When does it start?

The mention of industry 4.0 first appeared in 2011 at the World Industry Forum in Hanover. This industry 4.0 term echoes the fourth industrial revolution after mechanization, industrialization and automation.

 

How to define it?

Industry 4.0 is the computerization of industrial manufacturing processes. Commonly referred to as an intelligent, connected factory, it is the synthesis of a convergence between computerization and the Internet. Hence the contraction of IT + OT (for Operational technology) in IOT, which means the Internet of Things.

 

What are its essentials?

The Internet of Things (iot) and big data comprise the nucleus of Industry 4.0. It brings the virtual world and the real world together. Data and connectivity being its two bases from which to grow and develop.

The connected objects produce large amounts of data including storage and processing that will feed the big data.

Big Data: technologies and means of storing and exchanging data have now reached a gigantic volume. This problem has led to the emergence of data science, which aggregates the data, making it palatable, presentable and usable by companies across industries.

The Internet of Things

According to Gartner’s research firm in new technologies,“The Internet of Things is a network of dedicated physical objects that integrate technologies to detect or interact with their internal states or external environments. IoT is an ecosystem of objects, communications, applications and data analysis”.

For the past 4 years, smartglasses seem to have integrated most of the major industrial groups. In Toshiba’s recent report “Maximizing Mobility” revealed that 49% of companies believe that their industry could benefit from the hands-free features of smart glasses, while 47% expect them to optimize remote working and 41% expect improvements in collaboration, information sharing, productivity and employee safety.

 

What is the pivot of this revolution?

Growth in this world is driven on customer needs and therefore abandons the concept of a single product in favor of an almost tailor-made, personalized product in short, limited and above all scalable production. The client will therefore be his starting point and remain at the heart of the process. The customer becomes a full partner and is often consulted by the research and development department. It’s really an innovation. The production teams will go into the field, there is indeed a notion of connection and interaction that takes place on a human scale and not only on a technological scale. This transformation is known as the digital transition.

 

A revolution in the business world or more broadly in society?

But this global revolution goes beyond technological change. This digital transition requires adaptability, changes in usage and a change in mentalities.

By its very nature, it will lead to a real organizational transformation at the human level in thinking, hierarchy, inter-team relationships in companies, relationships with customers, ecosystems and partners. The new generations born with a digital culture will find themselves confronted with a hierarchy that is sometimes lacking in digital knowledge and will naturally stimulate a new dynamic.

The fourth industrial revolution will transform everyone and every organization exponentially.

The business model is impacted and the commercial offer, the specifications will have to be flexible, modular and take into account external data specific to the user.

We go beyond the design of a product. We start from the experience and customer needs, so we work with our environment and in fact we arrive with a complementarity of service. Complexity will be in the understanding of use in its diversity. The customer does not have to adapt, we will have to collaborate with potential partners and processes specific to our customers. We are talking about integration at the level of solution developers. Gateways that interface with the customer’s platform transform solution developers into integrators.

Recently, AMA and Proceedix* have combined their expertise to offer their customers the opportunity to innovate while integrating with their existing tools.

“More and more companies are interested in smartglasses as part of the implementation of business processes. Many situations lend themselves to the use of connected glasses on industrial sites. It is often required to have your hands free to perform a procedure accurately. With XpertEye’s real-time support features, operators have a state-of-the-art solution at their disposal,” said Peter Verstraeten, CEO of Proceedix.

“The Proceedix centralized SaaS business process management platform is a perfect complement to the advanced XpertEye remote assistance solutions developed by AMA. The combination of these advanced solutions allows both companies to provide customers with the keys to their future success,” said Christian Guillemot, CEO of AMA XpertEye.

Production will have to be agile.

This requires a new thought, the act of production requires more interactions, connections and this in an optimal way. We are entering a collaborative era.

These new concepts require a reorganization of resources, involves training, changes in management that are often more horizontal, and leads to a global and not compartmentalized strategy. The whole company is impacted.

Beyond that, it is a societal issue driven at the political level. In France, the first secretary of state for digital technology was Fleur Pellerin and she set up the French Tech label with the help of business leaders. There was a real recognition of the issue to give back a place to the industry that was suffering from a deficit.

 

What is its degree of maturity (adoption)?

In reality, this 4.0 industry is still called the industry of the future because its adoption rate remains low. With the organizational upheavals that this revolution implies, its implementation is strategic and time-consuming.

The stakes are such that its adoption requires a pilot phase that allows companies to test solutions first and often at the initiative of their innovation director before large-scale deployment.

A recent Bain report has positioned more than 90% of companies in POC (proof of concept) mode. However, the adoption capacity seems real since by 2020, Bain expects a significant change with nearly 80% of pilots converted.

What level of investment will be committed?

According to PwC‘s global industry 4.0* survey of more than 2,000 industrial companies in 26 countries, they are expected to invest $907 billion a year in digital business transformation by 2020.

This investment will be mainly dedicated to the development of digital technologies, such as sensors or connected objects, manufacturing execution systems, data analytics, horizontal communication and collaboration platforms, augmented reality and advanced production and logistics management techniques.

 

What are the expected benefits?

Still, according to Pwc, these investments will generate an average of 2.9% additional revenue per year and lead to a cost reduction of 3.6% per year.

More than half of them (55%) expect to make this investment profitable in just two years, and even 65% in France.

In addition, companies in the industry invest in the training of their employees so as to maximize the value of new technology adoption.

 

A global, societal challenge?

Considering that industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution, it has already begun. Smart plants will require new skills. People will be a high added value in the management of these new technologies. Our HRDs are key people, their ability to find talent will make a difference.  There is a real shortage of engineers and not yet much training in the new digital professions. How will society manage the real challenge of this transformation? Training and education are indeed the real challenge for a successful revolution.

Moreover, many professionals are opening schools to make up for their lack of applications. According to a report published by the World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs 2016, 65 per cent of children currently in primary school will in the future be employed in jobs that do not yet exist. Computer skills will become essential.

*Proceedix develops and markets a SaaS platform that simplifies the remote management of business processes, tasks and quality controls with a 100% digital system optimized for mobile devices.

**AMA is developing Xperteye is an advanced remote assistance solution based on the use of different types of connected glasses and other videoconferencing devices.

By Marie-Anne DENIS

Communication Director AMA XpertEye