What is The Fourth Industrial Revolution?
With a surge in manufacturing output, automated solutions are key to maintaining a competitive advantage. From smartphones to smart fridges, technology has played a major role in advancing most areas of our everyday lives — but it is also transforming the world of industry.
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Ubiquitous, mobile super-computing. Artificially-intelligent robots. Self-driving cars. Neuro-technological brain enhancements. Genetic editing. The evidence of dramatic change is all around us and it’s happening at exponential speed. Previous industrial revolutions liberated humankind from animal power, made mass production possible and brought digital capabilities to billions of people.
This Fourth Industrial Revolution is, however, fundamentally different. It is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is not a new technology, nor is it a business discipline, but in fact a new approach to achieve results that weren’t possible 10 years ago thanks to advancements in technology. It is the label given to the gradual combination of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices with the increasingly technological world around us. Factories will become increasingly automated and self-monitoring as the machines within are given the ability to analyse and communicate with each other and their human co-workers, granting companies much smoother processes that free up workers for other tasks.
Smart factories, which will be at the heart of Industry 4.0, will take on board information and communication technology for an evolution in the supply chain and production line that brings a much higher level of both automation & digitization. It means machines using self-optimization, self-configuration and even artificial intelligence to complete complex tasks in order to deliver vastly superior cost efficiencies and better quality goods or services.
We are at the start of a computing revolution that will change how we live and conduct business – emerging technologies will shape our world, our enterprises and our lives in profound and unforeseen ways. Everything will Compute. Manufacturing will increasingly be enabled by 3D Printing, advanced Analytics and the Internet of Things. Machines that speak to us, and to each other. Artificial Intelligence promises to transform the nature of work by taking over many repetitive tasks, freeing humans to think broadly and creatively. Virtual Reality Gets Real. VR & AR technology is finally maturing, transforming consumer experiences and creating new opportunities for enterprises.
The rate of technological change is accelerating, developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, genetic 3D Printing and biotechnology are all building on and amplifying one another. The key to surviving this new Fourth Industrial Revolution requires two key elements of agile businesses: awareness of disruptive technology and a plan to develop talent that can make the most of it. We are at the beginning of a new industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, which will only become a reality through the convergence of Operational and Information Technologies (OT & IT), and this convergence will be achieved through Fog Computing.
Economic growth has been slowing for the past 50 years, but relief might come from an unexpected place — a new form of manufacturing that is neither what you thought it was nor where you thought it was. Industrial systems thinker Olivier Scalabre details how a fourth manufacturing revolution will produce a macroeconomic shift and boost employment, productivity and growth.
FORA—Fog Computing for Robotics and Industrial Automation is a European Training Network (ETN). Fog Computing, also sometimes called Edge Computing, brings the Cloud “closer to the ground”, to the edge of the network. FORA is an interdisciplinary, international network that will train the next generation of researchers in Fog Computing with applicability to industrial automation and manufacturing. FORA’s researchers will receive integrated training across key areas (computer science, electrical engineering, control engineering, industrial automation, applied mathematics and data science) necessary to fully realize the potential of Fog Computing for Industry 4.0.