The New Industry 4.0 Revolution
Today, we are witnessing the dawn of a new industrial revolution in the form of Industry 4.0. Forrester defines Industry 4.0 as a real-time process integration with digital technology, enabling “intelligence anywhere,” (1). The amalgamation of advanced operational techniques along with the combination of digital technologies allows for the creation of a smart digital enterprise with fully connected processes. Companies, which have adopted the true meaning of Industry 4.0 and have undergone a digital transformation, have reinvented their business models. Upending of these business models has resulted in massive disruption across industries.
Blending of new economic models like the shared and circular economy and industry 4.0 has initiated a process of change across industries more so in asset heavy industries and specifically across manufacturing industries. Two of the primary areas where they have had the most impact resulting in new opportunities are:
Rise of ecosystem collaboration
Close collaboration with partners, suppliers and customers have always helped to yield competitive advantage for all stakeholders involved. Digital technologies have enabled to dissolve the boundaries between various entities in an ecosystem thus allowing for more interactions, which was nonexistent earlier. As the adoption of digital technologies increase, the need for a common platform increases, which enables better interactions and facilitates new way of doing business. IDC predicts that by 2018, more than 50 percent of large enterprises – and more than 80 percent of enterprises with advanced digital transformation strategies – will create and/or collaborate with industry platforms (2). Thus, we are entering into a stage of new era of platform driven business models that allows for better means of value creation for all the partners present in the ecosystem.
That being said the ecosystem collaboration model brings forth challenges of access control, data governance and dynamic partnerships (2). In addition as more multitude of partners access this platform, the need for increasing transparency and trust will rise.
The Age of Intelligent Assets
Ellen Mc Arthur foundation defines intelligent assets as physical objects that are able to sense, record and communicate information about themselves and/or their surroundings (3). But, the ambit of intelligent assets should not be restricted to only relaying information, rather should be defined as assets that are completely autonomous, which can perform operational activities by themselves like self-order parts, generate service request and ensure complete utilization.
Gartner predicts that by 2021 ‘around 25 billion connected “things” will be in use’ and their ‘disruptive impact will be felt across (4). So what importance does this information hold? As more assets are connected, more data is generated thus enabling us to derive more insights. Thus, we are standing in a crux of a new world where each asset has the potential to be “intelligent & completely autonomous”.