The key technologies driving the next Industrial Revolution
Technology is rapidly changing the world around us – and the industrial sector is no exception.
As digital transformation continues to spread, industrial leaders are replacing traditional manufacturing methods with virtualised, automated, and highly intelligent data-driven systems to remain competitive in a brave new world.
Industry 4.0 (aka the fourth industrial revolution) marks a significant turning point in the manufacturing landscape where physical operations merge with smart tech and AI to improve production, reduce cost, and adapt to life in the digital age.
But what are the key technologies driving this movement? Let’s take a look below to find out:
Industrial Internet of Things
In a similar fashion to their consumer siblings, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is basically a group of new technologies designed to help make manufacturing and industrial companies smarter.
For example, by installing IIoT sensors and actuators on factory floors and machinery, organisations can gather real-time analytics to help streamline industrial operations, improve safety, cut back on inefficiencies, and increase profit throughout multiple areas of the business.
According to research, the Industrial IoT market will grow from USD 77.3 billion in 2020 to USD 110.6 billion by 2025, proving this technology will remain a key driving force behind Industry 4.0 over the next decade.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Once IIoT sensors have gathered the data, companies can then leverage industrialised Artificial Intelligence platforms like Plataine to process it and take the necessary action to convert that data into something of value.
For example, if an IIoT sensor records an irregularity on the production line, AI can quickly detect the problem and even correct it autonomously without the need for human involvement.
The addition of Machine Learning tech also means computers can now learn from their experiences to resolve problems with greater effectiveness and even put actions in place to prevent similar incidents from occurring again in the future.
As with IIoT, sources show the AI in the manufacturing market is expected to increase significantly over the next few years, growing from USD 1.1 billion in 2020 to USD 16.7 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 57.2%.
Whenever I hear Artificial Intelligence and Robotics used together in the same sentence, I can’t help but think how astoundingly close we’re all getting to the premise of The Terminator franchise.
While James Cameron’s vision of muscle-bound cyborgs with strong Austrian accents hunting down women in the street may not be a reality just yet, the growing presence of intelligent robotics in the industrial space proves a revolution is coming.
BMW, for example, recently upped its investment in AI-driven robotics to speed up logistics processes throughout its factory floors – a trend that will no doubt spread throughout the industrial landscape once the technology is more widely available.
In fact, sources claim as many as 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world could be replaced by robots by 2030, confirming the technology will play a huge role in the future of the industrial sector.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
While both virtual and augmented reality tech first found fame as consumer products in the video gaming space, the value they’re bringing to the industrial marketplace today surpasses everything that came before.
Industrial VR training platforms like PaleBlue, for example, enhance the learning experience at scale within immersive virtualised simulations that are safer, cheaper, and infinitely more engaging for the student.
Meanwhile, advanced AR remote-assistance platforms like Help Lightning are taking workforce collaboration to the next evolutionary step, allowing organisations to deliver better, faster, and more efficient service to their customers.
Perhaps that’s why PwC recently stated VR/AR tech has the potential to add USD 1.5 trillion to the global economy by 2030, including USD 359 billion in Product and Service Development, USD 294.2 billion in Training, and $275 billion in Process Improvements.
Unlike virtual reality, which consists of fully immersing the user into a completely simulated virtual environment, Digital Twin instead focuses on creating virtualised duplicates or “twins” of physical products.
Digital Twins are especially useful for prototyping or collaborating on projects from opposite sides of the world where the cost of creating physical products and transporting them from one place to the next has a significant impact on the bottom line.
Considering the immense value Digital Twin can have in reducing cost and improving productivity in the industrial sector, it should come as no surprise researchers forecast the market valued at USD 3.1 billion in 2020 will reach USD 48.2 billion by 2026.
While all of the above technologies will play an essential role in reshaping the industrial sector over the next decade, the arrival of 5G at scale is undoubtedly the most disruptive entry on this list.
With much lower latency rates and speeds up to 100 times faster than current 4G data networks, 5G (or fifth-generation wireless network technology) will change the world in many ways once it’s rolled out at scale at the end of 2021.
From then, research tells us the 5G market is expected to hit USD 720 billion by 2030, with mobile service, fixed wireless services, and narrow-band IoT accounting for a significant portion of that growth.
The Future is Digital
Just by combining the forecasted revenues of these technologies over the next decade alone, it’s clear to see how much of an impact this trillion-dollar industry will have on the manufacturing world of tomorrow.
While the fourth industrial revolution is already well underway, the arrival of 5G at scale at the end of 2021 will undoubtedly accelerate the process and allow business leaders to realise the true ROI of their existing Industry 4.0 investments.
Add to this the inevitable surge in new technological innovations that will arise once high-speed wireless is available to the masses, it’s fair to say Industry 4.0 will be one of the most exciting trends to follow for years to come. If your business needs help marketing the technologies that will drive Industry 4.0 then we'd love to partner with you. Speak to firstname.lastname@example.org.