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Industry 4.0 & The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What does it mean?

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

Industry 4.0

We are in the midst of an industrial revolution. In reality, this is the fourth industrial revolution to take place. It's this time pushing digital transformation trends and assisting businesses in becoming Autonomous Digital Enterprises.

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The automation of manufacturing and industrial operations that would otherwise be manual tasks is the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Modern intelligent technology, machine communication in huge machine-to-machine networks, and the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) all combine to provide organizations with the potential to profit from:

  • Automation that is more intelligent

  • Advanced self-monitoring and more thorough communication

  • Intelligent machines that manage, monitor, and maintain systems are being developed.

  • Problems can be solved without the need for developers.

An overview of the Fourth Industrial Revolution's history

The term "fourth industrial revolution" was coined by Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, in 2015. In 2016, the Forum established a facility in San Francisco to explore the fourth industrial revolution. This revolution, according to Schwab, can be summarized as follows:

"This is the era of self-driving cars and other innovations in automation that combine robots and intelligent automation with quantum computing and biotechnology to improve corporate efficiency."

There have been three previous industrial revolutions, as the name implies:

  • Between 1760 and 1840, the first industrial revolution switched from hand-building techniques to steam power.

  • Railroads and mail service emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • A third industrial revolution ushered in an era of digital technology at the end of the twentieth century.

The digital era, the third revolution, was a decades-long response to World War II and the subsequent industrialization slowdown. Computers and hand-held technology eventually began to dominate the marketplace and corporate ecology, especially when it came to the need for more efficient communication methods.

The four design principles of Industry 4.0 are as follows:

The four design principles of Industry 4.0


Industry 4.0 is the current trend in industrial technologies for automation and data interchange. Cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, and cloud computing are all part of it. Industry 4.0 results in the creation of a "smart factory."


The 4th Industrial Revolution's technologies

When we talk about the fourth industrial revolution, we're referring to these well-known concepts and technology. You'll learn why this revolution is jokingly termed "the imagination age" because of the tremendous potential of these technologies.

Renewable energy

Within the 4th revolution, this technology is relatively new. Today's scientists and engineers are looking for solutions to take advantage of lower renewable energy costs in order to tackle the world's resource scarcity challenge.


Biomolecular processes are employed as a catalyst in this expanding industry to produce new technologies that can be applied in industries such as:

  • Manufacturing

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Areas where clean, efficient science is valuable

Virtual Reality (VR)

With this new technology, businesses can create immersive experiences using a digital VR headset. This could be anything, for example:

  • Employees in the transportation business can receive virtual safety training.

  • In the tourism sector, virtual vacation services allow individuals experience a staycation that feels more luxurious than just staying at home.

Immersive digital experiences are intended to mimic real-life situations, often with enhanced senses that allow the user to react, interact, and learn from the simulation.

Automation and smart computing

Today's computing software is geared toward business demands. It can collect, organize, and combine enormous amounts of data, create visualizations, and even help with tasks such as:

  • Monitoring

  • Development

  • Virtual assistant functions


Blockchain is the technology that allows tokens to be securely moved from one user to the next, accumulated, and traded as part of a huge and infinite ledger that tracks each transaction as it happens.

3D printing

Physical tooling becomes more accessible because of 3D printing. This physical gear, known as "printers," can assist in the rapid development and deployment of new ideas in the marketplace:

  • Hobbyists are experimenting with print-at-home vehicle parts, shoes, and more thanks to at-home 3D printing.

  • Large-scale 3D printing offers the ability to produce medical equipment and healthcare products more quickly and at a lower cost than traditional production methods.

3D printing has the potential to decentralize sectors ranging from medicine and science to engineering and robotics. As a result, tools may be generated on-demand, at a lower cost, and closer to the source than ever before.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that refers to the cloud as the ether in which a variety of physical objects (things) can:

  • Communicate

  • Exchange feedback with one another.

  • Create a network of real resources that can help businesses connect internally and with customers in innovative ways.

You're connected to IoT when your phone can access a user portal with a company dashboard, for example. When a fleet of vehicles uses a centralized, proprietary dispatch and GPS system to deliver freight, they are also connected to the Internet of Things.

Of course, the Internet of Things has its own set of consequences, which is known as the Internet of Behavior (IoB).


Robotics is becoming more usable and accessible as technology progresses. Perhaps, in the future, a robo-assistant will be a standard in every home and office. Today, though, such is only a fantasy. Robotics is currently gaining traction as a valuable tool when machine learning, automation, and computation are combined in a single system to achieve a bigger purpose.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is the name for a computer that uses synthesized information to produce something new or provide insight into a trend or difficulty without being told to do so. It is based on machine learning.

4 types of artificial intelligence

Source: SearchEnterpriseAI

Change has arrived once more

Businesses are experiencing a difficult moment of organizational transformation, whether it's referred to as Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution. They're adapting yet again to the technological upheaval that will alter their infrastructure and operations.


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