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Industry 4.0. Time to embrace the inevitable

There are a lot of changes that occur in companies under the influence of the information technology innovations. Those changes help significantly increase the quality of products and services, which increases the level of customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Manufacturers also do not stand aside. New approaches and business models born in Industry 4.0 allow them increasing profit and investing more in the product enhancement. Eventually, everyone wins.

The term “industry 4.0” is now used as a synonym for the fourth industrial revolution. The essence of it is that today the material world is connected to the virtual one. As a result, new cyber-physical complexes are created and gathered in one digital ecosystem.

What’s inside?

Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, here are its components:

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  • Internet of Things
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Cloud Computing
  • Augmented Reality
  • Big Data
  • AI/Machine Learning

Robotic process automation (RPA)

RPA is about the transformation and automation of business processes. It allows radically changing the approach to the performance of repetitive tasks related to manual data entry and processing.

Solution providers report that implementation of RPA yields to 40 – 80% of business process costs’ reduction. It has become one of the most efficient ways towards process optimization.
Bots and machines cover a lot of routine manual work. They are actively used for data search, gathering, structuring, reporting. All of that allows employees to concentrate more on critical tasks. That is the case that happened to our client, who implemented a reporting bot on the project. They wanted to accelerate and automate task reporting. The current process was long and had several steps. The Intetics team developed a bot on the basis of process and activities patterns.
In the result of the bot implementation, the Intetics team managed to reduce manual reporting work by 95% and optimize time efforts for critical tasks.

Internet of Things

IoT is usually defined as the connection between wireless technologies, microcontrollers, services and the Internet. It collects, transforms, and transmits real-time data from any device or machine – anywhere.

IoT provides opportunities for all spheres of business, among those also stand manufacturing and agriculture. The latest is especially actively implements IoT solutions. For example, recently, we developed a server-side solution that helped farmers control vegetation growth.

The solution tracked the amount of received light, temperature, humidity and other parameters necessary for the calculation of the number of fertilizers for the particular area. It also analyzed the information gathered by the plant sensors. The solution helped the farm workers to carefully plan the entire configuration of the garden and plants.

Additive Manufacturing

Often referred to by its far more sensational-sounding description of 3D printing, additive manufacturing is, in fact, a technology which has been around for at least three decades.

Industrial giants use 3D printers to speed up prototyping of new products. Architectural companies have found a construction potential in it. Additive machines allow design studios to catch the second wave in business and thus repurpose the processes.
Currently, the 3D printing market is far from oversaturation. Moreover, industry analysts say that additive technologies have an impressive future..

Cloud computing

Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services — servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more — over the Internet (“the cloud”).

The range of cloud computing services is broad. It includes basic storing, networking, processing power, as well as natural language processing and artificial intelligence. Today any service that doesn’t require you to be physically close to the computer hardware can now be delivered via the cloud.
The exact benefits vary according to the type of cloud service being used. However, fundamentally, using cloud services means companies do not have to buy or maintain their own computing infrastructure. They can scale and allocate the necessary amount of IT resources when and where needed.

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR is the technology that expands our physical world by adding layers of digital information onto it. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), AR does not create the whole artificial environments to replace real with a virtual one. AR appears in direct view of an existing environment and adds sounds, videos, graphics to it.

The existing solutions are used for process automation and productivity improvement, staff training, reduction of product defects, and even ensuring safety. Strengthening the real world with “digital” objects allows speeding up the work and significantly reducing the number of errors.

Big Data

This is extremely large data sets analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

Big Data solutions change the established business models. Today not a single intelligent solution is possible without big data.

AI and Machine Learning

AI and Machine Learning technologies rapidly become the main force shaping the future of business structures. They lead to new powerful platforms and change the way companies operate.

AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines. This includes learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction.
While machine learning is a way to make AI possible.

Recently, we had a good example of implementation of intelligent technologies. A provider of consulting services faced the heavy growth of customer requests. The volume of the information became abundant, while manual request processing was extremely time-consuming. The company had to change the approach to customer relationship management, since the employee workload increased, while the performance decreased. People literally could not handle so much information.
To fix that, we implemented intellectual screen-sensitive assistant. It was designed to analyze causes, issues, user behavior and suggest actions. The assistant helped employees to make better decisions quicker. Though being simple, this example gives a better idea of how AI and machine learning solutions can be used within a company.

What will the companies get?

The responsiveness and deep information availability that Industry 4.0 brings means manufacturers can deliver better services. Companies can apply an individual approach and personalize orders according to customer preferences.

Adding more of these technologies can drive benefits to the next level. Companies that can have a digital twin of their operations will benefit from all the additional monitoring, control and optimization.

One thing is for sure. Industry 4.0 enters the business world. The massive changes show that soon we will dive into a smart environment where all objects will be interconnected for our benefit.