What is Industry 4.0 and why should you care?

Technology is changing the world in a multitude of ways and businesses now find themselves in a commercial landscape that they may not feel prepared for. 

Whether it’s a new app that allows people to pay their bills more efficiently or a revolutionary smartphone that’s smaller and more powerful than previous models, digital innovations are fundamentally altering the way people live their lives. 

As businesses are built around satisfying the needs of customers, companies must adapt too, finding new ways to keep up with changing consumer demand. 
All these changes have ushered in a new commercial era that’s been given the name Industry 4.0 (and sometimes, the Fourth Industrial Revolution). 

But what Industry 4.0 and what does it mean for you and your business?

What is Industry 4.0?

An ‘Industrial Revolution’ is a period of time marked by a major shift in the way goods are manufactured. Back in the 18th Century, when the First Industrial Revolution took place, the shift was powered by the movement from hand-production methods to machine-powered production. 

Two further Industrial Revolutions have followed:

  • The Second Industrial Revolution began in the late 19th Century and was instigated by the rise of electrical power and focused around mass-production.
  • The Third Industrial Revolution began in the mid 20th Century, was instigated by telecommunications and computers and was focused around automation. 
Now we’re in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is powered by the internet and other digital technologies and is changing everything from the way products are created to the way they’re consumed by the end user. 

Key Industry 4.0 technologies include everything from smartphones and wearable tech to the Cloud, Big Data analytics, the Internet of Things, cognitive computing and machine learning.

How does Industry 4.0 impact businesses?

Businesses can sometimes feel impervious to change, but Industry 4.0 isn’t something that should be dismissed. 

This new era will undoubtedly change the way goods are manufactured. Just as the production line made it faster to mass produce goods, digital technologies are quickening the pace even more, and also making it cheaper through the introduction of robotics.

Even the very material products are made out of are changing. So-called Smart Material can respond to certain stimuli like moisture, electricity or temperature and industries like construction will certainly feel the impact of these changes.

But everything will be impacted by Industry 4.0, not just manufacturing.
Just look at how much has now gone online. We bank online, shop online, watch TV and since the pandemic struck, do more and more business online. Customers expect everything to be available to them digitally, so it’s critical for businesses to follow suit. 

As Deloitte said in 2017: “Industry 4.0 will likely change how we make things, but it could also affect how those things are moved (through autonomous logistics and distribution), how customers interact with them, and the experiences they expect to have as they interact with companies.

“Beyond that, it could drive changes in the workforce, requiring new skills and roles.”

What do businesses need to do to adapt?

We’re now a few years on from Deloitte’s statement, and the impact of Industry 4.0 on workforces is clearer. Put simply, there’s a dire need for businesses to find talented digital staff quickly and effectively, or risk getting left behind. 

Indeed, analysts have already predicted that by 2022, 1.2 million tech professionals will be required to fill all the digital jobs available, and in both the UK and the US, the government has brought in programmes to ensure that people can learn these skills.

Core areas for businesses to focus on include programming, data analysis and cyber security. Having a workforce that’s adept in these skills allows you to build websites, apps and software, cope with the massive volume of data people are putting online and protect your customers from potential attacks. 

Finding this workforce isn’t easy, but that’s where we come in. Code Nation is set up to train people in these skills and introduce them to the businesses who need them.
We do this through our Master courses, which are 12-week immersive bootcamps that teach students all the technical, interpersonal and commercial skills they need to land a job and make an immediate impact. 

We’ve helped hundreds of businesses find the right staff and adapt to life in Industry 4.0.

In summary

Industry 4.0 represents a massive shift in the way companies do business. The key to this new era is being adaptive and finding the right staff to fill your skills gap. The businesses that can do this quickly will be the ones that thrive.
Struggling to adapt to Industry 4.0? Speak to us today to find out how we can help you find fresh new talent!