Stronger together: Connectivity is driving Industry 4.0

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Machines with learning capability, blockchain and autonomous systems – the technologies behind Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things are still being eyed with suspicion by many companies, but nobody will be able to avoid them. Dr. Tanja Rückert, who worked for SAP for more than 20 years and was appointed President of the Bosch Building Technologies division in July 2018, advocates that companies and institutions around the globe should work together in order to face the challenges posed by the digital transformation.

“No company will be able to tap into the Internet of Things by itself”

For many companies, the market of the future is quite literally made up of ones and zeros. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) have become a central topic here. We are talking about huge volumes of data that can be reused for business processes thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning. The Internet of Things and Industry 4.0, combined with new technologies, such as machine learning and blockchain, will become the biggest drivers of growth in the years ahead.

Tanja Rückert

More than 20 years at SAP, appointed President of the Bosch Building Technologies division in July 2018

Machines join up to form a smart factory

Thanks to digitalisation and sensor technology, every means of transport, every product and every machine will be able to communicate their location and status. Products will have a “digital twin” which can be used to digitally map the lifecycle of the product and as a simulation model and product information carrier. This is important in quality assurance. After all, defects are found faster and can even be predicted and remedied before they cause any damage.

Ultimately, the IoT and autonomous systems provide valuable assistance and support for people at work.
Source: Dr. Tanja Rückert

And that’s just the beginning. In the future, machine learning will enable machines to learn independently and to feed back information into so-called asset management systems. All of the data from the lifecycle of the machines and devices used is collected in this digital network. The more information collected from the different areas, the faster the network can learn. The result is that the IoT and autonomous systems will ultimately provide considerable assistance and support for people at work.

Venturing to co-operate across national borders

I am convinced that the digital transformation will require the combined efforts of companies, across all industries and in co-operation with institutions. This will have to take place across national borders and across the evolving digital platforms. Global collaboration and overarching networks have a key role to play here. No company will be able to tap into the Internet of Things by itself.

The global IoT market will grow to USD 457bn by 2020, achieving an annual average growth rate of 28.5%. In 2016, this figure totalled USD 157bn.
Source: IDC

Companies and employees have to be willing to take new avenues

The technology is available. Much of what seemed impossible just a short time ago is now doable. However, companies and employees need to be open and willing to take new avenues.

That is difficult, especially in times of success and when there is no need to question the status quo. In the coming months, we shouldn’t get lost in the jungle of traditional coordination processes. Time is of the essence! In a pragmatic and powerful approach, we have to try out the new, and when necessary, also discard it, in order to shape the future of Industry 4.0 and the IoT together.

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