Written by Joanne Sacco

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Explained in 461 Words

Can you be a part of two industrial revolutions at the same time?
You can.
Even though we are still technically undergoing the Third Digital Revolution, the changing nature of our connected world means that we are now also experiencing the dawn of a new revolution – The Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The term “Fourth Industrial Revolution” was first used at the World Economic Forum in 2016 and was coined to describe the massive integration of technologies across the digital, physical and biological realms. These new “cyber-physical” systems span any number of spheres. From the Internet of Things, to artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, quantum computing, 5G wireless technology, autonomous vehicles, and 3D printing.
The effects of this revolution on the global economy and the ways that we govern, produce, manage, and transport goods and services will be so significant that some are calling this era the second machine age.

A deeper dive into the effects of the revolution

“The opportunity to raise the quality of life is the biggest business opportunity going” – Anand Mahindra, Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra
While the Third Digital Revolution is characterised by new technology developments, the basis for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is underpinned by advances in communication and connectivity.
Just as the steam engine and the electrification of industry transformed manufacturing in previous industrial revolutions, the sheer scale of interconnected devices will result in the transformation of whole systems of production. This connectivity will connect billions more to the web and drive dramatic efficiency improvements across enterprise and national level resource and asset management.
It will change the way we live our day-to-day lives.
As smart technologies are incorporated into all aspects of our homes, workplaces and factories, these connected machines will interact and make decisions autonomously. Businesses will be forced to transition to being smart and connected organisations in order to stay competitive.
To meet this transition, we will need to adapt.
Our business leaders will need to develop their technical knowledge and skills. Tech professionals will need to help guide these changes and understand that their roles in the (very near) future may be dramatically different to what they are today. We will need new approaches to education and training to ensure we adequately prepare people for new kinds of workplaces and roles.
As founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab has said, we need to make sure that we “together shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.”
You are part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you prepare for the changes the revolution will bring to your organisation or role.

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