The Impact of The Fourth Industrial Revolution On Technology


The fourth industrial revolution is shaping the world we live in today right from smartphones to medical devices. The manufacturing industry has always been at the heart of industrial revolutions, however, this time it is different. Manufacturers are completely transforming their complete supply value chain with the fourth industrial revolution. 


What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The fourth industrial revolution also called 4IR or industry 4.0 encompasses advanced technologies to fade the line between physical, digital, and biological worlds. It completely reinvents how products are manufactured from design to engineering to delivery to support. 


When Did The Fourth Industrial Revolution Start? 

The fourth industrial revolution was originally introduced by Klaus Schwab, an executive chairman of the world economic forum in 2015. 4IR dives deep into the advanced technology that is acquiring manufacturing processes like automation, AI, blockchain, machine learning, IoT, etc. 


Preceding Industrial Revolutions

The first industrial revolution introduced machinery and transformed manufacturing. This evolution brought new technologies that changed rural Europe and America into industrialized and transformative centers of manufacturing. The first revolution began in Britain and quickly spread to the rest of the world by the 1830s and 1840s. 

Subsequently, the second revolution began with the introduction of steel production, electricity, and petroleum. The rise of steel production resulted in the expansion of railroads which facilitated easier product delivery. It spans from 1870 to 1914. It resulted in replacing old materials with more robust materials. 

The third industrial revolution also called the digital revolution resulted in automating production by utilizing electronics and information technology. The transformation began in the late 20th century and continued till the beginning of the 21st century. It encompassed the invention of computers, communication technologies, and the internet.  


How Will The Fourth Revolution Impact Technology?

The fourth revolution is more about optimizing the value chains and less about optimizing supply chains. It is all about how digital technology can influence real-world decisions across the value chain. Thus, it implies new technologies are defining 4IR. Let’s have a look at these technologies:


Big Data

Big data includes large sets of data that cannot be analyzed with traditional software of data processing. Organizations are every day acquiring new data. Data analytics tools like Apteo, SQL, BigQuery help teams to analyze their data and make insightful decisions. 


Artificial Intelligence

In the manufacturing industry, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence are used for real-time monitoring and production as a service. These are often called smart manufacturing. For instance, an organization can analyze data to enhance the performance of machines or schedule maintenance. 


Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is an area that focuses on delivering computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory. This further explains the behavior of material and energy on the atomic and molecular levels.

Also, quantum theory has transformed the manufacturing industry by creating new advanced materials design, high-performance batteries, development of high-quality products from the start. 



Blockchain refers to a system that includes a record of transactions maintained across multiple computers linked in a peer-to-peer network. This means that the number of transactions is always being tracked and they cannot be manipulated.

Furthermore, in the manufacturing industry, blockchain is used to keep track of all the products and help with regulatory compliance as well. 


Internet of Things

IoT refers to the computing devices embedded into products so they can send and receive data. This includes simple sensors, complex technologies like Alexa speakers, or a smart thermostat.

An industrial IoT utilizes a network of sensors to collect data that is used in production to gain valuable information about the efficiency of manufacturing processes. IIoT can help manufacturers minimize costs, improve safety, personalize items, and shorten time to market. 


Automation is the process of transitioning high-cost and low-impact jobs carried out by humans into jobs that can be performed by machines. 

Subsequently, autonomous cars are set to transform the logistics industry. Tesla, Amazon, Uber are all involved in the autonomous freight truck sector. These are the companies that are set to get involved in the fourth industrial revolution. 


New Business Models

Economic growth is likely to increase in the fourth industrial revolution. Countries that were previously offering low-cost labor will now start to build middle classes and jobs in other countries. 

However, this could lead to greater inequality as the middle class in advanced technologies is shrinking and the middle class in growing economies is advancing. Furthermore, income levels will hugely vary across sectors and countries. This will result in creating a division between low-skill and low pay, high-skill, and high-pay jobs. This is why reskilling employees will become a top priority for organizations to succeed. 

Some of the highest-paying jobs in the manufacturing industry amid the fourth industrial revolution are cybersecurity experts, supply chain analysts, high-performance sales and marketing teams. 


Final Thoughts

The jump to the fourth industrial revolution took less than 20 years. The new norm for all the industries is change and innovation. Therefore, decision-making has become data-driven, technology like automation, AI, are focusing on solving problems and this makes it extremely important for organizations to reskill their staff right from healthcare to auto manufacturing to make them excel at their jobs. 

KloudPLM helps companies and brand owners speed up their product development, accelerate product time to market, and improve their innovation process. If you’d like to accelerate your new product development process and improve on product quality, schedule a demo today


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