Industrial Revolution 4.0

Industry 4.0 refers to a new phase in the Industrial Revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data. Industry 4.0, also sometimes referred to as IIoT or smart manufacturing, marries physical production and operations with smart digital technology, machine learning, and big data to create a more holistic and better connected ecosystem for companies that focus on manufacturing and supply chain management.


Evolution phase

1. The First Industrial Revolution

The first industrial revolution happened between the late 1700s and early 1800s. During this period of time, manufacturing evolved from focusing on manual labor performed by people and aided by work animals to a more optimized form of labor performed by people through the use of water and steam-powered engines and other types of machine tools.

2. The Second Industrial Revolution

In the early part of the 20th century, the world entered a second industrial revolution with the introduction of steel and use of electricity in factories. The introduction of electricity enabled manufacturers to increase efficiency and helped make factory machinery more mobile. It was during this phase that mass production concepts like the assembly line were introduced as a way to boost productivity.

3. The Third Industrial Revolution

Starting in the late 1950s, a third industrial revolution slowly began to emerge, as manufacturers began incorporating more electronic—and eventually computer—technology into their factories. During this period, manufacturers began experiencing a shift that put less emphasis on analog and mechanical technology and more on digital technology and automation software.

4. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0

In the past few decades, a fourth industrial revolution has emerged, known as Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 takes the emphasis on digital technology from recent decades to a whole new level with the help of interconnectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT), access to real-time data, and the introduction of cyber-physical systems. Industry 4.0 offers a more comprehensive, interlinked, and holistic approach to manufacturing. It connects physical with digital, and allows for better collaboration and access across departments, partners, vendors, product, and people. Industry 4.0 empowers business owners to better control and understand every aspect of their operation, and allows them to leverage instant data to boost productivity, improve processes, and drive growth.


Basic Industry 4.0 Concepts and Glossary of Terms

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Business process management tools that can be used to manage information across an organization.
  • IoT: IoT stands for Internet of Things, a concept that refers to connections between physical objects like sensors or machines and the Internet.
  • IIoT: IIoT stands for the Industrial Internet of Things, a concept that refers to the connections between people, data, and machines as they relate to manufacturing.
  • Big data: Big data refers to large sets of structured or unstructured data that can be compiled, stored, organized, and analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, associations, and opportunities.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): Artificial intelligence is a concept that refers to a computer’s ability to perform tasks and make decisions that would historically require some level of human intelligence.
  • M2M: This stands for machine-to-machine, and refers to the communication that happens between two separate machines through wireless or wired networks.
  • Digitization: Digitization refers to the process of collecting and converting different types of information into a digital format.
  • Smart factory: A smart factory is one that invests in and leverages Industry 4.0 technology, solutions, and approaches.
  • Machine learning: Machine learning refers to the ability that computers have to learn and improve on their own through artificial intelligence—without being explicitly told or programmed to do so.
  • Cloud computing: Cloud computing refers to the practice of using interconnected remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process information.
  • Real-time data processing: Real-time data processing refers to the abilities of computer systems and machines to continuously and automatically process data and provide real-time or near-time outputs and insights.
  • Ecosystem: An ecosystem, in terms of manufacturing, refers to the potential connectedness of your entire operation—inventory and planning, financials, customer relationships, supply chain management, and manufacturing execution.
  • Cyber-physical systems (CPS): Cyber-physical systems, also sometimes known as cyber manufacturing, refers to an Industry 4.0-enabled manufacturing environment that offers real-time data collection, analysis, and transparency across every aspect of a manufacturing operation.

How is India preparing for Industry 4.0?

  • India is keen on adopting Industry 4.0 and has taken several initiatives. According to IBEF, the Government of India plans to increase the contribution of manufacturing sector to 25% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025, from the current level of 16%. India is also prepared to face global competition by undertaking the Make in India programme. It is all set to lead the world with Smart Manufacturing.
  • The heavy industries and public enterprises ministry are facilitating the establishment of four centres in the country to help SMEs implement Industry 4.0
  • India’s first Smart factory is being set up at Bengaluru. This smart factory powered by data exchange in manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT). This Smart Factory is being developed at the Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc) Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM) with funding from The Boeing Company.
  • Andhra Pradesh government aims to turn the state into an Internet of Things (IoT) hub by 2020. The state government plans to set up 10 IoT hubs with the participation of the private sector which will create 50,000 direct employment in various IoT verticals.


Sectors in India which have adopted Industry 4.0

FMCG: The Indian FMCG sector has started deploying Cobot or Collaborative Robots in their manufacturing process. Cobots are industrial robots that work alongside workers in a factory and require minimal supervision. Factories with weaker infrastructure and limited workforce can leverage Cobots to reduce lead time and do optimum utilisation of capacity.

Telecom: Vodafone Business Services provides smart IoT solutions for connectivity across the range of verticals such as industrial manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, smart city, and utility management.

Healthcare:  Diabetacare’s smart glucometers is a classic example to demonstrate how patients can manage their diabetes better using IoT In the healthcare sector. IoT is making its presence felt in healthcare by connecting devices. This helps patients to keep track of their blood sugar, blood pressure etc.



Though the government is getting ready for the future through programmes like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India,’ parts of the country are experiencing the second industrial revolution and are far away from the third one. As per the World Bank, 15.5 percent population of India still does not have access to electricity which translates to 8.5 crore people. In absolute numbers, India has the second largest internet using population (behind China) with 462 million users as of January 2018. However, that’s only 26 per cent of the population. The country can’t lead the industrial revolution and drive the change towards the advancement of fourth industrial revolution without the penetration of electricity and internet. Thus, it is very important for India to work in the right direction so that it could be an able leader of the Industrial revolution 4.0.

2 Responses

  1. Naveen says:

    A very nice analytical & factful article according to the need of the examination

  2. Benita says:

    Comprehensive article…. Very helpful for science and technology questions

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