Industry 4.0 is another buzz word that is doing rounds these days. Every body is definitely excited about the positive possibilities. The scientist in us may give goose bumps at the thought of a fully automated factory, this may have a similar to the excitement one would have thought about the nuclear power until Hiroshima.
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 attention.
Another aspect which is highly critical in an Industry is the fact that there is high need for reliability which now becomes even more critical. Any disruption in this network could mean 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.
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 the 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 it’s own eventuality in terms jobs being lost. The more advanced countries with very low labor force may not face as much impact but surely countries with larger work force will surely face a social as well as economical situation.
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.
At this point we are not even sure if our current legal frame works be ready to handle this kind of a change. Will a cyber crime to hack in to system and change a small parameter be culpable crime. Will the vendor supplying the IoT device be responsible for the factory disaster? This list also could have a endless depth and girth to it.
Any thing new and disruptive is bound to have it’s 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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