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SMEs: Are you ready for the revolution?

by | Nov 27, 2018

For my previous article in The European, I put forward the question of whether Industry 4.0 will in fact be a revolution or a mere acceleration of evolution. Since then, I have spoken to more engineers leading Industry 4.0 projects around the world. In addition to this, I have personally supported New Zealand’s Callaghan Innovation team to deploy their first government-funded Industry 4.0 pilot programme, aimed at establishing what a typical SME should be doing right now and what gains can be made.

Breaking down Industry 4.0

One of things I’ve observed over the past year or so is that depending upon where you are in the world, there are both differing terms being adopted and differing focus upon the tools within the box. This presents a problem for CEOs – just what do we consume and, more importantly, what do we believe and invest in? To support CEOs, I use the following table (figure 1) to represent the tools and concepts, and where I believe focus should be right now for SMEs.

AI will be the revolutionary component of Industry 4.0. I’ve heard many experts liken it to being where the industry was with computers in the ‘80s and the internet in the ‘90s, a great technology, yet to revolutionise the business. Just like computers and the internet, AI will revolutionise how our businesses perform, and the early adopters of AI will outperform their competition. A very important question for any CEO at this point is whether you’re going to be early or late to the party.

This article is published in full on ‘The European Digital Magazine’ – click the read more button above to continue reading.

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