Undercurrents in the fourth Industrial Revolution

Undercurrents in the fourth Industrial Revolution

Robert Glaze, President and Meta-Technologist at U.S. Brenva Institute, is the author of this post. TextileFuture believes that it is of interest to its readers interested in different aspects of Industry 4.0

Robert Glaze

The above image taken in the Berlin Hauptbahnhof is a wonderful lead in to this update on the Undercurrents underlying the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For those of you that have spent any amount of time in this multi-layer and multi-use train station you cannot help but be struck by the integration of light, architectural elements, ease of transit (usually) and an overall sense that it is a transportation ecosystem much like the older Schipohl complex in Amsterdam.

As someone, who has spent over one thousand nights in the same mini-suite at the Sheraton Hotel at Schipohl, and a thousand, or so additional nights in other global airport hotels over the past twenty five years, I have had a chance to observe and study how these large scale integrations of diverse physical systems interact with people, processes and materials. Some of you may have similar observations as well, whether it be in Singapore, Seoul or other transportation hubs where multiple large scale systems systems interact, some successfully and many not so well as you may have experienced but we really don’t need to bring up Heathrow do we?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will consist of many integrated macro systems of fully integrated subsystems and micro systems that will behave less as independent or discreet systems and instead be fully unified ecosystems. This is the optimized architecture for an industry 4.0 deployment. An ecosystem is sufficient in and of itself without the variabilities that are introduced by simply aligning a set of systems in a linear or even circular process model. Attempting to combine the layers of materials, processes, machines, computation and people is not enough to gain the predictive performance levels required for continuously optimized performance.

One new concept that will be required with Industry 4.0 is the End to End Economics of a manufacturing facility for instance. End to End Economics is not merely the sum of the constant outputs or parts, it is a new form of variance management and moves beyond KPI’s like utilization and unit costs to a larger and deeper set of predictive metrics.

An industry 4.0 manufacturing facility is not simply plug and play. Two separate companies can use the same materials, the same processes, the same machinery, the same computation and the same quality of people for the same product or service and have significantly different variability in output metrics.

Manufacturing of physical products or even software must have the performance determined before the creation process begins. Over the past 100 years building almost anything has been based on lagging indicators to determine the efficiency and quality of the processes and products. Industry 4.0 will require leading or advance indicators or statistical inference in order to fully leverage the new ecosystem model of manufacturing.

Any form or degree of inefficiency whether in, machines, materials, processes, computation, communications or people, will be immediately be selected against in Industry 4.0. End to End Economics is a form of evolutionary economics. It applied at the multiple system level, and while I have been applying it to various digital distribution and communication platforms and human performance for almost 15 years it will need to be adopted by those that seek to be leaders in leveraging the Industry 4.0 architectures into operational blueprints that can be implemented and consistently executed against.

Please be aware that traditional end of life Industrial 3.0 and pre Industry 4.0 “system integration” business models and approaches, may not possess the sufficient consilience to become the default resources for 4.0 implementations or management. However, there are a few legacy companies making great strides in this new coordination of complexity required by Industry 4.0.

Consilience is a principle that will help inform the creation of the “unity of systems models” that will be the enablers of the Digital Convergence as it emerges simultaneously with Industry 4.0 development.

Since the 1990’s technologists and engineers have been developing and using the protocols, standards and processes for varieties of digital access. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be a bridge between Digital Access and Digital Convergence by creating a framework made up of digital industry. At Brenva we have developed ecologies of emergence that allow for a better understanding of these inflection points. For those immersed in the study of complex adaptive systems you may want to note that they reach limits when confronted with radical mutations. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be made up of many unpredictable radical mutations.

During 2016 these periodic “Undercurrents Updates” will introduce new thinking that will be necessary for the effective development, deployment and operation of Industry 4.0 ecosystems. The next Undercurrents Update will focus on The Disintermediation of Labour and Management in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. You may find this next post interesting as it concerns you, the labour and management of today, and if I may quote the Meta-Scientist Stephen Wolfram: “the best predictor of a paradigm shift’s success over the long term is how upset it makes people”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.