Manufacturing & Supply Chain

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Will Impact Every Aspect of Life

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution Will Impact Every Aspect of Life

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Will Impact Every Aspect of Life
January 31
15:15 2020
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“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will fundamentally change every aspect of our lives and manufacturing is at the epicentre of that. Manufacturing will be totally reshaped,” pointed out Henrik von Scheel (pictured), when addressing the 2020 National Manufacturing and Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition, which was held recently at the Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin.

Henrik von Scheel is credited with being the originator of the concept of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ (Industry 4.0) because of his work in helping to shape Germany’s future digital strategy (‘Digital Agenda’) in the wake of the economic crisis in 2008. The ‘Digital Agenda’ was subsequently adopted by the European Commission in 2010 as part of the Europe 2020 strategy and evolved into the European Digital Revolution. The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) is one of seven flagship initiatives under the Europe 2020 strategy. It focuses on modern technologies and online services that will allow Europe to create jobs and promote economic prosperity.

Caused by the collision of three worlds – the digital, the physical and the virtual – “the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be the biggest transformational change in the history of mankind in the shortest amount of time,” Henrik von Scheel explained. “The last eight years of change is nothing compared to what is going to happen.”

According to Henrik von Scheel, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is arriving in three waves of 17 technology sets that will disrupt everything. The ‘first wave’, encompassing Digitisation (IoT), Advanced Analytics, Cloud Computing, Augmented Reality, Robotics and 3D Printing, broke between 2009 and 2016.

The ‘second wave’, which extends from 2016 to 2025, incorporates technologies such as AI, Autonomous Systems, Blockchain, Smart Automation, 6G Communication and Future of Energy. This ‘second wave’ will be even more disruptive and require “a totally new way of thinking the value chain.”

“AI scares people but there is nothing to fear but it will change the way we work.” He added: “Our ability to adapt to change is crucial.” Similarly, Smart Automation will also play a major role in how manufacturing evolves in the future.

“We live in a new reality, you just don’t realise it,” he cautioned.

The 2020 National Manufacturing and Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition was held recently at the Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin.

The ‘third wave’ identified by Henrik von Scheel, and due to impact by 2025 is characterised by Quantum Technology, Cybersecurity, Neurotechnology, Nanotechnology, Bioinformatics and Advanced Material. “The ‘third wave’ is the most disruptive. This sounds futuristic but it is not,” he warned.

To remain competitive in the fast changing Industry 4.0 environment, manufacturers will have to re-think their entire value chains. “The value chain is something we learn about in school but no one knows how to apply. This is not ‘rocket science’ but it is a discipline that everyone needs to know.”

Of course, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is being accompanied by Climate Change, which poses an existential threat and requires urgent action to re-balance our eco-systems.

“By 2025 we will have killed off 50% of the animals on the planet – ‘holy smoke’ what an accomplishment. But we don’t see it because it is not an elephant. 69% of bees died last year.” He elaborated: “We live in the greatest time ever for mankind, with more equality and more money than ever before. But we are also the one generation that is at a crossroads. Are we able to take the right decisions?”

While the technological tidal waves that constitute the Fourth Industrial Revolution are daunting, Henrik von Scheel reassured listeners: “The centre piece of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the human being and our ability to adapt. People always matter more than technology.”

Henrik von Scheel was the opening keynote speaker at the 2020 National Manufacturing and Supply Chain Conference and also spoke at some of the complementary, co-located events at the CityWest Convention Centre.

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