Industry 4.0 is another buzzword that is doing rounds these days. Everybody is definitely excited about the positive possibilities. The scientist in us may give goosebumps at the thought of a fully automated factory, this may have a similar to the excitement one would have thought about nuclear power until Hiroshima.
The big question is are we ready for the eventualities of these possibilities?
Current Challenges with Industry 4.0?
Let us look at some of the challenges that come in the way of adopting Industry 4.0.
Some Technical challenges:
The security of the data as well as the process involved now stand the risk of hacking and poaching making the concern for security a very important one. The breakdown of this security would cause a lot of disruption. The risk involved is too much and multitude. This concern has definitely got a lot of attention.
- Process Reliability
Another aspect that is highly critical in an Industry is the fact that there is a high need for reliability which now becomes even more critical. Any disruption in this network could mean the shutdown of the processes and the possible process coming to standstill. The technical implementation and testing of the solution will need to be really elaborate and extended to ensure that the entire process works reliably every time.
- Process Integrity
The processes are complex and have currently matured with the expectations that there would be human intervention to optimize the process in such a way that this now becomes completely automated. This would need to change our thinking to enable this. Thus the solution does not become a technology only it would also lead to process re-engineering.
- Communication between things
The Industry 4.0 world would be an infested environment filled with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices who are trying to talk to each other and all these getting orchestrated by an IoT cloud…..in such an environment, how communication failure between things would impact, will be something that still needs to be understood better. We are still to fathom as we go about IoTizing the things around, what will it turn out to be.
Some Social Challenges:
- Loss of Jobs
Any automation no matter what the typical promises, results in a loss of job. Industry 4.0 would have its own eventuality in terms of jobs being lost. The more advanced countries with very low labor force may not face as much impact but surely countries with the larger workforce will surely face a social as well as economical situation.
- Skills Needed
Are we ready with the possible new skills that would be needed as we move towards such a reality? How much re-skilling would be needed? What are the new roles that this industry would now have? There are many unanswered questions here.
- Legal Readiness
At this point, we are not even sure if our current legal frameworks are ready to handle this kind of change. Will a cybercrime hack into a system and change a small parameter be a culpable crime. Will the vendor supplying the IoT device be responsible for the factory disaster? This list also could have an endless depth and girth to it.
Anything new and disruptive is bound to have its challenges but it is important to explore, debate, understand, and manage these challenges. Technology changes and adoptions should not be a giant Leap of Faith – no matter how thrilling it may seem!!
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