4 Examples of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Action

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by networking via digital tools. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken this digital transformation a few steps further, but entrepreneurs emerging from the pandemic must find ways to use technology to improve their bottom lines. Here are some great examples of how the recent revolution has changed the way we work.

There is disagreement among experts as to when – exactly – the Fourth Industrial Revolution began. Some believe it started as early as 2011 while others believe it is not yet fully realized. What is clear is that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced every industry facing significant supply chain issues to embrace technology in new ways while forever changing expectations.

But what is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, exactly? It refers to the use of connected digital technologies across the manufacturing ecosystem. Solutions such as internet-connected machines and data-driven systems give manufacturers unprecedented insight into production processes and precise control over their operations. Problems related to efficiency, productivity, quality and consistency can all be solved using new technologies. And those same resources can also fuel the engine of innovation, enabling any entrepreneur who has invested in manufacturing to achieve what was previously impossible.

Whether it’s fast approaching or long in the making, this revolution represents a paradigm shift for entrepreneurs across multiple industries. For manufacturers, this next era of operations opens up opportunities to make things bigger, faster, stronger and smarter—better in every way. Here’s what it will look like in action:

  1. The use of digital twin technology will build a climate-resilient infrastructure
    Digital twins are high-precision 3D models of physical systems and infrastructure. Manufacturers can use digital twins to identify changes, quantify risk, and plan improvements in a virtual environment before acting in the real world. The mining industry, for example, relies on digital twins to improve safety and improve production. More importantly, they use detailed models of mine sites to make those sites more resilient to the unpredictable impacts of climate change.
    According to Christian Sanz, CEO and founder of Skycatch, drones are a key contributor to the effectiveness of digital twins. “High-precision drone capture and the creation of digital twins allow companies and governments to safely, reliably, and more regularly collect this type of 3D data for analysis,” said Sanz. “Previously, gathering the information needed to make these decisions was extremely time-consuming and sometimes impossible due to a lack of secure access.”
    The digital twin technology proved crucial Skycatch helped Microsoft Upgrading its Redmond campus in 2019. Wed more sustainable and less disruptive technology, Skycatch assessed the structural integrity and created a blueprint for the extensive renovation work required at the Redmond site. Digital twin solutions show that new and innovative technologies can be effective without having to be overly invasive.
  2. Adopting natural language processing will improve disease diagnosis
    As medical information gradually becomes fully digitized, healthcare providers can begin to analyze this information to improve disease diagnosis and treatment planning. Both Amazon and Google have launched programs to help healthcare organizations bring their data together in one place and use tools like natural language processing and artificial intelligence (AI) to gain more insights from that data.
    This information could help with everything from controlling costs to limiting the spread of infectious diseases. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is not just limited to manufacturing or heavy industry, but is enabling healthcare and all the entrepreneurs working in it to use data to improve their environment.
  3. The transition to full cloud adoption will make remote work easier
    For several companies, the pandemic has proven that remote work can be just as effective and productive as traditional face-to-face offices. However, it was not without hiccups. The extent to which organizations rely on cloud technology has, in large part, determined how well this remote transition went.
    Having learned this lesson, companies are rushing to embrace the cloud wherever possible. demand for cloud services increased by 775% since the beginning of the pandemic. Full cloud adoption enables any business—manufacturing or otherwise—to decouple operations from any specific location and work efficiently from anywhere.
    However, the cloud not only makes companies more flexible, but also helps to stimulate innovation, create economic efficiencies and accelerate service delivery. During the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the cloud is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
  4. Incorporating machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) will streamline logistics
    Manufacturing processes are not the only improvements brought about by connected technologies. IoT sensors and GPS technology streamline logistics and make shipments traceable to their most precise location. Greater supply chain visibility helps reduce common logistical hurdles.

Collecting more data on how shipments are moving around the world leads to another benefit: feeding that data into machine learning systems that can predict where, when, why and how problems will occur and how to solve them. Global supply chains will be no less Byzantine for years to come. However, thanks to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, managing them is becoming easier and easier.

Changes will come quickly during the post-pandemic period. The companies best positioned to benefit from the fourth industrial revolution are those that start to adopt and experiment with new approaches sooner rather than later.

Written by Rhett Power.

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