated by millions daily in the world. And also transform this information in valuable knowledge we can apply to our business.
The next one is security, something very in vogue these days. Both physical and digital security. I’m talking a lot about this in these videoblogs, but unfortunately is a real threat to society and of course for industry.
The digital access to the consumer is very important also. Convenient access to the client who’s living this era (remember the post thumb up, hyperconnection, customization…) and do it through the most appropriate and productive channels, is something key in the Industry 4.0 adoption.
And then, the last desire, generate collaborative environments that makes possible a cheaper, richer and more agile production process.
Technology pillars in Industry 4.0
All these goals are supported, or must be, based on a series of technological pillars. The big tech consultancy firms agree that they are about nine. Let me introduce them…
The first we would like to talk about is robotics and all related with autonomous robot’s proliferation. We’ve been living with industrial robots for many years already. This is not something disruptive. But things are changing rapidly and the Industry adoption of robots is speeding up due to crisis. In the other hand, personal assistance robotics is now visible at the horizon.
The next technological pillar is simulation. Again, we’ve known the simulation for long time. I remember perfectly having seen simulation to get better and more robust hardware pieces stressing them virtually. You must think probably “This guy is talking about obviousness and old trends”. But today we’re arriving a little further with 3D simulation and the concept of Digital Twins, which is nothing more than having a physical asset, or a piece, digital representation. The goal is to design it better, to get a better understand of its behavior, to stress it to the limit without spend lots of money, to think about better preventive maintenance and basically lengthen its useful life to maximize the return of that asset.
The next is system integration, both horizontally and vertically. No comments on that topic.
The next one is cloud computing, something already obvious in our world but nevertheless we have to give it a relevant place on this list. The Cloud has changed everything. At infrastructure level with IaaS concept, at service level with SaaS and with new paradigms like of Platform as Service or Container as Service. Multiple choices today for the Industry to get the most from our IT investment.
Other technological pillar, also very important, is additive manufacturing. And let’s be clear in this topic. 3D printing is one of the great sleeping giants that, at any moment, can hatch and get a great impact into industry, reducing costs and changing customer demand paradigms due to self-manufacturing new opportunities.
The next one I would like to present is Reality. And here I mean not only the augmented reality, the one that seems will create more and faster revenue for the industry. We also talk about virtual reality. I’m sure it fits perfectly with Industry aspects like job nature transformation, new professional competences training and other production chain collateral aspects. But, in my opinion, the one that is going to break it all will be Mixed Reality, something like Microsoft's Hololens. This is a very interesting reality in which coexist both realities using holograms. There are multiple fields of application in Industry 4.0 for this disruptive approach. Believe me…
Another important pillar is Big Data and Analytics, topics intensively treated on my Blog, maybe too much. I’ve already posted a good number of posts about this way of thinking. For me is absolute key in this 4.0 revolution. It’s almost magic to be able to work with huge volumes of information we’re generating every day, do it in a logical way and don’t go crazy. Rapid substantial improvements in decision-making process or maintenance applying prescriptive, predictive or diagnostic, are not impossible today. It’s just matter of start doing…
But perhaps, where all the authors agree when identifying the main tech pillars that are actually transforming Industry 4.0, it’s in affirming the Internet of Things relevance. We understand IoT as a world in which we are connecting everything. We’ve got such a hyperconnectivity and devices autonomy that allows us to experiment daily an amazing data exchange worldwide, something that opens the door to thousands of application opportunities. And we’re talking about a reality now. Because we’re talking about six dot four (6.4) billion things already connected today. But with a forecast to reach 21 billion in twenty twenty (2020). Imagine all that can be done with that. At business level, we’re even talking about IoT is moving around two hundred and thirty-five (235) billion dollars annually with a growth of forty two per cent (42%) year on year. Impressive, isn’t it?
And closely related with IoT nature, we’ve got the last technological pillar, cybersecurity. Here, unfortunately, we need to be very serious since last year, for example, we had a (DoS) denial of service attack at world scale. Do you remember that? Half humanity without internet service. This service interruption was caused mainly by the fact that many of the sensors and other devices installed in different key points of this hyperconnected world, still got the factory passwords. The ones that manufacturers give as base to build your own security on top. Obviously, that made it much easier for hackers to take control of these devices.
Thinking about cybersecurity, it comes rapidly to my mind something that we can easily mix up with an April fool’s joke. It’s something about woman sex toys factory that, as an IoT disruptive and technological improvement, applied sensors to allow users and their partners to feel pleasure simultaneously, sharing data about location and intensity during the usage. Unfortunately, many of these devices were hacked by relevant security breaches. Imagine users’ shame. And, in a more sensitive field, we could find a similar case with fluffy toys for children. Again, a motivated manufacturer anxious to jump up to the modernity wave, inserted cameras in beautiful and lovely toys to let their parents watch their children play with. But unfortunately, they were also hacked, leaving a door open to child pornography.
The concept I wanted to make clear here is the need to ensure two basic things: secure communications and more sophisticated access and authentication management to avoid identity thief or phishing. Keep in mind the twenty-one (21) billion access opportunities. This for me, without hesitation, is one of the most important technological pillars.
These two aspects confluence, both levers and pillars, generates a series of opportunities. The fact of combining a desire with the way to bring it to reality through technology, allows me to generate a business opportunity in my industry.
What I am showing you then is a technological map resulting from the crossing between the levers and the pillars I’ve being introducing you in this video. In this map, you can see different opportunities that arise quickly. Here I only leave few of them. For instance: Nanotechnology application to be more innovative in terms of advanced materials, wearables or bots to be able to generate virtual offices in everything related to consumer digital access, autonomous cars applied to logistics ... there are many. This same image would already serve me to make a specific post about business opportunities related to Industry 4.0 technology. Maybe one of these days I get into it.