From robots to smart wearables, here's how tomorrow's factories will change to adapt to the new trends of Industry 4.0
2017 is the year of Industry 4.0. The new way of looking at the business world has convinced several large companies and many SMEs to invest in new technologies. With significant benefits in terms of production efficiency and costs. But how specifically will factories change with Industry 4.0?
The biggest change in businesses of the future will be robots. Industry 4.0 relies heavily on automation, and in the next few years it will be normal to see human and machine employees interacting in factories. For an SME, the use of robotics means increasing efficiency, improving the supply chain and reducing waste. Robots will also be very useful in managing department stores. Think about the exponential growth of e-commerce. To manage virtual store warehouses and avoid delivery errors or order problems, robots and drones are the best solution.
Augmented Reality and 3D
Just as a hammer and screwdriver have been an employee's faithful companions for years, in the near future workers will be using platforms for augmented reality and 3D. Companies like Germany's ThyssenKrupp have equipped their employees with AR viewers, specifically Microsoft HoloLens. These kinds of tools allow them to perform repair work safely and find faults in seconds. What's more, visors like HoloLens are completely autonomous and don't need to be connected to a PC, so employees are free to do their own repair work around town without too much hassle.
Instead of simple watches in tomorrow's factories we'll find many wearables. That is, smart wearables. These will mainly serve to increase safety at work. There are gloves that warn employees of danger thanks to proximity sensors, trackers that analyze air quality to prevent respiratory diseases and tools that can monitor precisely and at all times the health status of the worker.
Transport and logistics
The transport sector is one of those that will undergo the greatest revolution thanks to Industry 4.0. Compared to today, customers will be able, through apps, to monitor all stages of the shipment and interact in real time with the courier to receive information or change the delivery time. While similar apps have already revolutionized the way people wait for buses in big cities.