We are living in a world of automation. Far away from the first industry revolution with mechanization fuelled by water and steam power which was a radical change of how and where we humans lived and worked.
In the late 1700s, manufacturing was often done in people’s homes, using hand tools or very basic machines and most people resided in small, rural communities. Mass production was introduced in the end of 1700s and the second wave of industrialization further enhanced production methods with the assembly line, a conveyor belt carrying the work through a series of assembly areas, introduced in 1913 by Henry Ford.
The principles of the modern computer was drawn up by Alan Turing in his seminal work from 1936. It formed the beginning of a still ongoing third wave of industrialization with e.g. bipolar transistors invented in 1947 and integrated circuits (1952) and microprocessors.
For the manufacturing industry this has meant more automation and computers. We are now entering a new wave – sometimes referred to as “Industry 4.0” – where machines, devices, sensors and people communicate via Internet of Things (IoT) or Internet of People (IoP). Immense amounts of data and information are collected from all points in the manufacturing process, to aid innovation and improvements.
Machines will support by aggregating and visualizing information comprehensively for making informed decisions and solving urgent problems on short notice. Also, Industry 4.0 will increase the ability of cyber physical systems to support humans by conducting a range of tasks that are unpleasant, exhausting, or unsafe for their human co-workers, as well as the ability of cyber physical systems to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible.
5G with its support for ultra-reliable and low latency communication as well as enhanced mobile broadband will be one key factor to support this new revolution – Industry 4.0. As in the late 1700s this will once again change the way we live and work.