Executive Briefings

Industry 4.0: The Future of Productivity, Growth in Manufacturing

Technological advances have driven dramatic increases in industrial productivity since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The steam engine powered factories in the 19th Century, electrification led to mass production in the early part of the 20th Century, and industry became automated in the 1970s. In the decades that followed, however, industrial technological advancements were only incremental, especially compared with the breakthroughs that transformed IT, mobile communications, and e-commerce.

Industry 4.0: The Future of Productivity, Growth in Manufacturing

Now, though, we are in the midst of a fourth wave of technological advancement: the rise of new digital industrial technology known as Industry 4.0, a transformation that is powered by several foundational technology advances. In this transformation, sensors, machines, workpieces and IT systems will be connected along the value chain beyond a single enterprise. These connected systems (also referred to as cyberphysical systems) can interact with one another using standard internet-based protocols and analyze data to predict failure, configure themselves, and adapt to changes. Industry 4.0 will make it possible to gather and analyze data across machines, enabling faster, more flexible, and more efficient processes to produce higher-quality goods at reduced costs. This in turn will increase manufacturing productivity, shift economics, foster industrial growth, and modify the profile of the workforce—ultimately changing the competitiveness of companies and regions.

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Now, though, we are in the midst of a fourth wave of technological advancement: the rise of new digital industrial technology known as Industry 4.0, a transformation that is powered by several foundational technology advances. In this transformation, sensors, machines, workpieces and IT systems will be connected along the value chain beyond a single enterprise. These connected systems (also referred to as cyberphysical systems) can interact with one another using standard internet-based protocols and analyze data to predict failure, configure themselves, and adapt to changes. Industry 4.0 will make it possible to gather and analyze data across machines, enabling faster, more flexible, and more efficient processes to produce higher-quality goods at reduced costs. This in turn will increase manufacturing productivity, shift economics, foster industrial growth, and modify the profile of the workforce—ultimately changing the competitiveness of companies and regions.

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Industry 4.0: The Future of Productivity, Growth in Manufacturing