What Is Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 – The first industrial revolution was powered by steam—the second, by electricity and the assembly lines that led to mass production. Automation led the third revolution from the 1960s onward. For instance, General Motors installed robotic arms to assist their assembly lines in 1961.
Today, we are entering the fourth industrial revolution, or as many prefer to call it, Industry 4.0. In this technological paradigm, computers and automation will come together in a new and innovative way. Artificial Intelligence (AI)—specifically learning machines capable of acquiring complete knowledge from their experience—will be creating automated systems that require very little input from human operators.
The Internet of Things (IoT)—and the possibility to monitor, manage, and process data from different angles through robots, devices, and computers—will allow these machines to speed up their learning curve, enabling them to make decisions faster and with higher accuracy. This will give rise to smart factories and environments in which computers will be able to monitor the physical processes of the factory and make decentralized and independent decisions. Physical production lines will be transformed through the Internet of Things, communicating and cooperating both with each other and with humans in real time via the wireless web.
Industry 4.0, IoT Cloud Computing, and Application Virtualization
The Internet of Things allows the transfer of data over a network without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. The system can be seen as a communicating network of computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, and people that collaborate to perform tasks and processes.
It is important for the manufacturing enterprises to ride this new technology wave. However, it’s also a challenge understanding which solutions to implement and how they will impact your organization in the short and long term. Virtualization technology has had a very important role in the IT landscape since 1998 and will continue growing in importance as the Internet of Things continues to expand.
The term “cloud computing” was introduced in 2008 to indicate the ecosystem of hardware and software that provides services to users from one or more datacenters. Cloud computing encompasses Platform as a Service (PaaS), Information as a Service (IaaS), Desktop as a Service (DaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). These services offer customers better scalability and flexibility when it comes to delivering and accessing line of business applications, customer data, and virtual desktops.
In Industry 4.0, virtualization will comprise several technology trends including cloud computing, mobile, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The ubiquity and scalability created by cloud computing allows manufacturing to break free from the limits of their infrastructure and to operate from any location. In practice, a computer in Louisiana could make decisions about a production plan in China, and vice versa. Building an efficient IoT system means creating a robust, high-availability network that provides employees, machines, computers, and applications access to data from any device.
For this to be successful, virtual applications become a vital cog in this process. Always being connected, available, and capable of working on any device ensures the system can collect and process data from any platform and location, resulting in a more cohesive, communicative IoT system.
Industry 4.0 Conclusion
Manufacturing C levels are eager to embrace the Industry 4.0 paradigm to improve productivity and profitability of their businesses. Organizations will need to be able to provide ubiquitous access to applications, desktops, servers, and data from any device.
Virtualization, IoT, and cloud computing will lead the sector for the next 3-5 years, supporting businesses to work more efficiently and faster.