According to a Metova Survey in 2019, awareness of the Internet of Things (IoT) is low. As less than 1 in 4 people fully understand the term even though nearly 75% of people own an IoT device. In recent years, the Internet of Things seems to be the next step for many companies in various fields. And once you start digging into IoT you realize just how much potential it holds for businesses. After all, it’s called Industry 4.0 revolution for a reason.
In this article, we talk about what is the Internet of Things (IoT), the history of industry 4.0, and how it came to be. As well as the benefits of using IoT for your business.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things is adding digital sensors and networking technologies to devices and systems we use every day. The most popular examples are Nest and Amazon Alexa-powered devices.
To make it clearer, let’s take a smart thermostat as an example. So, a smart thermostat will have sensors in multiple rooms and connect to your phone and internet. This is to extend your control over the temperature of the space, not just one room. Other features might be to control the temperature when you’re out or based on weather patterns. It can even detect when you leave the room or house and adjust accordingly.
The same concepts can be used in commercial and municipal uses as well. This includes building temperature control systems, sensor-enabled trucks, digital manufacturing control systems, and many more.
What Is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is the latest phase in the industrial revolution that relies on the use of automation, data exchange, and machine learning in manufacturing. According to the Boston Consulting Group, industry 4.0 has nine principles:
- Autonomous Robots
- Horizontal and Vertical System Integration
- The Industrial Internet of Things
- The Cloud
- Additive Manufacturing
- Data and Analytics
- Augmented Reality (AR)
These technologies are then used to make a “smart factory” where physical production and operations are paired with smart machines and systems to create a more holistic and better-connected ecosystem for companies. Industry 4.0 is beneficial to all companies in all industries as it solves their need for connectedness and access to real-time insights.
How it Came to Be
The First Industrial Revolution
Starting sometime between the late 1700s and early 1800s, the first industrial revolution helped manufacturing evolve from focusing on manual labor (people aided by work animals) to a more efficient and optimized form of labor by using water and steam-powered engines. This enabled mass production of finished goods produced by machines rather than by hand.
The Second Industrial Revolution
The second revolution happened when steel and electricity were introduced to factories in the 20th century. These new resources alongside more advanced communications via telephone and telegraph made mass production more efficient. This was also when some degree of automation and the assembly line were introduced to boost productivity.
The Third Industrial Revolution
In the late 1950s, a third industrial revolution began to emerge, as more electronic and eventually, computer, technology was incorporated into factories. During this period manufacturers began to put more emphasis on the digitalization of factories to help automate some processes and collect and share data.
And Finally, The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Now we’re in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0. As we’ve mentioned before, this revolution relies heavily on automation, data exchange, and machine learning. By employing smart machines and smart factories to produce goods more efficiently and increase productivity across the value chain. By depending on the interconnectivity of the Internet of Things (IoT), access to real-time data, and cyber-physical systems, Industry 4.0 offers companies a more comprehensive, interlinked, and flexible approach to manufacturing. This revolution has empowered business owners to better control and understand their operations and gave them the data needed to boost productivity, improve processes, and drive growth.
Benefits of Industry 4.0
Now that we’ve gone through the history of Industry 4.0 and how it came to be, let’s talk about the benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things for businesses:
Improved Productivity and Efficiency
Industry 4.0 gives you the tools needed to do more with less. Meaning you can produce more and faster while using less raw material and keeping costs down. This means less overall downtime for your business as you incorporate enhanced machine monitoring and automated/semi-automated processes. Not only that, but it will enhance the efficiency of multiple areas in your production line as a direct result of Industry 4.0 technologies.
While the initial investment for Industry 4.0 may seem high in the beginning, it pays off in the long term. As you incorporate into your operation, you will notice that the cost of manufacturing at your facilities will fall as a result. Industry 4.0 simply allows you to make better use of your resources, manufacture faster, reduce downtime, reduce quality issues, and reduce overall operational costs.
Better Customer Experience
Faster production and fewer quality issues mean a better customer experience overall. And that’s not just the only way that Industry 4.0 enhances your customers’ experience. It also offers you solutions to better track and identify problematic products to fix any issues you are having. And as you enhance your operations and overall product quality, you decrease the number of complaints, recall, and problem-solving you’ll have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
This article was just an overview of what Industry 4.0 and IoT can offer to businesses. As you dive more and more into it, you’ll realize just how revolutionary and amazing they are for businesses. You’ll be able to build a sustainable, and scalable enterprise when you start using the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 can help you build a sustainable, and scalable enterprise. If you’re not sure where to start or how it can benefit your business, contact our team today and we will guide you.