At Konecranes, our vision is to make machines intelligent and aware of their condition, and network them to create real-time visibility for enhanced safety and productivity.
The fourth industrial revolution: the Industrial Internet
The heart of the Industrial Internet is based on a series of sensors working together to gather and analyse data for specific purposes. By operating in this way, they can enable efficiencies that were unimaginable just a short time ago.
For most of human history, productivity has increased in very small increments and improvements in living standards have also been extremely slow. The industrial revolution was kicked off around 200 years ago by the introduction of mechanical production. Muscle power, both human and animal-based, was replaced by mechanical power. The second industrial revolution started in 1870, when the first conveyor belt was switched on in a meat processing plant in Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States, introducing work-sharing mass production with the help of electricity. The automation of production processes started in the mid-1970s, and now the world is entering a new era with the rise of the Industrial Internet. Some refer to this as the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0.
The Industrial Internet refers to the integration of machines with networked sensors and software. It not only involves a comprehensive transformation of global industry, but also affects many aspects of daily life, including the way many of us do our jobs. The Industrial Internet will bring greater speed and efficiency to a variety of industries, such as aviation, rail transport, power, oil, gas and health care. It even holds the promise of stronger economic growth, more and better-quality jobs, and improved living standards, regardless of geographical location.
Three dimensions of the Industrial Internet
The Industrial Internet combines the improvements of two earlier revolutions: the machines, facilities, fleets and networks born out of the industrial revolution, and the innovations in computing, information and communication systems introduced by the much more recent Internet revolution.
Three elements comprise the core of the Industrial Internet:
Intelligent machines: new ways of connecting machines, facilities, fleets and networks via advanced sensors, controls and software applications.
Advanced analytics: utilising things like the power of analytics, predictive algorithms, automation and deep domain expertise in material science and electrical engineering to understand how machines and larger systems operate.
People at work: connecting people wherever they are—in industrial facilities, offices, hospitals or on the move and at any time to promote more intelligent design, operations and maintenance, and generate higher-quality service and better safety.
Linking intelligent devices, facilities, fleets and networks with people at work and on the move opens up new possibilities for process optimisation and the potential to increase productivity and efficiency. In addition, it will alter the competitive balance and force the rest of industry to rapidly adjust if it wants to survive. The pace of this process will vary from industry to industry, but the effects will be experienced more broadly across the economy as adoption increases.