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How to harness the IR 4.0 technology to enhance your business operation? What exactly does IR 4.0 entail? To understand this, we must first know the difference between IR 4.0 and the previous waves of Industrial Revolutions.

From IR 1.0 to IR 4.0

The Industrial Revolution first took place in the 18th century, where steam power and mechanisation replaced human or animal power in production.

The Second Industrial Revolution began in the 19th century, with the discovery of electricity and formation of assembly lines, where workers specialised and focused on a specific stage of production.

The Third Industrial Revolution took off in the 1970s with automation assisted by computers and robots. Plenty of production was automated but with direct human oversight.

We have now entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0). The highlight is the “Cyber-Physical integration”, i.e. the incorporation of various Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into the manufacturing,construction, management and other segments of the economy, allowing formerly isolated systems to communicate with one another through the internet, as well as the collecting of data for further analysis. With this, the groundwork for Smart Factories, Smart Construction, Smart Hotels and even Smart Cities have been laid.

10 Core Technologies of IR 4.0

1. Big Data And Analysis

Big Data refers to a massive collection of data from machines, sensors or systems, so huge that it might take humans years to study. Only with the latest computing power, we can derive meaningful insights such as seasonal trends, machine reliabilities and consumer behaviours, for more accurate decision making. One can even conduct preventive maintenance by predicting possible machine failures.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning utilise algorithms to process available data, in order to derive meaningful conclusions or make logical decisions on the next course of action without human intervention. With these technologies, the automation of entire production processes is now possible.

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the formation of a network where various equipment talk (share information) with one another by the deployment of sensors on machines, systems or buildings to monitor processes and collect data in real time. With this, individual machines can decide to take necessary actions whenever required, for the benefits of the overall business.

4. Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is the storage of software and data in the off-site data centre. It negates the need for users to save their software and data locally, without compromising on the computing power for daily operation.

5. Autonomous Robots

Autonomous Robots are intelligent machines that can manage repetitive daily tasks without any human input.

6. Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing is the creation of objects layer by layer, adding new material over various stages, unlike the old way where materials are subtracted (cutted, carved etc) from a huge block.

7. Digital Twins

Digital Twins is the virtual 3D simulation of a real physical object or concept in a digital space, which can be used for the prediction of behaviour or tendency of certain systems.

8. Horizontal and Vertical System Integration

The Horizontal and Vertical System Integration of various previously production or management processes that worked in silo can result in greater transparency, better analysis and increased efficiency.

9. Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality refers to the superimposing of extra sensory input, most commonly visual, over the actual world. It helps us to visualise how the current physical environment can be improved.

10. Cybersecurity Technology

With huge amounts of data and analysis, surely it is important to protect our machines and servers from unauthorised intrusion, therefore Cybersecurity Technologies must be enhanced and updated regularly.

Benefits of IR 4.0

By incorporating the IR 4.0 technologies into business operations, your business will enjoy greater benefits which were unimaginable previously

1. Improved Productivity and Quality Control

Empowered by the core IR 4.0 technologies, it is possible to increase output and allocate scarce resources more efficiently, besides ensuring better quality for products and services. With preventive maintenance and deeper integration, your equipment will also face less downtime, increasing your Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) too.

2. Improved Analytics and Decision-Making

Once multiple areas of your business operation become more intelligent and self-report various real-time data, you will collect valuable insights that were not available previously, allowing the management to analyse the situations better and make informed decisions in terms of market forecast, batch changeovers or problem-solving etc. This will lower the cost and contribute to your bottomline tremendously.

3. Optimising Product and Facilities

Digital Twin captures data in the physical world to create a digital replica of your product or facilities that is updated in real time. It allows you to optimise performance and efficiency and test different scenarios without impacting real-world output, which forges more sophisticated innovation.

4. Empowering the Workforce

With mundane processes automated, your people will be liberated from concentrating on repetitive manual tasks, besides having access to better oversight as well as the ability to take data-driven decisions. Hence, the team can focus on processes with higher added-value.

5. Collaborative Working and Knowledge Sharing

Instead of having different departments working in silos, IR 4.0 allows the teams or departments in-charge of various business processes to communicate regardless of location, software platform, or even time zone. The employees will be able to collaborate more closely, and share knowledge more seamlessly within and beyond the organisation. The same goes to your management systems, where an issue detected somewhere will alert multiple systems elsewhere to make improvement or take precaution without human intervention.

6. Optimising Supply Chain Management

With better visibility across the entire supply chain, it is easier to identify problems such as bottlenecks, and take mitigative measures whenever necessary. This will increase the resilience of your operations, improving your ability to respond to changing market conditions and demands.

7. Agility and Flexibility

Adoption of IR 4.0 technologies will enhance agility and flexibility of your business. It is easier to scale production up or down, or introduce new products and services in an intelligent environment.

IR 4.0 – Powered Business Software

While plenty of emphasis has been given to smart manufacturing, rest assured that a wide range of other industries will benefit from IR 4.0 technologies equally. Take property development, construction, hospitality or human resources as examples, there are now digital solutions to improve their business processes, enhanced efficiency & cost saving. It eliminates bottlenecks via big data analytics and digitalised automations while enhancing collaborations among stakeholders.

The X Series of business management solutions developed by IFCA is one fine example. Its software such as PropertyX, ContractX, HotelX and HRX are embedded with various IR 4.0 innovations.

Thanks to Artificial Intelligence, PropertyX automates the sales efforts and speeds up the sales process through greater collaboration between developers, agents, buyers, lawyers and bankers. ContractX allows contractors to secure materials or adjust the amounts based on progress of projects. HotelX makes it possible for guests to check-in via mobile devices even before arriving at the hotels. Whereas HRX allows remote time attendance, concurrent mass time attendance and location identifications via GPS and IOT devices, thus making remote working readily available anytime anywhere. Its voice-data conversion technology has also improved productivity in the claims and requisitions process.

Moreover, thanks to Big Data Analytics, the data from various processes are analysed in real time to offer the management valuable business insights into the operation of their business, as well as the performance of their workforce. This makes it easier for the management to make informed decisions, predict the future more accurately and take the necessary preventive or growth measures in ensuring business sustainability.

IR 4.0 is definitely the trend of the day and future. It offers the Business Values (BV) and Customer Expected Values (CEV) that any business cannot ignore for long term sustainability. It is now high time for entrepreneurs and professionals to embrace IR4.0 to improve efficiency and productivity. To experience how IR 4.0 technologies can give your business the urgently needed boost, visit https://bit.ly/IFCAdemo now for more details today!