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

Marketing Manager for IBM Watson Internet of Things - Engineering Solutions

More Business stories
By Mark Swinson on February 19, 2019

The 3 Ps of customer engagements: getting started with IoT

When you're ready to make the most of your data through an IoT Platform, you have options on how to get started. This article will help you determine if you need a Proof of Concept (PoC), a pilot or a full production instance of the IoT Platform

Continue reading

By Mark Swinson on February 5, 2019

Rethinking your business with IoT: your product “as a Service”

The more you embed sensors and actuators into physical assets, the more potential you have to change the business models for those physical things. This article will explore the implications of these changes and what they mean in our new "as a Service" world as we progress from purely physical assets to a purely digital ones.

Continue reading

By Jiani Zhang on January 22, 2019

Having data versus using data from your platform

Data is the lifeblood of the Internet of Things. However, there’s a huge difference between having data and using data. That’s why this post explores the value of smarter data. Previously, we talked about the fundamentals of data management. Analytics is the next step in the journey. Not too long ago, IoT meant “connect things […]

Continue reading