Industry 4.0 – An Industrial Era Altered by a Virus

By Queenie Nair

In 2020 industries faced their biggest challenge ever, confronting unforeseen scarcities in raw materials, supply chains, workforce, and face-to-face customer interactions. The magnitude of the Covid-19 disruption to human lives, industry, and economies equalled to those caused by World War II, however, the virus also accounts for one of the most remarkable digital and AI evolutions encountered by businesses and industries across every possible industry sector.

By this time, prior to the pandemic, unconventional digital technologies and AI were already on their way to transforming industries and global value chains.  Covid-19 and worldwide lockdowns triggered off the process of accelerating the integration of AI technologies into manufacturing and value chains, as industries struggled to survive, mitigate risks, and adapt to a new normal.

In a recent survey conducted by ET Edge Insights C-suite Executives across manufacturing and supply chain organizations revealed that in their pursuit to regain normalcy and expedite industry recovery, their topmost priorities are to initiate strategies to put into operation AI and digital technologies to safeguard their organization from present and future disruptions and unknown crisis. They also intend to Initiate big data analytics and introduce digital product portfolios within their supply chains and customer experiences.


What’s more,  if you look at manufacturing as a domain there are more than 2 million equipment for machines that actually drives the manufacturing industry out of which 80% of them are not able to go in for IoT because of the legacy controls or because conventional or traditional styles equipment are installed, as a consequence converting these machines to fall in line with analytics and AI robotics is extremely challenging and expensive.  Besides, several processes across various procedures in manufacturing continue to be labor-incentive and lack awareness of the need to be automated.


The potential of 5G is evident as manufacturing moves towards digitization and automation, enterprises and decision makers are of the opinion that the 5G technology is probably the smartest way for the evolution of industries, long-term benefits, and to boost performance. Besides alliances for international technology partnerships are being formed, and estimates predict a 1% increment in GDP with the advent of 5G in the country.

More broadly, the agenda for manufacturing to get back to normalcy signifies that industry 4.0 involves transformations, reworking, and adapting to the many dimensions of the manufacturing and supply chain diaspora with AI and digital technologies. CEOs are of the belief that to make industries resilient disruptive solutions are vital indicating that manufacturers are willing to make bold decisions and increase investments for integrating AI and digital solutions in their manufacturing workshops and have plans to emphasize industrial sustainability through increased connectivity and IoT for faster production and supply times enabling them to compete in a rapidly evolving global marketplace.

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