Big data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Deep Learning, artificial vision or automation are trending terms and form part of the latest socioeconomic movement of our time, the fourth industrial revolution. A change that is already transforming production processes and that affects our daily lives.

Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 needs machines, data and artificial intelligence with the supervision and analysis of experts.

But in order to talk about the fourth industrial revolution, there must have been three others before it. And to best understand this one, it is necessary to pause for a moment to briefly remind ourselves of the details of each of the previous ones. 

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Second half of 18th Century. England. Process of sociocultural and economic change that ended mass human and animal labour and brought with it a transformation in people’s lives that had never been seen before in history. 

Carbon, the steam engine, looms and the railway are some of the main innovations of the first industrial revolution.

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Second half of 19th Century. Western Europe, United States and Japan. Process of deep change in society with the invention of new communication systems, materials, energy sources and transport which changed the world as we know it. Thanks to all of these, mass production was achieved, and society was able to access new goods and services.

The Ford T car, the telephone, electricity or the use of crude oil are the most important developments that emerged during this period of history.

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Mid 20th Century. European Union, United States and Japan. Information and communication technology, and renewable sources of energy powered the second half of the 20th Century towards unprecedented globalization.

Computers and the internet are the cornerstones of the third industrial revolution. 

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21st Century. Movement on a global level. We can also call it the data revolution. It is based on digitalizing the production and industrial process of the economy. The so-called digital transformation and the tendency for everything to be interconnected and automated.

Big data, the cloud, artificial intelligence and robots are, among others, the pillars of the new industry 4.0. 

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As with every great technological and socioeconomic change, this industrial revolution offers great opportunities. Throughout history, it has been found that after each industrial revolution that has occurred since the 18th Century, the quality of life for people has increased exponentially.

Technological change during the different periods of history have led to economic and social transformations in people’s daily lives. As we have been recapping, revolutions have been improving society’s living standards, getting rid of manual labour hours and giving people more free time, better wellbeing and an unprecedented growth in both the population and the economy.

We must look at industry 4.0 as a coin that will always fall with the side of opportunity facing upwards. Changes in production processes and the implementation of automation such as management technology in many industries, have been transforming job profiles, and they will continue to change in the coming years. It will create a multitude of new jobs which will bring greater efficiency to processes, combining the automation of services with high-value manual tasks.

New job profiles 4.0

The new production process which is being developed in industry 4.0 needs machines, data and artificial intelligence as raw materials in order for it to work, without forgetting that it must be implemented with the supervision and analysis of experts. An example of this collaboration between automated robots and new job profiles are factories and intelligent warehouses. A production process covers thousands of square metres and fully automated, efficient and secure workflows for the staff that work alongside robots, sensors and cameras. Thousands of pieces of information are collected each second through the programming of robots and artificial intelligence, which manages and interprets it, allowing productivity to increase notably. 

But in this industrial revolution, not everything has to rely on data. It is important to emphasise once more that there are people behind all of industry 4.0. Men and women with extraordinary skills to continuously create, innovate and improve what we have now, creating infinite opportunities to grow as a society.

New production processes

As we have already mentioned, the skills that we have today to measure and collect data offer us a multitude of possibilities to detect improvement opportunities. Sensors, installed on intelligent devices which have been expanding throughout all areas of our lives, constantly measure data which is stored on a cloud. Therefore, large volumes of heterogenous data are accessible from anywhere thanks to the internet and can be managed by big data tools and interpreted instantly by artificial intelligence systems which provide solutions and help with decision making.

This data analysis through big data and artificial intelligence serves multiple purposes, such as predicting consumption, detecting anomalies, performing predictive maintenance, monitoring the performance of any production system in real time or constructing tools which help with decision making.

Industry 4.0 undoubtedly goes hand in hand with optimization. The automation of production reduces errors, therefore making the process more efficient. The drastic cost reduction in production processes offers businesses higher profitability thresholds

We are immersed in the fourth industrial revolution. An era where people will continue to be the cornerstone of progress, and the abilities of humans to adapt to continuous change is and will be fundamental to progression and continuing to create value. The data is there, but we must know how to interpret it and seize the growth opportunities that industry 4.0 offers



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