Business

The dawn of the fourth industrial revolution

Share this post:

I have come across a few articles and blogs recently about a new kind of industrial revolution that is quietly gathering pace — and starting to make its mark in some industries already. This new revolution, which has been referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, will be led by smart technologies, such as those that have already given us connected cars, smart homes, smart factories, and so on. However, I want to pen some thoughts in this blog about what (I think) will actually fuel those smart technologies and devices: artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Revolutions past

Before I dive more deeply into the topic, here’s a quick recap of the previous industrial revolutions, in case you are struggling to bring them to mind. The first industrial revolution began in Britain in the late 18th century, with mechanization of the textile industry. The second industrial revolution came in the early 20th century, when Henry Ford mastered the moving assembly line and ushered in the age of mass production. The third industrial revolution is under way today, as manufacturing goes digital with production technologies such as 3-d printing.

AI, IoT and the fourth industrial revolution

The third, digital revolution has paved the way for the fourth one, which will see smart technologies, and smart devices and products at work. I believe that what will underpin the next generation of smart technology and products will be AI and IoT. IoT will connect human and non-human entities to enable the smart management of products, to improve efficiency and, more importantly, create new business models and improve our quality of life. AI, on the other hand, will reduce the burden of decision-making by executing some decisions on our behalf.

Data matters

AI and IoT have something in common, which is key to commercialization of the fourth industrial revolution. That common factor is data. It is data — its usage and interpretation — that will differentiate the various players that will claim a stake in the market and bring these technologies out from R&D labs to our homes, offices and day-to-day lives. In fact, I see a third pillar that will drive this revolution besides AI and IoT — that is, big data analytics. The companies that invest in these three pillars are likely to be the prime movers in this coming round of industrial revolution.

Learn more

To learn about IBM IoT capabilities and solutions, visit http://www.ibm.com/internet-of-things/

To learn more about engineering for smart products, visit www.ibm.com/continuousengineering

More Asset Management stories

Boost operational resilience and improve ROI with condition-based asset maintenance that can grow with your business

Written by Joe Berti | May 13, 2020 | Asset Management, Chemicals & Petroleum, Energy and Utilities...

IBM has extended our Maximo platform to provide a single integrated suite of capabilities that will help you maintain resiliency and business continuity – even under rapidly changing conditions. This single, reliable platform suite not only streamlines installation and administration, it also enhances the user experience. ...read more


Working on the edge: ensure safety with IoT and edge computing

Written by Robert Thoss | May 5, 2020 | Asset Management, Factories, Manufacturing...

Workplace dangers have existed since the dawn of human enterprise. But the way we handle the risks has changed. Responsibility for safety has, in most instances, shifted from the worker to the employer. Rules, processes and policies now protect the workers, and if the correct precautions aren’t followed, the employer is held liable for damages. This is why it’s morally and legally incumbent upon every organization to employ the most up-to-date technology possible to ensure the safety and security of every worker. ...read more