Many experts agree that we are on the cusp of a fourth major industrial revolution. But what can industry learn from what has gone before to ensure they are not left behind in our new hyper-connected world?
In the late 18th century, the British industrial revolution began a process that would transform humanity forever. A century later, electricity and the production line brought new efficiencies to the manufacturing process. During the 1960s, sophisticated electronics and the beginnings of the ICT era led to automation, further enhancing the production process.
Today, as we connect the world’s machines to one other, the fourth industrial revolution is upon us.
Looking back to look forward
Each of the industrial revolutions to date had innovation at their core, and were soon followed by major societal transformation, with economic, social, political and environmental impacts.
Back in the 18th century, masses of people were taken by surprise as the first industrial revolution transformed the western world from an agricultural society to an industrialized, ambitious one. Those who were unprepared or too slow to react when they woke up to the new reality were left behind.
The innovations then included the steam engine, spinning mules, and the puddling process of purifying iron. Today’s innovation is the Internet of Things.
With IoT and Big Data as the catalyst, the speed and scale of information collection and analysis is rapidly increasing. Asynchronous manufacturing equipment can now be connected and communicate with one another. The connected systems can be monitored, analyzed, self-optimized and more. This reduces downtime, reduces costs and increases outputs, making manufacturing more efficient.
The road ahead
History has taught us that preparation and flexibility are the keys to successfully taking advantage of the inevitable economic, social, political and environmental changes that the Internet of Things will bring.
But preparing for this data-centered revolution is about more than just retrofitting equipment and installing Big Data systems.
Decisions still have to be made, and to make the correct ones the decision-makers need to correctly interpret the masses of data being produced. It’s not only private companies that need to be prepared. Based on what’s gone before, do Governments understand the potential societal changes that lie ahead?
Is your organization IoT-literate?
New IoT jobs will be required at every level of organizations, and an investment in education and training of senior management and other decision-makers is almost certainly going to be a wise investment.
The days of a separate IT department are numbered. For the best possible chance of future success, your entire organization needs to be IT and IoT literate.
We’re trying to do our bit to help with the Get Connected Blog, and our Nordic Developer Zone blog for IoT developers.
When it comes to IoT literacy, what can your organization do today to increase your chances of a successful tomorrow?