At the 2016 World Economic Forum, the term, “fourth industrial revolution,” presented by one of the most renowned economists, Klaus Schwab, captured the world’s attention. He forecasted that the fourth industrial revolution is building on the third, as it is defined by a conversion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.
Indeed, such revolution is changing every industry in the world throughout the entire systems of production, management and governance, while the speed of current breakthrough continues to move at an exponential pace.
Companies today are pursuing to become more digital by experimenting with digital technologies, embracing industrial internet into their businesses, and fully transforming themselves into digital groups as a way to catch up with the fast pace of the digital revolution.
Digital transformation now comes as a key for the ongoing industrial revolution, which will drive unprecedented industrial innovation.
According to a recent report published by Zion Research, a market and social research company, global demand for the digital transformation market, including cloud computing, big data, industrial internet, ad mobility and social media, was valued at around $150.5 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach approximately $431.7 billion in 2021.
Among the countries examined in the report, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be the fastest-growing region with regards to digital transformation, mainly led by China and India.
Even though Korea has a strong position in vertical industries such as automotives, medicine and engineering, there is a growing voice that says it should enhance “digital competitiveness” backed by software advancement to hold this position even in the new Industry 4.0 era.
Many other advanced digital countries are already capturing the full digital opportunity through new operation management systems. The establishment of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) in 2014 led by the United States, which accelerated the development, adoption and wide-spread distribution of interconnected machines, devices and intelligent analytics, is an exemplary case.
GE, one of the key players in this consortium, has been connecting machines to the industrial internet of things and transforming itself into a “digital industrial company” for several years.
It believes that the digital industrial transformation will be driven by a combination of best-in-class industrial technologies and domain expertise with modern, leading digital technologies and ecosystems.
A major investment to connect its machines is Predix software, an operating system for the industrial internet, which extracts and crunches data from machines and uses that data to make them more efficient, thereby saving GE customers’ money, time, and energy.
At its Minds + Machines 2016 conference, GE announced new products, acquisitions and a partner program to further complement the Predix technology stack and make it easier for industrial companies to execute a strategic digital transformation to drive internal productivity.
Cases of GE’s customers adopting industrial internet technologies are also interesting to see, particularly with regards to how analytically rich data sets can deliver the most value and solve complex logistics, maintenance, services and supply chain problems.
The Port of Los Angeles, the largest port in the United States, and GE Transportation are launching a pilot portal where cargo shipment data will be digitized and shared through a secured, common user portal.
Critical cargo conveyance data will be digitized and shared among supply chain stakeholders to ensure that millions of shipping containers with retail inventories move efficiently through ports and into the marketplace, so customers get what they want when they want it.
True digital transformation is all about the asset. The ability to derive more productivity and value from existing assets is what will drive more impact for industrial companies around the world.
At the core, software will play an enhanced role of unlocking business values. By digitizing ancient source of existing software assets, we can expand our potential to technology and see change that will see us remain competitive in the years ahead.