Are we ready for the Industrial Revolution 4.0?

In a recently released report from IBM, we are facing a transitional period for development that relies less on brick and mortar and labor and more on interconnectivity, agility and development of different skills.

Spawned by businesses, politicians and academics, the new industrial revolution will move from using IT and electronics to  automate manufacturing into developing cyber-physical systems. loosely defined as using electronics to manage mechanical systems. It develops a Smart Factory where machines talk to one another. It can predict failures and perform preventative maintenance functions. It also can standardize manufacturing from machine to machine in faster timelines. In other words, we move from plug and play to plug and produce.

This means development of a whole different set of skills and mindsets. For economic development, it means companies will be looking for locations with very specific value propositions leading to niche industries. Those locations that have strong information and communication technologies established will have a leg up.

An IBM study found that “80 percent of operations executives surveyed are expecting further automation in the immediate future. Coupled with 3D printing and intelligent robotics, the global manufacturing landscape will change radically as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

This revolution will fundamentally alter labor pools and the skills required to meet the demand. According to IBM, “skills and competences will emerge as the foundation of competitive advantage between locations and as a requirement for companies seeking to create value.”

It further said “public-sector leaders and companies must work together to take a more forward-looking perspective on, and improve alignment between, skills supply and demand and prioritize efforts to align educational programs with new and emerging skill requirements of industries.”

When we talk about talent development and recruitment, we need not only focus on the needs of the present but those of the future – which is not that far off.

For further reading try Motherboard’s article, or Wired’s Factory of the future