Recently I attended an industrial cluster meeting. The place was packed, and I mean there were people standing on the staircase. The topic was Industry 4.0. The panel included three representatives of the biggest global manufacturers of industrial software solutions. During the meeting, the heads of IT off two of the country’ industry leaders presented. Never before have I seen a more honest and to the point presentation of the challenges that those companies are facing right now. They were asking for help and were looking for Industry 4.0 solutions. However, none of the industrial software giants were able to address the challenges mentioned.
Looking at Germany, the leader of industry 4.0, statistically 9 out of 10 German industrial companies believed that digitization offers more opportunities than risks. So if more businesses see digitization as a winning proposition, with potential value add-ons why is it such a challenge to move into the new industrial revolution?
What is Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 focuses on the end-to-end digitization of EVERYTHING, connecting and integrating digital environments with value chain partners. It focuses on industrial purposes (vs Internet of Things – IoT, which is for consumer purposes) and networks a wide range of new technologies. It creates value by generating, analysing and communicating data seamlessly. This interaction of hardware, software, and humans is very important. Especially the human machine interaction.
The Industrial Internet of Things (another name for Industry 4.0) is a different mind-set, a philosophy supported by technology, allowing total transparency, efficiency, and empowerment of people and companies.
The new industrial revolution will bring 4 big disruptions.
1) The rise of data volumes, Big – Data,
2) Computational power and connectivity increase,
3) Analytics and Business-Intelligence of Big-Data and
4) New forms of human-machine interactions and a transfer of digital instructions to the physical world.
Those disruptions require alternative styles of thinking. A paradigm change.
The concept of paradigm change
A paradigm shift is not only about what we experience and how we feel. It is about facts and the changes our experiences create within us, altering the way we feel and interact with the world. This has a direct effect in our decision that we take. Decisions that impact performance, sustainability and growth, both on a personal and a company level.
When we talk of a paradigm change in technology, like Industry 4.0, the tendency is to look at scientific and technological trends that involve new thinking. However, a paradigm change does not always represent a change in science and technology. It mostly represents a change in humans’ mentality. New information engages the mind, events engage the emotions and emotional shifts force people to expand or contract.
As with the optical illusion picture of the duck of “Rabbit and Duck” from the 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter, it can be both a rabbit and a duck. It all depends what you choose to see. If you want to soar the skies, probably you will first see the duck. If you want to hop across the fields, then the rabbit is the first you will see.
Normal practices do not mean at all a practice guided by a coherent system of rules, on the contrary, the rules can be derived from the paradigms, but the paradigms can guide the investigation also in the absence of rules.