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Supply Chain News: The Fourth Industrial Revolution is Upon Us


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Data is Going to Transform the World

 
Nov. 25, 2020
SCDigest Editorial Staff
     


We are at the start of the fourth industrial revolution, destined to have as largest an impact on society, business and the supply chain.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

 

Supply chains create a lot of data, and IoT and sensors will create terabytes more.


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So says a new column the MIT Technology Review.

Before exploring this transformative megatrend, it is worth spending a few words to recount the first three industrial transformations – each driven by transformative underlying technology change.

The first revolution came from leveraging power from water and steam. This enabled the mechanized of textile production and some other goods. As a result, the MIT journal says, factories became commonplace, which drove people from rural areas to cities, changing forever the social landscape.

The second revolution was driven by electrification. This not only brought power to homes, it enabled mass production, and the wider distribution of consumer goods.

The third revolution came with the advent of the semiconductor, enabling wide scale data processing and the march to the information era.

Now we have begun the fourth revolution. This time, the MIT piece says, the driving technology is the Internet of Things, networks of connected devices such as sensors, robots, and wearables soon billions of them.

The data these devices produce across so many in-depth connections is the fuel for powerful digital applications, from weather prediction systems to smart buildings that regulate their own climates to self-driving cars.

It's a fusion of technologies, MIT says, often lumped under the term digitization – and the ultimate impact with be as transformative to business and society as the other three revolutions.

What's really happening is that all this data is being combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning to create smart cites, buildings, factories, warehouses, and much more. The promise, MIT says, is to connect all the dots in the data in a way human being alone can't or can't do nearly as fast.

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As just one interesting example, a growing legion of businesses are making digital calls available weather forecast data sources to make decisions on demand plans, transportation plans and much more. For example, one pharmaceutical company uses such forecast data on routes each parcel will be shipped to determine how many cold gel packs are required in each shipping carton going to consumers.

"The fourth industrial revolution blurs the line between the physical, the digital, and the biological," says Landry Signé , professor and founding co-director of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Globalization 4.0 Initiative at Arizona State's Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Supply chains create a lot of data, and IoT and sensors will create terabytes more. As we really figure out what to do with all that data, there will be a supply chain transformation indeed – with the machines probably making a lot more of the decisions.

Data is going to transform the world.


Is the 4th Industrial Revolution Really Here? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


 
 

 

 

 

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