Driving the fourth industrial revolution
Compared to evolution describing the long term, stepwise process of a natural development of individuals to adapt to new circumstances, revolution is commonly used as a term describing a significant, fast change that leads to a complete restructuring of the existing systems. This does not only concern political systems, but is equally valid for technical ones. In the industrial manufacturing space several “revolutions” have already taken place.
Typically, the mechanization of production using water and steam power is considered as the trigger of the first industrial revolution – Now it was possible to create cheap electricity which helped to introduce the assembly line and the concept of mass production – the second industrial revolution took place.
The change from mechanical and analogue to digital processing of data has to be viewed as the start of the third, the digital industrial revolution. With inventions like the transistor, the PC, computer networks, the Internet – manufacturing went digital.
Today, we are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution which is also referred to as “Smart Industrial Manufacturing” or “Industry 4.0”.
TWI (The Welding Institute), one of our technology partners, with whom we realized the award-winning “Best New Catalyst” project “Smart Industrial Manufacturing: Robots-as-a-Service” at TM FORUM live!, recently hosted the “Digital Manufacturing: Applying the Industry 4.0 Philosophy” workshop. It spotlighted the application of Industry 4.0 concepts and associated technologies.
Four design principles define the fourth revolution
Interoperability: Machines, devices, sensors, and people will connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP).
Information transparency: Information systems will create a virtual copy of the physical world by enriching digital models with sensor data. This requires the aggregation of raw sensor data to higher-value context information and the usage of metadata.
Technical assistance: First, the ability of assistance systems to support humans by aggregating and visualizing information comprehensibly for making informed decisions and solving urgent problems on short notice. Second, the ability of cyber physical systems to physically support humans by conducting a range of tasks that are unpleasant, too exhausting, or unsafe for their human co-workers.
Decentralized decisions: The ability of cyber physical systems to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomous as possible. Only in case of exceptions, interferences, or conflicting goals, tasks are delegated to a higher decision level.
It is evident, that the fourth revolution is not possible without detailed knowledge about manufacturing, engineering, software, and communication technologies.
This is where Infosim’s long-time experience and successful partnerships with leading industry players like TWI, EnterpriseWeb, etc. comes into play.
To stay innovative and create a seamless user experience, we have a number of partnerships with major players like Intel, the TM Forum, or Kieback & Peter, a manufacturer of building automation systems. This is rounded off with different research activities in cooperation with subject matter experts from academia.
“The complexity to manage such elaborate environments demands the availability of a well-integrated solution to cover all aspects of monitoring, fault management, and configuration. The unified management platform which we offer with StableNet® provides exactly that.”
– Dr. Andrew Tiedeman, excerpt from his article in InterComms Magazine, Issue 27
One of our first IoT use case was the IP aided management of server cabinets: using different sensors for temperature, humidity, airflow, door lock, etc. managed by StableNet®, the IT admin had a quick and easy overview not only of what was going on “inside” of the servers, but also what was going on outside of his servers. This was done in early 2003 – more than 13 years ago.
Today one of our customers, a global retailer with over ten thousand stores, manages not only the traditional network and server infrastructure but also many IoT devices like refrigerated display cases, point-of-sales terminals, bottle deposit vending machines etc. Another customer successfully manages several thousand cameras, the processing, and the backup of the video footage with StableNet®.
A Unified Network & Services Management approach, as offered by Infosim® StableNet®, is a key driver for the fourth industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 is an ongoing process that has not just started,we are already in the middle of it. So, let us work together and combine our expertise.
Together with our partners we are continuously looking for new cooperation opportunities to advance in this field. Let us talk and build something big together!
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Dr. David Hock
Team Leader Research