The implementation of Industry 4.0 and the businesses who are increasingly using connected technologies to innovate, transform and modernize their internal processes are creating the need for constant assessment of cyber risks and improvement of information systems’ security.
As cyber risks in connected technologies and systems grow, cybersecurity should become a fundamental part of any Industry 4.0-driven initiative in order to prevent serious disruptions or data losses.
Digital supply networks and smart factories should be secure and resilient, and it is imperative to predict possible risks and cyber attacks, instead of trying to fix the issue at the end of the strategic process. As Deloitte stated in their report, two main cybersecurity objectives of digital supply networks are ensuring private sharing of sensitive information and secure vendor processing.
Smart factories, for their part, should ensure the safety of their employees, continuous production, protect the brand and reputation of the organization and ensure overall process reliability.
According to a briefing from the European Parliament, cybersecurity has only partly been included in relevant EU policies. So far, the key European strategies and legislation on cybersecurity have been focused on attaining the following goals:
● Protection of personal data;
● Security of operation of large scale and publicly accessible information networks;
● Protection of operation of key infrastructures.
The next objective is to embed cybersecurity in the future EU policy initiatives from the beginning, especially regarding new technologies and emerging sectors such as connected cars, smart grids and the loT.
European Startup Network
Apart from significant technology trends, there are various socioeconomic and cultural trends that provoke changes and affect the implementation of Industry 4.0.
Urbanization & Megacities
Although urbanization is not a recent trend, it is expected to continue rapidly in the next decade. According to ESPAS, approximately 2.5 billion people are expected to be added to the urban population by 2050 with Asia being the continent with the highest number of megacities.
It is important to take into account such concentration of inhabitants in certain areas in order to properly organize and adapt both global and local manufacturing and supply chains.
Healthcare in Industry 4.0
Growth of global, ageing population is expected to put strain on healthcare and related industries. Various Industry 4.0 and its technological solutions could help reduce costs of medical care and introduce medical help and practices in remote or poor areas while keeping high quality of services and delivering personalized care per patient’s requirements.
Industry 4.0 is also expected to introduce digital hospitals and propel manufacturing of customised implants, innovative tools and instruments for the medical field.
Greater work-life balance & remote working
Employees are taking their work-life balance more seriously than ever before, and since 2020 introduced remote working on a global scale, more and more people are seeing it as a great opportunity to improve their work-life balance.
Apart from spending more time at home, remote working helps cut transportation-related costs, saves time to people who otherwise have to travel long distances to their place of work and, in overall, helps them be more productive while also having more time to spend on other activities and family time.
European Startup Network
Innovations in technology, software, and hardware have been driving change and leading towards the implementation of Industry 4.0 for years, even more so since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. The world has seen significant advances in human-machine, machine-machine, and human-human connectivity that have a great impact on production systems and global processes.
Current and upcoming technology trends in Industry 4.0 trends are crucial in achieving the expected levels of (inter)connection and communication between machines that will lead to creation of smart and autonomous factories.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are the key trends driving innovation across all industries with AI-specific hardware being developed in order to optimize manufacturing. More and more factories are beginning to implement AI systems in their production processes with the aim of conducting predictive maintenance and implementing context-aware computing, smart machines and hardware accelerators.
Enhanced network and connectivity are two fundamental factors in enabling significant technology developments such as edge-to-cloud, 5G, machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and IoT framework. Innovations in this area are expected to increase not only speed, but also security and efficiency of data transmission and overall connectivity.
Advanced robotics make the processes in Industry 4.0 much faster and efficient, while also enhancing safety in manufacturing. Some of the most promising robotic technologies include collaborative robots (cobots), autonomous vehicles and drones, humanoids, mobile robots, cloud robotics and pick and place robots. Using robots means higher precision and agility, as well as freeing up the time for the human workforce to concentrate on other tasks.