Industry 4.0 is a common term to describe the Fourth Industrial Revolution, representing a new digital age. Industry 4.0 brings many benefits to the table for businesses worldwide; improved productivity, reduced cost, and even lesser machine and production line downtime. This term originated in 2011 as a government project from Germany and was later popularised at the Hannover Messe trade fair. This revolution was described as the integration of data, information, and communication in industrial production.
So what are the technologies ready to be used and have a practical solution for massive industrial-related problems? Companies can get started on their transformation towards Industry 4.0 by leveraging the following technologies.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in computer systems. Today, AI is used in a wide spectrum of business activities, from handling repetitive tasks to performing complex analyses.
Developed through the use of algorithms to process large amounts of data to identify patterns and anomalies. AI is used to derive useful business insights, generate predictive or forecasting analyses, and manage production processes by utilizing the data collected at any given time.
Companies worldwide are racing to equip their facilities with AI capabilities. According to the International Society of Automation (ISA), 30% of companies in the industrial sector globally have begun their plans in AI for digital transformation.
In fact, the use of AI in manufacturing is predicted to grow by 17 times from $1 billion in 2019 to $17billion in 2025. Predictive Maintenance is an example of how AI can be used in the manufacturing sector, where AI is used to predict potential machine breakdowns so that companies can prevent any catastrophic unplanned downtime.
For instance, a cable manufacturing company was looking at a solution to reduce their unplanned downtime, and improve the mean time between failure (MTBF) for their on-site equipment. As unforeseen breakdowns can bring about huge operational nightmares and affect production rates. To tackle this challenge, Groundup.ai utilized its Predictive Maintenance solution to do continuous monitoring of their equipment by deploying sound sensors to capture sound data. AI is then used to identify sound anomalies and predict potential machine failures. The system is able to detect sound anomalies that may go unnoticed and send out alerts so that operators can take appropriate action.
This solution not only improves operational efficiency but is also known to bring benefits such as:
2. Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT), uses a system of interconnected devices, machines, and computers via the internet. With the connected devices communicating with each other, massive amounts of data will be collected and sorted to be analysed, providing an accurate data set that can be improved later on.
Common use cases for this technology are to provide significant insights into companies’ operations and customers behavior. IoT has become a significant factor in Industry 4.0, with companies expecting industrial IoT (IIot) to boost business revenue by $154 million.
So how does IoT work? Take Groundup.ai’s IoT solution for example; by deploying IoT sound sensors onto individual machines, the sensors will collect sound data and is then analysed by utilizing AI algorithms. The processed data will be sent to the associated application, to show real-time information on the machine’s condition and when it’s best to perform maintenance.
3. Big Data
Big data is a diverse collection of extremely large data sets beyond the capability of traditional databases and can be analysed to identify patterns and trends. Big data has existed for some time now and companies have leveraged this to better understand customers and take calculated risks in top-level decision making.
Companies use big data to get an in-depth understanding of their customers, so they can create better strategies to benefit their businesses. For example, Amazon has mastered the use of big data to create one of the world’s best personalized shopping experiences. Its recommendation engine can accurately suggest an item a customer would likely buy in the following month by combining the data of past purchases, browsing history, and similar items bought by others.
Use cases for big data aren’t limited to e-commerce businesses, the manufacturing industry has benefited from this technology as well. One such advancement is the use of demand forecasting using big data for supply chain management. Demand is a variable that is never set in stone, so companies need to plan their production each year to fulfill orders and make a profit.
Manufacturing companies that use big data for demand forecasting collect historical data on assembly plant capacities, manpower resources, inventories of raw materials as well as the volume of demand for the product. The data is then analyzed to help manufacturers make better decisions on production planning. They can even go one step further to analyze a specific customer’s past order data to predict their next order timing and volume, so that the sales team can reach out to them proactively for the next order.
Using big data in demand forecasting has a number of advantages, including lower operational costs, enhanced supply chain agility, and increased customer satisfaction.
Cybersecurity is the protection of digital assets from unauthorized access. As businesses and people are becoming increasingly connected and with more classified data being shared, stored and transferred, cybersecurity will be the most critical factors for companies to invest in.
According to the US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency (CISA), having poor cybersecurity can lead to dangerous attacks ranging from malware erasing entire systems, attackers altering files, stealing of credit card information, to data ransom.
As reported by The Manufacturer, Colonial Pipeline experienced a ransomware cyberattack which saw them lose control of 45% of their oil pipelines. This incident was caused by Russian-based cybercriminals who demanded $5 million in ransom. Another incident occurred at Universal Healthcare Services (UHS), which experienced ransomware attacks that cost a loss of revenue of $67 million and resulted in outages at all 400 hospital locations. Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents as 84% of organisations and businesses globally have experienced phishing & ransomware attacks or threats in the past 12 months.
Did you know?
The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million as of 2020.(IBM)
Moreover, with the growth in usage of IoT devices, IoT device insecurity has been identified as a top concern and top driver of internet attack traffic, and cyberattacks on IoT devices are accelerating at an alarming rate. It is critical for companies to take immediate action to improve their cybersecurity measures to prevent attacks and protect their data and digital assets.
5. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing refers to the delivery of convenient, on-demand network access through the internet, without having to install or maintain physical computing equipment. It works by providing devices access to data over the internet, so users can access tools and applications from wherever they are.
Smartphones are one of the examples of advanced hardware with various cloud computing software that can be accessed anywhere. Resources can be easily retrieved, and with that, employees will have the mobility to access corporate data via their smartphones and devices, and need not be stuck in a fixed location to retrieve information.
42% of executives think that flexible working conditions are the main reason they use cloud computing.Source: Hashmicro
In the recent COVID-19 pandemic, cloud computing has proven to be beneficial for companies worldwide. As work from home becomes a new norm, employees are still able to access corporate data so they can continue with their daily work activities while being safe at home.
Bring your Company towards Industry 4.0
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here, whether businesses are ready for it or not. Early adopters of these technologies can stand to reap maximum benefits as they will be one of the first to gain experience and knowledge in utilizing these technologies to support their work activities.
Regardless, the time to act is now. Shifting to new technologies may seem to be a difficult task but it brings about endless benefits to businesses and swift adoption of these new technologies will help to build capabilities to ensure continued business success.
Here at Groundup.ai, we see ourselves as a catalyst to help industrial companies transform into ‘Industry 4.0’ and beyond. Have a chat with us to find out more about how our proprietary IoT sound sensors and AI platform can help your organization move towards Industry 4.0.