The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses around the world to change their strategies to survive the ‘new normal’.
Businesses that are already online experienced growth amidst the crisis, like SaaS and MicroSaaS companies that further increased demands for online, on-demand and cloud-based products and services.
Other businesses had to quickly shift online to preserve progression, part of them not having enough preparations and acuity but certain industries cannot survive just on remote operations.
What is Industry 4.0?
Even before the pandemic, Industry 4.0 was a field of great interest to many manufacturers as they looked in-depth into how Industry 4.0 technology can help them transition back to profitable operations.
Industry 4.0 refers to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, involving transformative technology such as smart factories with connective machines and intelligent robots.
- The First Industrial Revolution happened in the 1770s where manufacturing moved from manual to machine, from farms to factories, all using steam and water power.
- The Second Industrial Revolution happened a hundred years later when electricity became available. It gave us automation, assembly lines, and factories’ real image as we know them today.
- The arrival of computers started the Third Industrial Revolution, where factories were automated and boosted blue-collar jobs.
- This Fourth Industrial Revolution (4.0) now involves a network of technologies that can communicate and connect, learn from each other, diagnose and troubleshoot issues on their own, or alert human analysts.
Some practical applications are predictive maintenance, interconnected supply or logistic chains, intelligent robots, autonomous devices and systems.
Industry 4.0 and Its Relevance in the New Normal
Industry 4.0 is the age of smart connected machines and connected robots so we need to rethink our businesses, upgrade our skills and divert our investments into preparing and shifting towards these new technologies.
Organizations that do not prepare for this will not be as efficient and effective.
Here is a look at Industry 4.0 and how it can help businesses bounce back from challenging times so they can cope with whatever the future brings.
Boost in Smart Manufacturing
Industry 4.0 focuses on improving conventional production, industrial platforms and manufacturing processes with new technologies.
A survey by Plex Systems—a company that sells smart manufacturing platforms—reviewed global companies to learn about their success using Industry 4.0 applications. The findings showed that smart manufacturing options were adopted by just 24% of respondents. However, 22% launched pilots to test the worthiness of the technical solutions they were adapting.
HFS Research analysts have polled businesses to determine which innovations attracted their interest the most. The results showed many choices, such as automation, smart analytics, and cloud computing, offering immediate cost savings.
Researchers found that spending on products in those categories is likely to increase, while investments on products that take more time to produce revenues may decrease or remain unchanged in the coming months.
Industry 4.0 Technologies for Remote Areas
Advanced emerging technologies provide telemedicine systems for proper infection prevention and control. These technologies identify patient abnormalities and notify medical personnel immediately during an emergency.
These technologies make the remote health monitoring system more efficient. Sensors are used to detect physiological data providing valuable information to patients and physicians.
Advanced technologies are implemented to create greater exposure and creative solutions for COVID-19 patients, even in remote areas. In schooling for example, digital technology supports distance and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
IoT Minimizing Supply Chain Stress
The coronavirus pandemic quickly exposed supply chain problems leaving many unprepared businesses to catch up.
Those who switched to online purchases also encountered delays, while eCommerce companies saw enormous traffic jumps at the same time.
In March 2020, ACI Worldwide statistics showed a 74% growth in eCommerce transactions for most retail sectors as compared to the month in 2019.
Many people reported shipping delays, especially as regional and national lockdowns complicated matters. Shipment firms issued updates on service suspensions in affected countries, but slowdowns continued even though respective nations of the sender and receiver did not cease shipping and acceptance.
Technology that increases the supply chain’s visibility will help consumers survive in pandemic aftermath and future hardships.
You could initially overlook the effect on end-use components, but COVID-19 also affected them. Computer chips are an example. Their cleanrooms need 1000% higher cleanliness than hospital operating rooms.
Obtaining computer chips’ chemicals also poses problems. Many chemicals must remain in temperature-controlled environments to avoid reactions during transit.
Future of Industry 4.0 and HealthCare
Industry 4.0 innovations will apply in the future to store our health care system’s critical data that can be used for another similar pandemic like COVID-19. Specialists will soon adopt this development, especially doctors and professionals affecting COVID-19 and other parallel pandemics or epidemics.
It can be used to streamline all medical instruments, equipment, and processes. The medical industry will evolve in the future and adapt to emerging technology to build a smart healthcare system.
So, and so the software platform systems need to be updated to the latest. This revolution offers groundbreaking innovation to reduce the COVID-19 virus.
Smart Analytics to Boost Businesses
Companies may be even more interested in analytical methods to direct their decision-making. Some acted right away in going forward with such investments. Sisense surveyed U.S. data professionals to learn how they depend on business intelligence and data analytics after COVID-19.
According to the findings, 49% of those surveyed were more relevant than before the pandemic while most industrial and manufacturing respondents expected to retain analytics investment.
That’s good news, particularly when many businesses face the reality of making cutbacks to keep alive in some places.
The possibilities of using smart analytics are infinite. For example, an operating platform may display increased vibrational activity or temperature in a given machine, indicating it may need prompt service to avoid a breakdown.
Companies could also evaluate data at the departmental or shift level, keep up-to-date with overall efficiency, or which new processes are working well against those requiring modification.
Enterprises supporting Industry 4.0 can also apply analytics to help them deal with COVID-19 issues. Real-time platforms may provide alerts on shortages or demand spikes, providing business warnings to mitigate future disasters.
Ramping up Robotics Investments
Industrial robots can improve performance, streamline processes, and run continuously without interruption. All of these benefits are especially attractive when businesses are recovering.
Robots may become core elements of business adoption processes. Some countries have surpassed the worst of their coronavirus outbreaks, but there is still a risk of labor shortages when exposed persons need self-quarantine.
Other diseases—such as seasonal flu—may also affect plant development. Robotic equipment eliminates these impacts, allowing businesses to fulfill their needs.
Companies may want to pursue opportunities for robotics slowly and wait to see results before they escalate. That’s why Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) companies will find plenty of opportunities to expand their presence in the post-COVID-19 marketplace.
RaaS service providers manage computer repairs and maintenance and generally encourage their customers to invest in more items as their needs require.
Utilizing Corporate Environments
Decentralization and dual-use are essential to the post-pandemic economy. When customers can live anywhere, many would opt to have a bigger, cheaper home where they can live and work.
For the first time, two big real estate applications have announced a reversal of urbanization. Businesses can continue with remote working and other new normal conditions.
Virtual reality and augmented reality will also experience rapid change as companies seek more advanced, remote, and collaborative tools.
Holographic displays and interactive, collaborative spaces will be made possible by telepresence technology would increase even more as well.
Digital transformations in telecommunication must be in place to support this new demand.
Industry 4.0 offers an automatic solution for different manufacturing sectors and related areas. It consists of various manufacturing and digital information technology for processing, storing, analyzing, etc. to minimize the risks, speed up development and ensure growth.
By implementing these innovations, people can work from home and businesses can continue operating with more experience to cope better with future challenges.