Globally, almost every industry is transforming business operations due to the fourth industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0.
The Federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources highlights that transformative technologies are increasingly being used to connect the physical with the digital world.
Current trends include:
- Advanced automation and robotics (including collaborative robots or ‘cobots’);
- Machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication;
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning; and
- Sensor technology and data analytics.
Four key drivers enable these trends:
- Rising data volumes, computational power and connectivity.
- Emerging analytics and business-intelligence capabilities.
- New forms of human-machine interaction, such as touch interfaces, augmented and virtual reality systems.
- Improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as robotics and 3D printing.
Benefits & Opportunities of Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 technologies could significantly enhance Australia’s economic competitiveness by substantially offsetting traditional challenges, such as high labour costs and distance to markets.
Better connectivity between customers and supply chains is achieved through real-time access to production information, logistics and monitoring. This results in greater flexibility for businesses to produce differentiated products and services, tapping unmet consumer demands, compete in global markets and capture emerging opportunities.
Enhanced workplace safety, production and improvements across the entire value chain create an environment that will allow businesses to grow, explore new models and embrace technologies.
Adopting Industry 4.0 in Australia
The Industry 4.0 Testlabs in Australia report explores the principles and framework for adopting Industry 4.0 in Australia by establishing Testlabs. Standards Australia also published a report on Industry 4.0 from an Australian Perspective.
To strengthen the industry-led nature of the taskforce, the Australian Industry Group is hosting the Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum, which continues work on:
- Reference architectures, standards and norms;
- Research and innovation;
- Security of networked systems; and
- Test laboratories, future of work, education and training.
Priority Growth Sectors and Industry 4.0
Australia’s current industry sectors of competitive strength and strategic priority are:
- Food and agribusiness
- Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
- Mining equipment, technology and services (METS)
- Oil, gas and energy resources
Investing in Science and Technology
The Australian Government has committed $2.4 billion to grow Australia’s research, science and technology capabilities in areas such as supercomputers, world-class satellite imagery, improving GPS across Australia and leading research in artificial intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things (IOT)
The Australian Council of Learned Academies will examine the opportunities, risks and benefits of AI applications. It will also consider the economic, social, environmental, ethical and cultural impacts, to help guide future Australian AI development.
More details about these initiatives are available from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
Contact Agilient to discuss the implications of Industry 4.0 on your business.
Author: Phillipa Lee, Agilient Consultant