Humanity continues to embark on a period of unparalleled technological advancement. The next 5, 10 and 20 years will present both significant challenges and opportunities. Private sectors, governments, academics and entrepreneurs are all seeking the roadmap for navigating these profound changes in the world of work. Such a road map must be created collaboratively by all stakeholders. At its core, an industrial revolution can be characterized by advancements in technology that humanity applies to improve the process of production.
Of the all the burning issues discussed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year, one that got top billing was the promise and peril of the "Fourth Industrial Revolution." What does this Fourth Industrial Revolution mean for enterprises and their various stakeholders? What should they do to keep pace with it and create competitive advantage to come out ahead? The Third Industrial Revolution--the digital age that began in the mid-20th century--was about computerization. The Fourth Industrial Revolution we are experiencing today builds on this first wave of computerization with the latest, rapidly evolving and disruptive advances in technology: the Internet of Things, the Industrial Internet, robotic process automation, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, cyber-physical systems and connected wearable devices.
What exactly is the Fourth Industrial Revolution -- and why should you care? The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It's the collective force behind many products and services that are fast becoming indispensable to modern life. Think GPS systems that suggest the fastest route to a destination, voice-activated virtual assistants such as Apple's Siri, personalized Netflix recommendations, and Facebook's ability to recognize your face and tag you in a friend's photo. As a result of this perfect storm of technologies, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is paving the way for transformative changes in the way we live and radically disrupting almost every business sector.
Science and technology are essential tools for innovation. In the next few years, the impact of Digital Transformation will accelerate. Internet of Things (IoT aka M2M, IIOT, IoE – though each has its specific focus) is considered the most important trend in digitization. From connected homes, cars, cities to entire industries such as healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, public sector and utilities – connected and increasingly intelligent devices are transforming entire ecosystems, and one of the components are robots. Today, in our first Robotics Q&A, Mauro Fenzi, the CEO of Comau, discusses about different types of robots that already have a huge impact on manufacturing and other industries.
Access to skilled workers is already a key factor that sets successful companies apart from failing ones. In an increasingly data-driven future - the European Commission believes there could be as many as 756,000 unfilled jobs in the European ICT sector by 2020 - this difference will become even more acute. Skills gaps across all industries are poised to grow in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other emerging technologies are happening in ever shorter cycles, changing the very nature of the jobs that need to be done - and the skills needed to do them - faster than ever before. At least 133 million new roles generated as a result of the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms may emerge globally by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum.