Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What is Industry 4.0?

I received a question this morning on what was the difference between the IoT, the Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0. At first glance it seems that the differences are subtle, but it goes much deeper than one would believe. Besides the emphasis on manufacturing and production, Industry 4.0 has significant additions to the way it interacts and behaves that can spread out of pure engineering and manufacturing arenas. Let's dive into the differences 

The Internet of Things:

The (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity—that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. Notice the emphasis on data and not on the processing or context. While certainly processing can be added inside the devices through embedded chips, the contexts are more about but not exclusively machine to machine (M2M). We see this played out in our cars with machine advisory or auto actions. There is more collaboration to leverage here, so enter the industrial internet.  

The Industrial Internet:

The Industrial Internet is a term coined by GE and refers to the integration of complex physical machinery with networked sensors and software. While complexity is one of the keys, the addition of software, particularly process software, adds tremendous leverage for desirable outcomes. The control points are now distributed and machines, software and humans can control their own contexts and can swarm to a solution.

Industry 4.0:

WIKI Definition: Industry 4.0 facilitates the vision and execution of a "Smart Factory". Within the modular structured Smart Factories of Industry 4.0, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real time, and via the Internet of Services, both internal and cross-organizational services are offered and utilized by participants of the value chain.
Industry 4.0 is even a broader approach as it considers man-machine interaction in a value or supply chain context. It is ideal for a Digital Business Platform that supports better customer service  leveraging independent agents, cognitive knowledge agents (Cogs) or swarming agents. In industry 4.0 the contexts are larger, coordinated and goal/constraint directed which allows for more efficiency without sub-optimization. 

Net; Net:

There is a big difference with Industry 4.0 and the simple internet of things, but the combination of the IoT and decentralized control (swarming agents) plus new collaborations among machines, software, Cogs and humans will deliver new digital businesses that benefit many.