AI & IoT: Torch bearers for Industry 4.0
Industrial revolution began in Great Britain and has continuously been evolving from manual work to machines to automation. Industry 3.0 has almost reached a saturation state. For those who are not aware about industry 3.0, it is the phase which marked the evolution of computer, internet and automation. A paradigm shift can be noticed towards Industry 4.0. Where are we heading?
Companies are experiencing more precise, higher quality manufacturing with lowered operational expenses; less downtime, all courtesy of predictive maintenance and intelligence in the supply chain. It even resulted fewer injuries on factory floors because of more adaptable equipment. Industries other than manufacturing could benefit from having a nervous system of sensors, analytics to process “lakes” of data, and just-in-time responses to emergent issues such aviation, energy, logistics, and many other businesses that depend on reliable, predictable things could also get a boost.
A growing number of well-established companies are using technologies such as internet-of-things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to expand their digital forte, taking on IT majors and global diversified conglomerates which are also aggressively hustling into this space. Most companies are refraining from making huge investments in expanding their capacity, although they see merit in investing money into digital platforms, which can help improve efficiency and render more profitability than the extant capacity.
For instance, L&T has already built an in-house digital platform, which seamlessly connects diverse operations, also improves efficiencies and cuts decision time. In its Mumbai office, CEO SN Subrahmanyan randomly walks across to a “control room” for real-time data from around 400 company sites operating miles away. Even the smallest of data, such as amount of electricity consumed by machines or may be the weight hauled by a crane at a construction site, are put together and analysed, helping L&T take big decisions. This new way of doing business is known as Industry 4.0 — the fourth industrial revolution. At the heart it includes placing internet-connected sensors on large machines and using analytics, cloud computing and machine learning to predict and prevent issues.
IoT frequently produces immense quantities of data from billions of sensors and connected ‘things’. But on its own this data is merely a background noise. It is not until AI and machine learning is applied, that true value of such data and meaningful insights are unlocked – data that can even help cities predict accidents and crimes, reduce food wastage, give doctors real-time insight to patient health, enable optimised productivity by predictive maintenance of ‘smart’ infrastructure, also create truly smart homes with connected appliances, and provide critical communication to enable autonomous vehicles.