What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is one of the most frequently occurring terms in contemporary business articles. Entering “Industry 4.0” into the Google search engine produces 298 million hits in English alone. Many technology companies are talking about it, promoting it, and selling it. However, defining what it means and who it impacts can be a difficult task.
The concept of Industry 4.0 was introduced in 2011 at the Hannover Fair. This project, launched by the German government, was dedicated to the accelerating digital transformation in Germany’s manufacturing industries. Also referred to as Smart Manufacturing or Smart Production, the concept derives from the “fourth industrial revolution,” which is the modern culmination of industrial macrotrends since the late 1700’s:
- Industry 1.0: the introduction of machine production to replace manual production in the eighteenth century.
- Industry 2.0: the introduction of electricity, railroads, and the telegraph to augment machine production in