17 APR 2018

Industry 4.0: big data, machine learning, cloud, what role will IT play?

Industry 4.0, a term that by now echoes: it will change the labor market, it will increase productivity to the detriment of jobs, through the Government Budget the government wants to promote the transition to what could be a fourth industrial revolution, there is a lack of skills to deal with this… Moreover, we also discussed this topic when we presented you the Hannover Messe being the main topic of the Fair which takes place at the end of April. Among other things, the expression Industry 4.0 was used for the first time in 2011, during the Hanover Fair. In short, people talk a lot about Industry 4.0, but what exactly does it deal with?


From Industry 1.0 to 4.0

Industrial revolutions have already been dealt with and as the term “Industry 4.0” exists, there are also 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0:

  • Industry 1.0: it can be thought of in the context of 1784 when the steam engine was born, and the power of water and steam was exploited to mechanize production;
  • Industry 2.0: almost 100 years later (in 1870) new changes occurred with mass production, the increasingly widespread use of electricity, the appearance of the petrol engine and the use of oil as an energy source;
  • Industry 3.0: information technology gains ground, day by day. Thanks to automation there is an increase in productivity;
  • Industry 4.0: this is the present and this could be the new industrial revolution that will lead to completely automated and interconnected industrial production.

Industry revolution, from Industry 1.0 to 4.0

Picture by “Christoph Roser at AllAboutLean.com”. 


Industry 4.0

There will be 4 guidelines for the development of digital technologies of this fourth industrial revolution and will concern:

  • use of data, computing power and connectivity: technologies related to cloud computing, Internet of Things, big data and open data come into play. All these technologies will deal with finding data and storing it;
  • analytics: storing data makes sense if people use it transforming it into information. Currently companies use little data, and, in this way, they lose out on many advantages;
  • interaction between man and machine: this can be facilitated, with the result of increasing performance, thanks to augmented reality and touch interfaces;
  • the last guideline concerns the sector that deals with the transition from digital to “real”: 3D printing, robotics, communication, additive manufacturing and machine-to-machine interaction.


Industry 4.0 and labour market

More and more automation, what are the consequences for the labour market? A study entitled “The Future of Jobs”, presented at the World Economic Forum, highlighted that 2 millions jobs will be created in the areas of finance, management, computer science and engineering. At the same time, however, 7 millions jobs will disappear. The result is 5 millions jobs lost. The lost positions will mainly concern the production and administrative areas. It is not a positive framework that will also change skills and abilities required. The study shows that the most required soft skills for 2020 will be problem solving, as well as creativity and critical thinking.

The Italian Government Budget, in addition to the tax incentives for the purchase of machinery and digital assets, considers incentives to promote refresher and training courses to meet the knowledge required by Industry 4.0. In particular, the incentive would be a tax credit (with a maximum annual bonus amount of 300 thousand euros) equal to 40%. However, 40% is not the cost of the course followed by the entrepreneur and/or his employees, but the cost of employees (remuneration and contributions borne by the employer) that the company has when its employees are “occupied in training activities.”

Big Data, cloud, machine learning, digital technologies and computer science will increasingly revolutionize our society, our daily lives and the job market. One of the winning keys is keeping up-to-date, as we do in Consulthink: for us, IT technologies are our daily bread, offering our clients new innovative solutions every day!

Elaborated by Lucia D’Adamo, supervised by Marco Pirrone